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 Netherlands, the Amsterdam-based electronic talent Sam Feldt.
What’s it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your time? I’m based in Amsterdam, and we have been strict when it comes to COVID. Only recently did restaurants reopen – and festivals happening still feels like a different world. I spent most of my time working on my new label Heartfeldt Records, my own music, and my start-up Fangage.com, which just raised $2.5 Million.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? Of course. Usually, I do around 150 shows per year. Last year, I did around five. So, it definitely had an impact, both financially and personally, because I really love to perform. The music side has been going better than ever before, which I am really happy about.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? I’m making music every day, doing original tracks, but also remixes. Having that solid foundation to build on has helped me through the pandemic and I’ve only built over the last year. I’ve also started offering paid direct-to-fan content and memberships through my website Heartfeldt.me, which runs on Fangage.com – also my company.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? I’ve recently released “Pick Me Up” together with Sam Fischer last week, which is popping off with already over 2 million streams in the first week. I’m planning to release a track every six weeks after this and already have around 20 ideas on the shelf. My label Heartfeldt Records is also doing really well, with over 40 successful releases in the first year.
In the studio, what’s your set-up? I produce in FL Studio and mostly on my Verité Closed headphones, linked to a Chord Hugo 2 interface for optimal sound quality. Monitor-wise, I am still using the KRK ROKIT 6 speakers that I bought at the start of my career because I am used to the sound of them. Some of my favorite plug-ins include Kontakt, Nexus, M1 and Truepianos.
What’s your creative process in the studio? Most of my tracks start with a powerful vocal or sample. I start building chords around first, then move on to the basic structure of the song. When the arrangement is set, I focus on the lead melody. Lastly, I finalize the song with FX and percussion, and work on the mix.
What’s your typical DJ set-up? I’m used to the club standard – Pioneer DJ CDJ-2000s and a DJM mixer. Nothing too fancy!
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? How important human physical connection really is.
What have you done online? During lockdown, I hosted my own Sunday Sessions stream weekly, which included me playing some deeper stuff I usually don’t. They were a lot of fun. I also did a couple of live-streams for festivals like Tomorrowland and Hydeout Festival, plus my own This Is Heartfeldt stream, which raised money for charity.
Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I’m in love with the Cercle streams – amazing scenery, great artists and good vibes all around.
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? “Home Sweet Home” by Sam Feldt feat. Alma.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Focus on what you can do, instead of what you can’t do.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
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