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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 the South Pacific, the French techno talent Portax (aka Olivier Portalier).

Portax, Montpellier, France, Panik

What’s it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your time? At the moment, I’m in New Caledonia, a French island close to Australia, but I’m moving back soon to Montpellier, my native city in France. I was locked down here and I spent most of my time producing and learning a lot – I did a full album during the first lockdown.

Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? Yep I lost important gigs, in Australia – with big festivals.

Did you learn anything in the downtime? Actually, I learned a lot during the downtime. I spent a lot of time on internet, seeking new tutorials on mixing and information on how I can improve the quality of my sound. I made a great step, and this step has helped me a lot. I can easily hear the difference on my tracks before and after the downtime. 

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? I’m spending more time on promotion to give my fans more chances to know me better. But I’ve not only done the promotional stuff, I worked hard on my next EP release, out on Ramon Tapia’s label, called “The Invisible Game.”

In the studio, what’s your set-up? My set-up is quite simple, but perfect for dark techno. It includes Ableton Push 2 controller, UAD Arrow interface, Genelec monitors and Auratone 5C mono speakers. My DAW is Ableton Live, and if I had to choose a favorite plug-in, it would be Sonnox Oxford Inflator – I love this saturator!

What’s your creation process in the studio? Two ways: I start with a kick and work on the combo kick and rumble as long as I can find the groove that I want… or, I look for vocals and work on the atmosphere around the voices. In both ways, I create the foundation of the track and it’s easier for me to finalize the story that I want to tell.

What’s your typical DJ set-up & why do you choose that route? My DJ set-up is like most DJs today. I use Pioneer – a CDJ- 2000 or CDJ-3000 player and a DJM-900NXS mixer. I learned on these decks and, to me, Pioneer is the best brand for DJs.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? Honestly, nothing! I mean, we had the chance to live without distancing here [in New Caledonia], so life hasn’t changed.

Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I made a lot of music-video clips and I did a live-stream with a live set-up on a wonderful little island lost in the lagoon. It was a super moment – you will find it on my YouTube channel. I have seen many DJ video streams, and to me, the best ones are from Cercle. If I had to choose one, it will be the Ben Bohmer performance.

Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? At the moment, I’m enjoying listening to old stuff, including DJ Mehdi’s “Signatune,” Pachanga Boys’s “Time,” and Joris Voorn’s “Ringo.”

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Sure, a lot of countries are now opening techno events, so to me, the end is really close and music will shine again!

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

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