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 West Coast, the Los Angeles-based electronic talent The Archer (aka Arash Homampour).
What’s it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your time? I live in Los Angeles, Calif. All things considered, it’s a beautiful place to live even in lockdown – we went free from masks and restrictions on June 15. I spend most of my time working – I am I trial lawyer by day and DJ by night – finding and making new music, giving back, doing yoga, and traveling when I get free time.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? As a lawyer, my practice is not a volume one. We exclusively handle large-value matters and were not as affected as others were in law and other industries. As DJ/producer/record label owner, I am lucky that I don’t need to make money and could spend the lockdown time just learning how to do things better.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? I am learning more and more about building a label, running it profitably, and taking a chance on new music. While our label releases house and techno music, I do envision having a few songs that are more popular or universal in taste. This is not so that it brings me money, but rather money for the artist and raising their profile, so that they have more opportunities, either as a full-time producer and/or touring DJ.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? We released “Lonely Dream” earlier this year. Right now, I’m focused on releasing more music on my label There Is A Light from other artists like Ron Costa, The Reactivitz, Matt Sassari, and D-Unity. I’m also working on producing more music to be released in the next couple of months.
In the studio, what’s your set-up? I use Ableton Live as my DAW. I also play guitar and bass and have acoustic, electric and bass guitars. For hardware, I have the Roland TR8S, Jupiter X, Novation Summit and Moog Grandmother. I also use a lot of VST/plug-ins, including Serum, Sylenth, Massive, Kick 2, Tweak, Arturia, Omnisphere, Kontakt Komplete, Diva, Spire, and Ozone 9. I like to use a lot of samples and chopped-up loops. But, you really don’t need all of this stuff. Ableton, Diva, and a few good sample packs should be enough to get you going.
What’s your creation process in the studio? I typically start with a melody and construct the song around it – kick, hats, snare, claps, percussion, bassline, chords, lead, then vocals and then remove what’s not necessary.
What’s your typical DJ set-up? I use the new club-standard Pioneer CDJ-2000NXS2s and a DJ DJM-V10 mixer. I used to use Traktor hardware and software, but found it difficult bringing in extra equipment and my laptop. Now, I use rekordbox and just put everything on a thumb drive with a back-up and bring it along. I don’t plan my sets per se, but put about 50 songs together and randomly pick from that group.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? This period of social distancing has made me more keenly aware of how music and human connection are integral parts of our existence. It is so important to be in the presence of other humans, especially enjoying and dancing to music together. I am certain that music saved a lot of us during the pandemic. Either as a listener or as a music creator, music was the companion or the muse during a time of darkness. I am really looking forward to playing some live shows in the near future.
Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? Yes, I’ve recorded quite a few streams, and even had a guest appearance on Sian’s Insomniac residency stream in early June. Some of my favorite streams are Sian’s Octopus Twitch streams by DJs such as Juheun, Michelle Sparks, and Sian himself. I also love the quality of the Insomniac streams, like the sets of DJs like Luke Andy and Lauren Mia. The Disclosure stream at Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia for Cercle was as stunning as one can get.
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? Yes, The Smiths’ “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” because my life is: “Take me out tonight. Where there’s music and there’s people. And they’re young and alive.”
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through the pandemic situation? Try your best to be grateful for what you have and not focus on what you don’t. Act with kindness and love. Be of service rather, than focusing on yourself. It is that positive energy and attitude that will actually not only get you through this, but then even further than you imagined.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
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