All Articles Interviews
Lockdown & Quarantine Vs Creativity & Music: 9 Producers Speak Out
Rounik Sethi on Tue, March 31st 0 comments
9 prominent musicians and producers reveal how enforced isolation and quarantine is affecting them and how they are making music in the time of the Coronavirus.

Getting through the lockdown can be simultaneously challenging as well as enlivening. The time and opportunity for reflection and focusing on creative pursuits is offset by fear, tragedy, and hardship.

We’ve spoken to an eclectic mix of global musicians, DJs and producers on how they are coping being housebound and what they are doing to learn more, create more, and prepare once again for the when the gigs and studios will open their doors once again.

There are some incredibly useful tips and profound non-music centered musings and reflections from these artists... we hope you find this as inspiring to read as we did to compile it. Stay safe x 

Giorgia Angiuli - Italy

1. How long have you been in self-isolation? How are you finding it?

I am based in Italy and the lockdown started around the 9th march. I feel grateful because my family and I are safe and I am at home where I have my beloved studio. I am learning how to deal with the uncertainty and it is not easy, especially for our generation that love fast answers, googling everything. Here the internet is already on its edge. We need to be patient and united, supporting each other. Nature is already giving us some signals, it looks like pollution levels are going down and the sky is blue again.

2. How is this level of quarantine different to your “regular” life?

I travelled a lot in the last 3 years, touring around the world and my life was in a rush. My agenda, from March until the end of 2020, was supposed to be completely full. Just now I am realizing how lucky I was doing my job, exploring many amazing countries and meeting lovely people, but I also miss many things. This unexpected lockdown sounds like a shock for everyone  but I am trying to be focused on this: slowness can be an opportunity. I am spending my time watching the amazing video courses in the AskAudio Academy! But, of course I can not wait to be back out there to perform live. 

3. How is the global coronavirus pandemic impacting your creative process? Tell us about your situation and your music studio setup.

I am playing a lot of piano, because it makes me feel very calm. I installed a lot of lovely libraries for Kontakt, my favorite at the moment are Noir (piano) and Middle East. I am not a big fan of world music but, during these weird times, these sounds help me to travel around the world through my ears. Being in the studio means that I can practice a lot and now I am trying to do a live stream with all my synths connected. Playing gigs and having worldwide tours limits me to bring small, portable machines only…now, in my studio, I can connect and play all the instruments I want at the same time. It is not the right time to overthink and make plans, as everything is changing so fast. But we can just be creative and be focused in the moment. I have started an open format project, a track called UNITED, that will give producers all over the world a chance to show their skills and participate. It’s a different level of creativity as it unites so many different people and also gives me a lot of fulfilment and positive energy. 

4. What are the benefits you’ve found in creating music in isolation?

I feel less pressure and I can give more attention to the details. I am producing less techno and more electronic downtempo because I feel it more… After many years I started to play my classical guitar again and it makes me feel happy. I think that, even if one day, life returns to normal, I will try to keep more time for “isolation” because I love to study and learn new things. 

5. What advice would you give to other musicians, sound designers and artists during these unprecedented times.

The internet offers us incredible resources, every day you can learn many things from tutorials. Being creative doesn’t mean needing to buy a lot of gear you can make amazing tracks with very few essential things. Be focused and put your heart into what you are doing in the moment and be proud of yourself. Don’t listen too much to other artists or try to copy them, find your own way and your identity. 

Third Son - UK

1. How long have you been in self-isolation? How are you finding it?

Around three weeks. It’s actually been alright, I am discovering lots about my house-mates.

2. How is this level of quarantine different to your “regular” life?

It’s worryingly similar to my normal life. I have a studio at home so working from there. I’ve obviously had all forthcoming gigs cancelled but just to jinx myself, some of my production work is still going. And of course I’m spending time on TS projects and my label Polymath. 

3. How is the coronavirus pandemic across the globe impacting your creative process? Tell us about your situation and your music studio setup.

Well, there’s the financial insecurity, but having been a self-employed artist for around five years now, I guess it’s only a couple steps up on the Richter scale. I’m actually hoping to get immersed in a bigger scale project in the next month.

4. What are the benefits you’ve found in creating music in isolation?

As other audio work has fallen through I am able to spend more time on my personal projects. So focus has benefitted. Because of the whole landscape, I feel motivated to really do something worthwhile. I’m not really giving much away here am I…

5. What tips would you give to other musicians, sound designers and artists during these unprecedented times.

Be smart with how you use your time. Use this as an opportunity and make something special, so when the clouds clear, you can offer something to the world that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. 

