How’s it going?: DJ Angelo

How are you doing and how are things going for you right now?

Overall I’m fine, thanks. Currently based in Berlin where fortunately most people are taking the stay at home recommendation seriously. I had gigs in Russia, Switzerland, and Asia all cancelled due to the pandemic but I’m managing ok as I hustle in a few different ways. I think this situation has forced me and a lot of other artists to slow everything down and reset life as we know it. I’m taking the opportunity to catch up more with friends/family, to get some undisturbed rest, and to clear my mind of any stress, which hasn’t been possible for years because of tour schedules or pressing deadlines. I’m also working on new ideas that I never had enough time for before, so there’s definitely positives to draw from during this period of self-isolation. Being creative at my own pace with no pressure is a nice feeling that reminds me of when I was a young carefree bedroom DJ.

What are some of the key pieces of gear in your arsenal to help you stay active through this period, and why?

I’m currently using the Reloop Elite mixer and RP8000mk2 turntables. My favourite setup right now – not only because I helped develop them but also because of the vast creative possibilities that this gear allows me to do. I’m experimenting with new wordplay and toneplay transitions for club sets, melodic turntablism ideas with the Platter Play feature, and of course I’m practicing my cuts! I’m also working on videos, and remixes in Ableton which I plan to release soon. Apart from that, I’m generally brainstorming for new content and business ideas. 

What are your top 3 watches right now? Movies, TV shows, Documentaries. Anything.

I don’t really care for terrestrial television or TV shows but I’ll watch a few new movies each week if the reviews are good. I’m more of a gamer and usually turn to my PS4 when I need a little escapism. In terms of online content, I watch instagram/YouTube videos if and when something interests me but to be honest, I’m actually trying to spend less time on social media right now which may feel like the complete opposite of what everyone else is doing during lockdown. I feel like I’m the only DJ that hasn’t done a livestream yet but I’m personally just focused on doing what feels right to me which is investing in myself, maintaining my mental health, and developing more skills. 

What’s your secret in staying productive and getting stuff done when you’re just at home all day?

My lifestyle hasn’t changed a great deal since lockdown because whenever I’m off tour, I’m usually at home working on material of some kind. It always helps to have goals and targets that you’re committed to completing so that when you start your day, you have projects to work on, such as making a new routine, mixtape, or music. For me, a huge part of being productive is to minimise distractions, which is obviously a challenge with our dependence on social media, and an even bigger challenge now that most of us are at home online more than ever. But I guess you just have to be disciplined and to moderate anything that draws your attention away from your craft, which can even include friends (or girlfriends!). Balance however,  is the key to most things and you definitely need adequate time away from your craft as well as quality time working on it, but be sure not to confuse time off with laziness. My advice is to try to be less of a consumer and more of a creator because any time you’re consuming someone else’s content, you’re dropping the ball on yours. 

What would your advice be to younger DJs/producers who are struggling to find a direction and feel a bit lost through this period?

Whenever I’ve felt lost in my career, I always go back to the source – the reason I started in the first place. If you take away the “work” agenda and focus purely on doing some you find fun, you should be able to ignite your passion again. Maybe you’ll discover some new ideas to explore, or maybe you’ll re-visit old ideas with a new perspective. But staying on the path of what excites you is usually the way out of a creative rut. I’m actually in the process of exploring my old vinyl collection, just for fun whether something comes out of it or not, and this week alone I’ve bought 9 new records on Discogs that I’m looking forward to experimenting with.

How do you think this period is going to impact the DJ community in the near future?

Obviously a lot of clubs, promoters, record pools, gear manufacturers, and working DJs in particular, are suffering right now, which may even be career-ending for some. Likewise, I fear that many businesses including clubs and bars may close for good, so I’m hoping that DJs are currently thinking seriously about developing other streams of income. On the flip side, I’m also feeling positive that society as a whole will be ready to party with a new lease of life when we are through all of this, and for that reason, DJs will be back in demand in social settings. In the spirit of celebration, I feel that festivals and large scale events will thrive, meaning big name DJs will pick up just where they left off. I just hope that there will still also be a market left for DJs of all levels, and if not, it will be up to these DJs to create a demand by reintroducing themselves back into the market in smart, competitive, and respectful ways. Only time will tell, but in the meantime I think all DJs should be working on all areas of their business and craft to stay ready for whatever is next, as this pandemic has proven that it’s not safe to rely on gigs alone to pay the bills. On another positive note, I’m confident some amazing music, DJ routines, and art will be born as a result of all this time at home. Stay safe and creative folks…Peace and Progress.