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 U.K., the London-based electronic talent Waze (aka Firas Waez).
What was it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your time? In a flat in North London with my family. London went into lockdown in March 2020 and it was pretty inflexible. You were allowed out to exercise and shop, which meant going to the supermarket suddenly became a release! I remember when they announced the lockdown – I rushed to my studio to pick up some essentials like decks and my Maschine pad, so I could work from home. I used the time in lockdown to write music and do the odd live-stream. It was cool writing records sat on my sofa.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? Gigs came to a complete halt, which was a total shock for me and everyone around me… years of hassle-free travel coming to a complete stop. It was surreal.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? I’ve always worked industry side, but I’ve moved into this area even more so now and consult on music in various forms. I also book artists for music festivals.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? Outside of “Pray’n” with Tiller, I took a break from releasing during this period of time. It was a chance to refresh and re-evaluate what I wanted to do next. In some ways, it was the impetus for the next stage of Waze.
In the studio, what’s your set-up? I’m on Ableton Live; I use this as a multi-track really and work on a mix of units from old drum machines to VSTs. I’ve got the original 808, 909, 303, but also have VSTs such as the Arturia collection, Soundtoys, Waves and so on. I use Maschine a lot and love it for my drum programming and sometimes chords.
What’s your creation process in the studio? It can totally depend on what I am doing, but for Waze it’s now a more songwriting-based scenario. So, I’ve developed a new process for creating for that, which involves working on lots of ideas then developing the ones that I think are best.
What’s your typical DJ set-up? Pioneer DJ set-ups are the one – the club standard! I’m so used to this now. I also own Technics 1210 turntables and started my career playing records. It’s a different discipline for both.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? That I like being at home.
Have you done anything online recently? I’ve just done a stream for my friends at Elrow in Barcelona, which was fun!
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight.”
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Walking and exercise have helped me; structuring my time, too. It gives you a routine and focus.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
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