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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 Germany, the Berlin-based brother duo TWO LANES (aka Leo and Rafa Schmid).

What’s it like where you’re living? We live in Berlin-Friedrichshain. Right now, everything is closed here so there is not much to do beside going to the studio or doing things outdoors. Usually, it’s a very lively neighborhood, so we hope that things will get better in the summer.

Have you learned anything during the downtime? Real growth needs time. When the pandemic started, we decided to get a piano for our studio and got into recording techniques and tried to incorporate that sound more and more into our productions. Beside that, we also got some vintage synths and outboard gear. Looking back, it feels incredible how much all of these things have helped to shape our sound and our musical perception.

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? Staying curious, trying to learn new things, talking about your goals and dreams, and trying to be grateful and appreciate what we are doing every day.

Any releases during this period? We’ve released two recent EPs. After an EP titled “Reflections,” we released

Rolling Back,” which includes a collaboration with Australian singer/producer Panama – and we are very excited for this one.

In the studio, what’s your set-up? Our synth rack consists of a Roland Juno-60, Yamaha DX7, Moog Little Phatty, and a REV2 by Dave Smith. We make pretty much everything with these synths – and there are still so many sounds in there that are waiting to be discovered. Beside that, we also have some modules, mostly by Mutable instruments, and also a really cool stochastic pattern generator with which you can program sequences based on probabilities. For drums, we use the [Elektron] Rytm MK2 and the DFAM by Moog, or record live percussions. We also record the piano a lot and use these recordings in many of our current productions. For recordings, we mostly use Oktava microphones, Sennheiser MKH 8040, or some ribbon mics such as the Coles 4038. We have a GML mic preamp, which then goes into a RME Fireface 802. Beside that, we have the Culture Vulture, for tube saturation, the Distressors, and a Hammer 2 tube EQ. We love working with those outboard units! As a next step, we would like to experiment more deeply with analog tape delays. We recently got a Roland RE-501 tape echo and can’t wait for it to be finally serviced and back at our studio.

What’s your creation process in the studio? We mostly start writing music on the piano and then build everything around these recordings. It is a very intuitive process where just try to go for spontaneity and whatever feels right. 

What’s your typical live set-up? Right now, we are working intensively on our live set. The basic concept is that Leo plays piano/keys and Rafa does beats, effects in Ableton Live.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? That you start getting nervous when someone in a movie or TV show enters a really crowded place where people stand very close to each other…

Have you done anything online recently? We started going live a few times on Instagram and Twitch. It is great fun to interact with people there and answer all their questions.

Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? Jon Hopkins’ “Luminous Beings.”

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Reading, running, cooking, calling someone… try to turn off your phone sometimes.

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

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