Pre-order 'The Brain Named Itself' (3rd April) on Accidental here.

Lynda Arnold / DivaSonic - USA

1. How long have you been in self-isolation? How are you finding it?

I’ve been at home in Long Beach, CA  with my family for 2 weeks now. I’m lucky because my husband can still work from home. I’ve been juggling homeschooling my daughter Isabelle who is in 1st grade and figuring out how to take some of my sound meditation and music into the online space more.

2. How is quarantine different to your “regular” life?

Most of my work consists of in person sessions in studios, music gigs, workshops, teaching, etc so this is a big shift for me. Like many musicians, I’ve lost thousands in March alone from booked events and courses so financially it’s been tough. I also work from home mostly, but look forward to being out in the community. I feel too much of our lives exist in the virtual space these days. For now, it’s a blessing that we can connect this way.      

3. How is the global coronavirus pandemic impacting your creative process?

As this goes on, I am committed more than ever to use my creativity to help any way I can. It’s been important for me to offer my sound meditation work online through live streaming and zoom sessions so I’ve been spending a lot of time learning more about different ways to do that with the best audio quality possible. I'm using my laptop and phone to stream live sessions. I run my sound through Ableton live and broadcast that audio directly to my streams for the best audio quality. 

4. What are the benefits you’ve found in creating music in isolation?

The fact I have to stay home creates the opportunity for me to work on projects I’ve been needing to finish which includes an ambient EP mixed in spatial audio which will be completed soon under these isolated conditions. I do miss collaborating however, but because of software like Splice, I am able to continue to send sessions back and forth with the other producers and musicians I am working with. There’s a sense of peace knowing we are all in this together and I look forward to hearing and seeing what artists create during this time.

5. What advice would you give to other musicians, sound designers and artists during these unprecedented times.

I think it’s important to keep working at your own pace and not to feel pressure to create anything. However I would suggest tuning into this very unique moment in time. Spend time meditating, walking and reflecting on what this unexpected pause means to you. Give yourself space and funnel these new perspectives through your music and art making. 

Steve Horelick - USA

1. How long have you been in self-isolation? How are you finding it?

Self isolation? Well, in terms of work, my home office and studio have been my self-imposed self-isolation for about 15 years. The only difference is my sadness and fear level. I worry so much about my family, friends and colleagues.

2. How is this level of quarantine different to your “regular” life?

My whole family, children etc. live in the New York area and we’ve been quarantined for more than two weeks as we all pose risks to each other due to our ages, family situation and work. It’s hard on all of us as we are very close in both distance and in ways of the heart. 

All of my live events have been cancelled. So every day I spend time working on album and EP projects, making animations and improvising.

Funny thing is that video conferencing with family and friends has proven to be a pretty satisfying experience. My guess is that this pandemic is going to forever alter the way we communicate and interact personally and business-wise with each other.

3. How is the coronavirus pandemic across the globe impacting your creative process? Tell us about your situation and your music studio setup.

Music is emotion in motion. So, as you can imagine, I'm feeling very differently now than before. I sit at my Buchla instruments and piano and what emerges is driven by my emotions.

Luckily I’ve been asked to create music for a couple of cool projects: Todd Barton is releasing a collection of Buchla compositions where I’ll be in good company with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Suzanne Ciani. The other is a release by Philip Petit’s Modulisma label called Buchlaïsms.

I’m blessed to be busy making music during these difficult times!

4. What are the benefits you’ve found in creating music in isolation?

No benefits it’s just different.

5. What advice would you give to other musicians, sound designers and artists during these unprecedented times.

Feel it. Play it. Record it. There's an old saying, "When business is slow it's time to paint the store". For a musician/producer that means that we best be spending our downtime advancing our skills. One of the best ways to acomplish that is diving into the video tutorials right here on this website!

Andreas Henneberg - Germany

1. How long have you been in self-isolation? How are you finding it?

First of all I’m happy that everybody around me is healthy and doing well. Like everybody else I’m trying to make the best out of my self isolation. I’m locking myself into the studio every day now since I’m usually touring a lot and don’t have so much time to be creative. 

Beside the financial perspective I really like the slow movement right now. Perfect time to make some new music and tinker with music gear.

