COVID-19: These Artists Aren’t Letting It Keep Them Down
With the world in a global pause due to COVID-19, these artists are showing how they’re maintaining a positive, productive outlook on life. Whether it’s diving into passion projects, spending quality time with loved ones or getting creative in the studio, they each share how they’re coping with current events.
Will Clarke, Juliet Fox, Anna Reusch and Rocko Garoni are focusing on quality time with loved ones and unplugging from social media. Others like Julia Govor, Evan Casey, Paul Hartnoll of Orbital, Madam X and SiminaGrigoriu are using this extra time to dive into other passion projects and personal interests. Rebūke, JayClarke, JoshButler and MichaelKlein are embracing working from home and taking advantage to create music magic.
While some artists are cooking new recipes in the kitchen or testing new techniques in the studio, CraigWilliams, Rudosa, FranciscoAllendes and Phaeleh are keeping calm with workouts; not a bad idea given that physical activity boosts endorphins. Wehbba, Marbs, CristianVarela and RyanMurgatroyd share a more introspective approach that helps them stay grounded during these surreal times.
Unplugging in Order to Reconnect: Will Clarke, Juliet Fox, Anna Reusch, Rocko Garoni
“I am back in the UK at my parents’ farm where I also have my studio. It has been a good balance of working on new music in the studio as well as spending time with my family. When I am touring I don’t get to see my family as much as I would like so it’s great to be cooking meals with them. I have also been trying to stay in shape going on daily runs with my dad around the countryside.” – Will Clarke
“I’m actually appreciating this time off to have a moment to relax, switch [social media] off, sleep normal hours (and actually get 8-9 hrs a night). I’m waking up and doing yoga most mornings. [I’m] having extra time to read in the day, meditate and cook healthy meals. I’ve even started back on my Duolingo with Spanish and German! But especially having extra time to find new music and make music.. so loads of positives.” – Juliet Fox
“I would have had vacation or no gigs at the end of March anyway, and [I] had planned to do some things here on the farm during this time. Renovating, getting the garden in good shape. On a farm, there’s always something to do. I have done this extensively for the past two weeks and I feel blessed to live outside where you are not getting in touch with the outside world and the actually worry. I also want to use this compulsory break in order to be consciously not busy. We Germans in particular quickly feel guilty when we are lazy or maybe just me. But now I just can’t do much and so I try to arrange with doing just what I actually want like listening to music, reading, riding and praying every night that this unreal situation will soon come to an end!” – Anna Reusch
“Since our son cannot go to the kindergarten anymore, our flat changes to a playground for young and old. He loves to paint my midi keyboard and listen to some new music. It feels good to have a flat, to have enough food and drinkable water. The shutdown is a big chance to ground yourself and see your needs and to think about how we want to live, how we can protect our fragile planet earth [and] how we consume.” – Rocko Garoni
Exploring Personal Projects: Julia Govor, Evan Casey, Paul Hartnoll of Orbital, Madam X, Simina Grigoriu
“I created an interview series called “Cosmonaut” where every Monday and Wednesday at 12pm NYC time I go live on my IG and speak with my colleagues/ friends how they handle everything in their country, city, locked in home. [I’ve had] guests such as Fjaak, Francesco Tristano, Tijana T, Satoshie Tomiie and Nina Kraviz. Communication is very important for me. Talking with each other, diving to some memories, making jokes…we [are] going through it together, it is therapeutic.” – Julia govor
“For me, a big part of keeping on track during these heavy times is remaining true to my personal rituals and habits. I have a morning routine with my coffee, some reading and brief meditation that always has the power to keep me centered even in the craziest of times. I’m also a big plant guy. I love taking care of the dozens of plants I have inside and outside of my house. It’s very therapeutic and calming for me, which is needed now more than ever. Sending everyone big hugs!” – Evan Casey
