The music industry has been especially impacted by the coronavirus, causing postponed and cancelled events across the globe including Ultra Music, Tomorrowland, and countless others. Artists cannot tour, instead opting to live stream performances and create new music. With this change comes an opportunity to take a step back from the crazy touring schedule that DJs are so often accustomed to, and spend this time creating at home in the studio. We spoke with Russian artist Fenix about his thoughts on the situation, and how he maintains his life as an artist during this uncertain time.
Q:The COVID-19 situation is unprecedented in its global impact. What does this moment mean to you personally and as a DJ? Where are you and what does your day-to-day look like?
I agree with you that the situation is out of the ordinary, and really everything that happens now affects absolutely everything.
For me personally, this is a significant break in my performances. I had to cancel absolutely all shows before the end of April, and the Winter Music Conference in Miami and the International Music Summit in Ibiza were canceled as well, so I had to get tickets refunded and remove all reservations. I also had to quickly transfer my entire team to remote work, and now all of our processes are happening online.
Right now I am at home in Moscow. I just passed self-isolation, 14 days after my tour in Europe. Now my day begins with sports, then breakfast and after that I work in the studio until the evening. Then there is a dinner with family and after we watch TV shows and films. I haven’t done this for a long time. And I’ll tell you honestly, now my day is just perfect.
In spite of everything that is happening, I’m even a little glad that I have to spend all this time at home and in my studio. You can’t imagine how many tracks will appear in the near future from me.
Q: What tips do you have for managing your time and work/life boundaries when home and studio life intertwine?
Now I work at the studio on a schedule like an office worker – I go to the studio in the morning, take a lunch break and then continue until the end of the working day. It is optimal and very productive. During this time (from 10 AM to 6 PM) I manage to do a lot, and I have time for myself and my personal life. It is also very important to plan your day, I do it in the evening. We also use cloud services for organized work on projects, this helps to move towards our goals.
Q:What kind of setup do you have at home to keep you creating?
In addition to the main studio, I always had a studio at home, this is a large space for working with music and also for working with a project for organizational work. I have the following setup for working with music at home:
iMac Pro with Logic Pro X
Focal Solo Be6 monitors
Moog Sub Phatty
Roland Juno Di
Access Virus TI2 Desktop
AKG C214 & BLUE SPARK microphones
I also have a couple vintage synths from USSR and A LOT OF VST’s, and of course Audionamix XTRAX STEMS as a main tool for my Remixes.
Q; For producers and DJs who previously relied on shared workspaces and studios to create, what would you say are minimum requirements to begin creating at home?
It is enough to have a laptop and headphones to make some kind of demo at home, or as the musicians say “on their knees”. For vocalists, some kind of simple microphone, although many people manage to record on their phone. This is music, just enough to do what you like and that’s it. As I am an Apple user, Logic Pro X or Ableton software, or even easier, Garage Band will be more than enough at home. For example, Logic Pro X already has both VST tools and VST plugins. Therefore, the list is not large.
3) MIDI keyboard
4) Good internet
Q: Since most gigs have been postponed or canceled, how do you maintain a substantive relationship with your fans?
Here, in fact, everything was simple and practically nothing was crushed, live broadcasts on Instagram and Facebook. Shared broadcasts with musician friends are also interesting to followers. Since productivity is now at a high level, announcing new music will lead to continued interest and support from fans.
Q: There are many artists hosting live sets and performances online and earning a living through tips – do you recommend any platforms?
Frankly, it’s difficult for me to recommend something specific, since now a lot of things appear on the Internet. Personally, I would spend my time on training and master classes from professionals.
Q: Have you participated in any “virtual parties”? What are your thoughts on the concept?
This direction for me now looks the most interesting and has great potential. In fact, a lot of people are faced with the fact that they cannot physically attend an event for various reasons, and this technology allows them to quickly find themselves in the epicenter of an event without leaving home. Indeed, I participate in such projects very actively. I would like to draw your attention to the new platform Sensorium. This is one of those examples where the quality of the product and the scale of the project are implemented at a very high level. Clearly, the future belongs to similar projects.
Q: What do you think about the future of these trends in the long term?
Now we all perfectly understand that technologies are pushing the usual formats for us, simplifying and making things previously inaccessible for us, more than affordable. The distance between artists and their fans is shrinking, and now everyone feels involved in a creative or other process that is connected to the formation of an artist. Coronavirus showed everyone an acute shortage of ready-made solutions in this direction, but at the same time confirmed their need.
Q: What is your go-to song or album to lift your mood when cabin fever sets in?
I’ll tell you honestly, as always I don’t change my tastes and when I just want to enjoy the music, I listen to my favorite band AC/DC.
Q: How can people stay connected with you (social media call outs, upcoming events, etc)?
I always control my official website: www.djfenix.com
There you can always find all my music, radio shows, links to social networks and accounts on streaming platforms. By the way, during the quarantine period, all remixes are available ABSOLUTELY FOR FREE. There are upcoming shows in May that have not been canceled yet. So we hope that they will take place. You can find all my upcoming performances on the site in the Tour section.