2. How is this level of quarantine different to your “regular” life?

Well, during the week I usually commute between home and studio. So nothing has really changed here. On the weekends I used to travel a lot. I live in Berlin and the main market to perform my music in is the United States. All the shows until July have been cancelled and honestly I don’t see me playing that much in 2020 anymore. Let’s see… Like I said, I am really enjoying not travelling and finally have some time to be creative. Right now it’s a very nice situation but if this doesn't change soon I’ll get a bit nervous.

3. How is the coronavirus pandemic across the globe impacting your creative process? Tell us about your situation and your music studio setup.

I’m not a panicky person at all, but I’m very aware of the situation. Keeping distance from my grandparents, helping out where I can, and trying to avoid social contact as much as possible. The only thing affecting my creativity, is the fact that I have a very good and stable sleep cycle at the moment!!

My studio setup is exactly how I need it. It’s been in exactly the same place since 1996, so I had a lot of time to shape it to my personal needs. Usually there are studio guests, production partners, jam sessions or guest musicians around. Just not nowadays. 

4. What are the benefits you’ve found in creating music in isolation?

Less distraction! No other things to do. No paper work. No travel planning, cancelled flights or other logistic issues. Not even my friends distracting me from being productive. 

All that sounds pretty German right? mmh.. Anyway, like every musician sitting in their rehearsal room or studio, so am I. And if you need some input or inspiration you should check out the Ask Audio Academy. Lot’s of super interesting & nerdy stuff to explore. 

5. What advice would you give to other musicians, sound designers and artists during these unprecedented times.

Rule #1: Don’t panic!  The biggest fear for all of us is financial ruin. We are all running out of money and cannot pay our bills anymore at one point. I believe in the strong social system our world has to offer for what we pay this huge amount of taxes every month. Try to get as much help and support from your country and all the helping fund’s.

The value of nightlife and a good party will be much higher when all this is over. People are hungry for a night out when this is over and then it’s our turn to shine again. 

Until then take a break & be creative. Your body & soul will be thankful for that.

Matt Vanacoro - USA

1. How long have you been in self-isolation?

I live in New York, and we’ve been isolated in my area since March 12th. While I obviously miss direct contact with the humans in my extended circle, I’m fortunate enough to have a a lot of fun technological ways to stay in touch. Portal, Facetime, Zoom, Alexa… we’re using it all to stay in touch.

2. How is this level of quarantine different to your “regular” life?

This level of isolation has a huge impact. Thousands of dollars in gigs canceled over the last 2 weekends alone. I had a gig on the road I was supposed to do down in Florida that’s now in eternal limbo. I haven’t had band practice in a few weeks, and we were quite close to finishing our EP. All of that is on hold, although we’re talking daily and keeping our creative process moving as best we can.

3. How is the coronavirus pandemic across the globe impacting your creative process? Tell us about your situation and your music studio setup.

As a content creator for Ask.Audio, I’m fortunate enough to have a pretty sweet setup for remote music creating. My audio rig is centered around a few Universal Audio Apollo interfaces, I’ve been able to easily repurpose my Blackmagic Cinema multi-camera setup for remote teaching and communication - so my typical Zoom conference call looks like a dang TV broadcast. I also was shipped a Nord Wave 2 *just* before the quarantine, and if there’s any keyboard you want to be ’shut in’ for a few weeks to really figure out, it’s that one. An amazing piece of tech.

4. What are the benefits you’ve found in creating music in isolation?

Isolation is different for everyone. I’ve got a family, they’re home as well, all remote schooling - so I’m isolated *with* people. I’ve been thinking a lot on what lessons my kids can learn about music, academic concepts, and more based on the tasks I have to do. When it makes sense, they take a break from the reading and writing curriculum and learn about carrier frequencies, FM synthesis, and more. That piece has been really fun. So while I’m isolated from some of my extended crew, I’ve had a blast opening up my creative circle a bit more to my family.

5. What advice would you give to other musicians, sound designers and artists during these unprecedented times.

My biggest tip to all of my creative friends is this: Don’t expect to paint the Sistine Chapel just because you’re shut in. Start with some smaller, achievable goals. I took a few days to assault a ‘laundry list’ of things that often get in the way of my creative process. I organized, categorized, and simplified my cable setups. I finally learned how to get my tempo pedal to control multiple keyboards. I found good places to permanently mount the cameras I use in my studio for live music broadcasts. When I felt inspired, I played music. 