“It’s an odd time, and I want to do something but not sure what it is yet. It’s weird, it’s as if everything that inspired me has gone and a whole new world has come into focus. I’m staying proactive for sure, working every day. Trying to find my inspiration from this odd situation. It’s starting to take shape I think. I’ve just started a collaboration with an old school friend of mine the poet Murray Lachlan Young. It’s a weekly poem set to music based on our experience of the coronavirus situation. The first one done, and it just felt right.” – Paul Hartnoll of Orbital
“I’m trying to see the positives [of] being isolated. I’ve suddenly been given a load of free time to focus on other passion projects. Yes, it sucks not being able to rave or see my friends and family, but I’m rolling with the punches; carrying on with my work and trying to stay active. Touring doesn’t give you much of a routine and establishing a daily rhythm and pattern has really helped me. Waking up, having breakfast and reading with my friend every morning before I engage with e-mails and the outside world has kept my brain stimulated. I’ve also found a lot of comfort in cooking and fitness. Cooking can be really meditative and I truly believe that eating the right foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps your mental health. In trying times like these, it’s so important to look after your brain!” – Madam X
“This entire situation has hit us hard and quick. These are surely difficult and challenging times, but I like to remember that even though we’ve altered our day to day routines, we are definitely part of the luckier lot. Sure, there are no gigs and everyone’s bank account has taken a hit, but what really matters and will make a difference is what we do with this time and how we approach this “time off.” We now have time to tend to so many areas of our lives which in the past took a backseat to work. We can use this mandatory time off to hone in on tasks and projects we’ve ignored while we were out doing our jobs. Clean out your closet (thank you, Marie Kondo!), finish a project, record a new mix, dig out your high school CD collection, spend time with your family. There are so many other things to do and with which to get creative.” Simina Grigoriu
Keeping the Music Alive: Rebūke, Jay Clarke, Josh Butler, Michael Klein
“I’ve been working on lots of new music and trying my best to come up with creative ideas to keep fans’ morale up during these times. We recently launched the ‘Erā Music Virtual World Tour’ which involves teaming up with promoters in UK/Ireland, South America, North America, Europe and Australia/NZ/Asia to present a series of live streams over the next month, each set tailored to that type of the world in terms of music style. Aside from that, I’ve been reading a lot of books that I never got round to reading, and of course, keeping up to date with everything Netflix related haha!” – Rebūke
“Since being in isolation I’ve been going back to basics in terms of my productions and sound design. Understanding how to get more from my soft-synths, watching how-to tutorials on plugins such as Massive X and Serum to [see] how I can get my productions to have more movement and progression in my sounds by using creative LFOs. I also started my hardware journey a few months back purchasing an Arturia Microfreak and Make Noise 0-Coast (the semi-modular synth) which I’m looking forward to exploring and integrating [into] my setup in the coming weeks. On a wellbeing note, I generally practice Transcendental Meditation twice a day. The past week I’ve also been doing group meditation via a Zoom conference call with people all over the UK which is definitely a new experience.” – Jay Clarke
“Last Saturday (the day before the lockdown) I moved my studio into the spare bedroom at home as it was obvious the UK was going to follow Italy and Spain. Since then I’ve been making music every day, it’s ace to be able to crawl out of bed and fire up my machines to jam. “Going to the studio” used to be a commitment: making a packed lunch and then driving to town. I’ve also been engaging with my fans more: last week I did a live stream with Melodic Distraction radio and Skiddle where I dug through my vinyl collection for two hours and mixed them on my Omnitronic rotary mixer. Yesterday I did an Instagram live, from my studio where I started with a blank project and began building a track.” – Josh Butler
“I’m actually spending most of the free time making music and exploring the idea of live performance. Before this all started I got a lot of new toys for the studio like the Octatrack by Electron, the Seq by Polyend and the Launchpad Pro by Novation. I’m actually having the time to properly learn these new tools which keeps me going and excited.” – Michael Klein
Not slowing down with COVID-19, these artists are keeping busy. Give them a listen, support their music and buy their merch.
