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When the Coronavirus shut us down, clubs and festivals ceased, and everyone was essentially forced inside with no definitive end in sight, DJ Times wondered: How is our tribe coping? How are DJs getting by?

So, we sent out our “Coronavirus Questionnaire” to DJ/producers from all musical genres to find out. During this period, DJ Times will continue presenting the questionnaire responses from talented music-makers from all over the world. Here’s our latest entry, this time from America’s Second City, the Chicago-based electronic talent Kryptogram (aka Igor Loncar).

Kryptogram, Chicago, Ill., Create Music Group

What’s it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your time? Chicago was locked down, like most cities the majority of the year last year, with the exception of the summer. We started opening up in the fall. Now we’re OK. Life’s kind of going back to normal slowly. Clubs and bars are open, with certain capacity restrictions in place.

Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? I did lose gigs, but I was spending most of my time in the studio even prior to all this, so it wasn’t a huge loss for me. I wasn’t touring yet.

Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime?
Thankfully, music has provided me with a greater income this year than ever before. Aside from that, I got into real estate and cryptocurrency last summer, as well. I’ve learned that you can’t let yourself go down in the downtime – you need to keep fighting.

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? My latest release is “Krypt, Vol. 2,” a nine-song EP on Create Music Group. The whole year has been constructive for me. I’ve gotten the furthest this year with my career than in previous years.

In the studio, what’s your set-up? I use Logic, my four outboard synths, and UAD plug-ins a lot. That’s my main set-up for production at the moment. I use a lot of Logic stock plug-ins, too. They’ve got a lot of great uses that people seem to overlook. I’m super-proud of my Ensoniq DP4 as well – it’s a vintage effects processor that I’ve used a lot on the last EP. I was obsessed with that French house phaser/flange sound, so I had to get it.

What’s your creation process in the studio? Most of the time I’ll start at the Korg Kronos and play some chords and then build around that. Or I’ll go into the drums and bass, and then add all the melodic layers after. The last year I’ve only focused on making music that I can feel something from, not music that’s overly complex for the sake of being complex. Less really is more.

What’s your typical DJ set-up? I use Pioneer CDJs and a DJM-900NXS2 mixer with a USB. I used to DJ on Native Instruments’ Traktor with a laptop before, but I really prefer the simplicity of showing up to play with headphones and a few USBs. I prep my tracks on Pioneer’s rekordbox beforehand, and then I’m good to go.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? Anything is possible.

Have you done anything online recently? I’ve done four or five live-streams over the last year. I like them, but I don’t like DJing to myself. I’ve heard most of these tracks many times – so, for me, the most exciting part is how the audience reacts. That’s my favorite.

Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? Martin Garrix & MOTi’s “Virus (How About Now).”

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Nothing lasts forever. The people I know who have had the hardest time the last year haven’t had something to focus all their energy on. You control your own mental clarity and preparedness – for the most part. Put the situation in your own hands and make something out of it.

To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.

DJ Times Magazine is copyright © 2021 by DJ Publishing, Inc.