Either way, when I come out of this, my creative process will be incredibly streamlined. I know some folks look at artists like Trey Anestasio writing an entire album in quarantine and think, “Oh, I’ve got to do that”. They don’t realize that Trey already writes like 100 songs a year. He’s a machine. You can’t expect to ‘flip the switch’ and write ‘Quadrophenia’ out of nowhere. Set smaller, achievable goals, be creative, and revel in them. One day at a time, folks! 

Say hello to Matt on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mattvanacoromusic/

Check out Matt Vanacoro’s courses here: https://ask.audio/academy?nleloc=profile/Vanacoro

Claudia Ferretti - Italy

1. How long have you been in self-isolation? How are you finding it?

I've been in complete self-isolation for 21 days on Tuesday 31st March. I'm really good at it and used to it as I spend lot of time alone making music. Of course I miss gigs and concrete contact with people I love and interacting with an audience. The problem is the pain and the death is so high right now in my town in Italy.

2. How is this level of quarantine different to your “regular” life?

I usually travel and have big social life when I have gigs. This in in contrast to evenings and days at home alone spent studying and creating. I love to stay calm alone, I go to public places just for music. I was travelling for gigs in Europe with my songwriting project called Claudia Is On The Sofa and the day I came back to Italy everything changed, not just for the quarantine, but the emotional, spiritual and mental state. Now I have more time and I sleep less so I'm studying a lot with Ask.Audio Academy too of course!

3. How is the coronavirus pandemic across the globe impacting your creative process? Tell us about your situation and your music studio setup.

I'm not composing Claudia is on the sofa music during this days (it's too hard). I do collaborations with different artists (musicians and visual). They give me 2 minute tracks of music or sound or a picture or video and we create a music. Anybody can send me something (you too)!

Here some examples of music, sculpture, sound design: 

https://claudiaferretti.bandcamp.com/track/big-lion 

https://claudiaferretti.bandcamp.com/track/tribute-to-nature-020-omaggio-alla-natura-020

https://claudiaferretti.bandcamp.com/track/water-jungle-in-mind

I collaborated with Elia Piana for his EP. He will give donations to our hospitals.

https://musiceliapiana.bandcamp.com/album/sospeso 

I will give donations with Claudia Is On The Sofa albums as well here:

https://claudiaisonthesofa.bandcamp.com/

I want to share the beauty of life with people. I'm not a doctor, but I'd like to be useful.

And this is the time to prepare the world to remember: I record almost everyday what is out of my window. I write everyday.

My home studio is really simple: a PC with Ableton Live as the DAW, a Rode NT1-A, an audio interface, controllers, keyboard controller, an electric guitar (Danelectro) and my best acoustic guitar (Gibson Hammylou signature), a Zoom recorder for field recordings, and lots of sound making objects.

4. What are the benefits you’ve found in creating music in isolation?

Music is a form of meditation for me now. It is a way to isolate myself from the sirens of ambulances and the helicopter sounds. It is all so surreal and concentration is difficult.. This is a way to share with artists, to stay together and to give something beautiful to people to keep hoping and stay at home. If the horror wins, we will loose our humanity and nature too. Beauty will save the world.

5. What advice would you give to other musicians, sound designers and artists during these unprecedented times.

There is no answer. There is no right or wrong. Everyone need to find their own best way to pass through this horror.

Kim Bjørn - Denmark

1. How long have you been in self-isolation? How are you finding it?

Basically 2.5 weeks - since the 12th of March. I find it okay after the circumstances.

2. How is this level of quarantine different to your “regular” life?

To be honest, it's not that different from my normal life as an author, designer, and musician. I work from home already, and PEDAL CRUSH, our latest release, almost strapped me to my computer 24/7 for 6 months, so nothing new there, besides I might get a bit more sleep :) However, I really miss traveling and getting around and about meeting friends and colleagues at the different synth and music gatherings, like Synthplex, Superbooth, etc.

3. How is the coronavirus pandemic across the globe impacting your creative process? Tell us about your situation and your music studio setup.