Exercising the Mind, Body & Soul: Craig Williams, Rudosa, Francisco Allendes, Phaeleh
“I have been trying to set a little routine for myself each day, it’s so easy to just try and sleep the days away. In the morning I workout, every day. If all else fails and the rest of the day is a wash at least I did something for myself. I’m lucky I have some equipment at home. I have also tried to set myself little goals. Also, don’t get sucked into seeing people on social media being super productive, chances are they made that content, and then they’re going right back to the sofa to zone out.” – Craig Williams
“I have mainly been working on things outside the studio and have organized my music library, finding new music to fill spaces I felt I was missing. I’ve listened to a lot of live streams and mixes, some on totally different sounds, just building up inspiration for when I go back to making music. I’m trying to get a lot of things done that have been on my to-do list for a while, so that when I get back to making music, and eventually doing gigs again, I’ll have a clear head and focus. I plan to use this time to train and get fit at home with my girlfriend who is building a gym in the garage at the moment then relax and cook some nice meals while catching up on lots of Netflix.” – Rudosa
“The good thing is that most Crossfit boxes and weightlifting centers around the world are in the same situation, and so every community has continued to work in the best way they possibly can. Every day at 12:00pm, our whole box connects to Zoom and we do an online class. Everybody [is] in their own house following our coach, lifting water bottles as dumbbells, stepping over chairs and doing handstands against the wall. You might think it’s not as effective as a class with all the official equipment around, but I end these sessions laying on the floor exhausted and almost dying exactly the same as if I was in the actual box! In addition, I’ve reduced the [number] of calories I eat every day by around 20 percent and that has been the most difficult part for me so far, to be honest being such a lover of food.”
“It’s not been a massive change to my day to day work so far, but I’ve definitely spent a big chunk of time going down the rabbit hole that is live streaming and just learning about the tech involved with that. I’ve also been enjoying going for some epic late-night walks around the city, and it’s been quite awesome seeing Bristol so peaceful and calm in the early hours of the morning.” – Phaeleh
Looking Inward: Wehbba, Marbs, Cristian Varela, Ryan Murgatroyd
“It’s been a good opportunity to understand how fast we all live, and how we can be better. I have been reaching out to friends to see how they’ve been doing, checking back with my parents every day to make sure they’re safe. These interactions are healthy for everybody and makes the isolation thing a little easier. I’ve also started meditating again, and that really helps with keeping mental clarity. Hopefully, it’ll help to ignite my inspiration again. There is still a lot of time ahead before we will all be out and about, so living simple, working on ourselves and our craft seems like the best remedy for the society and our electronic music community.” – Wehbba
“Something a little more unorthodox that I do regularly, but also during this lockdown is a little mind game. Life is shaped by perspective. The way we look at things and the reality we build around ourselves creates the way we feel and act. I like to think of it as a game. Can you make yourself feel good when it seems like the whole world is falling apart? If you can, then you’re winning. Staying connected to my friends, family, and community via virtual technology has been a blessing. Facetime your loved ones, live stream to connect with your community, and stay positive. This too shall pass.” – Marbs
“This whole situation is really making me think in a new way and reimagine the way I work and live my life. When suddenly I had [at least] 20 gigs canceled till June, my first reaction was one of alarm, asking what will happen with our industry, tours, gigs, productions, clubs, promoters and so on. I was very worried for all of us! I have tried to find a positive view of all this mess. Thinking more deeply about how can I grow as a musician, composer and DJ, but also as a person. There is now so much more time for meditation, creativity and inspiration. I’m also using the time to think of other things…[how] I can do to help people. We are living an extraordinary moment of Conscience Change.” – Cristian Varela
“I think being at home, isolated, naturally brings about an introspective mood, and I’ve been deeply considering a lot of things. The fragility of human life for one, what it means to make music for a living, and just reconnecting with my ‘why’. [Also], I’ve been reading a lot and making a point of not just reading internet articles but actual books. Focusing on a more immersive, deeper learning which I believe the internet is slowly eroding for us all. And then on the positive side, that last [bit] sounds a bit depressing, doesn’t it?, I made the excellent move of buying myself an infrared sauna. I’ve been racking up the sauna hours and then jumping in the cold pool multiple times a day.”