It's not impacting my creative process much - only mentally I guess. But it's all about keeping yourself occupied. As I mostly work on new book projects, I do a lot of online research, read books, watch videos, and experiment with my gear. I don't really have a studio as such - most of my gear is on shelves in a cabinet, and I pull out whatever I work with at the moment. Right now, I'm exploring a particular modular live setup run by the Hermod sequencer, jamming on the Roland TR-8S, and having fun with the Chase Bliss Audio Blooper pedal. I've also spent a lot of time replacing the faceplates on my Endorphin.es Shuttle System. I like small setups, like a single modular case, a drum machine, or a synth and a couple of pedals, etc. So, no spaceship control room with walls of synths :)

4. What are the benefits you’ve found in creating music in isolation?

One of the clear benefits is that it takes your mind elsewhere for a moment, and it can be an outlet for whatever dreams, frustrations, etc. you may have in these special times. Musically, it's a great opportunity to focus, get nerdy and dive deep into narrow topics. My music has always reflected my circumstances and there's always been a degree of loneliness to it - it's actually the only way I can create the ambient music that I do.

5. What tips would you give to other musicians, sound designers and artists during these unprecedented times.

1) Get organized and get a structure. Say, Tuesday is for triplets, Monday for Mixolydian, Friday for Finalizing, etc. Whatever works for you. Also, use the time for "boring" stuff you don't usually want to do when you "finally" get time to be creative - like organizing cables, sounds, etc. That way, you will have prepared for when times get better.

2) Get curious: dive deep into some of the gear that may be gathering dust, explore a couple of modules deeply, maybe spend all your mornings just creating, patching or recording sounds.

3) Challenge yourself. It can be anything from composing a track from a color, a drawing, a poem, to making an album with just one piece of gear, or exploring a genre you maybe don't know much about.

4) Learn something new. In times like these, and for musicians in general, I think it's more important than ever, to learn how to become "digital" in everything you do, and maybe even expand your skills into new areas. There's plenty of resources online, like here on the Ask.Audio Academy, YouTube or elsewhere.

5) Engage online. Watch some of the excellent live streams popping up all over the place - I find it inspiring to virtually gather and chat with others on these occasions. For example, Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) did an excellent streaming performance with Q&A afterward - and tonight (Sunday) I'm definitely going to watch Lisa Bella Donna perform too. 

My recent project has been to gather 50 free content pages from the three Bjooks titles on music gear, makers and artists, into one big, free, downloadable PDF. I hope it will create inspiration and optimism - you can find it here: https://www.pushturnmove.com/pages/trilogy

Also, I've made all my previous music free on Bandcamp: https://dreamhub.bandcamp.com/

Jimmy Galvin - UK

1. How long have you been in self-isolation? How are you finding it?

For about 7 days now although I must say as an artist I have been self isolating all of my life ! 

2. How is this level of quarantine different to your "regular" life? 

For me it's fine as I work from home composing or painting. I have 2 lovely pianos here although I miss my daily routine visits to local cafes for my soya chai latte's watching the world go by, listening to my new ideas on my headphones, then heading back home to work on the compositions as it's good to have breaks then you return fresh to the ideas.

3. How is the coronavirus pandemic across the globe impacting your creative process? Tell us about your situation and your music studio setup.

I think this is an important time for global development at least for humans to think about another way to be kinder to each other, and all sentient beings and the planet so this will be reflected consciously and unconsciously in many artists’ work in the creative zeitgeist. Let’s fill the world with beauty. That’s the job of artists at present.

4. What are the benefits you’ve found in creating music in isolation?

Being in isolation forces us as humans to embrace the silence. As Socrates once proclaimed 'Beware the emptiness of a busy life" and life is like music without the spaces… in the silences you don't hear the notes, so this is the time to embrace internal dialogue to get deeper with ourselves and the world.

5. What advice would you give to other musicians, sound designers and artists during these unprecedented times.

Keep creating, explore the silence for true meaning of your existence and reflect that in your music and your work.

If you're staying at home during the lockdown we'd recommend improving your production skills by learning with our pro online courses in the Ask.Audio Academy. Everything music production under one roof.

 

 

 

Related Videos
Comments (0)

You must be logged in to comment.

Audio & Sound Basics
Audio Concepts 101
Dream It. Do It.
Do you want to learn Audio & Sound Basics?
Yes, I want to learn!
No Thanks, I just want to read the article.
Feedback
Course Advisor
Don't Know Where To Start?
Ask A Course Advisor
Ask Us!
Copy the link below and paste it into an email, forum, or Facebook to share this with your friends.
Make money when you share our links
Become a macProVideo.com Affiliate!
The current affiliate rate is: 50%
Classes Start Next Week!
Live 8-week Online Certification Classes for: