How’s it going?: Jon1st

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

Hey guys, great to talk to you. I’m very fortunate to be able to make music at home and am doing my best to distract myself from what’s going on at the moment by keeping myself occupied making beats and mixes, and am doing some online tuition too. I’m very lucky that I’m healthy and am accustomed to being inside at home working on music when I’m not on the road, so social distancing hasn’t been as much of a change for me compared to others. Although I had a bunch of touring coming up, I also had some studio goals with my respective projects for this part of the year so am keeping myself motivated to achieve those while we are on lockdown and make the most of the time. Doing some Twitch streams and tuition in the past couple of weeks has kept me talking to new people too, which is something I really miss about not being able to gig and tour. I’ve been teaching students in USA and around Europe and it’s been interesting to hear how each country has reacted differently to the pandemic. One student is living in a city where the population need to apply for permits to go outside to the shops or the bank.

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

  1. I’d say Ableton Live for making beats as it’s my go to DAW. Shield and I have been getting into Max for Live plugins a lot recently, so I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with those.
  2. My Osmo Pocket camera. I’ve been using it for the last 18 months or so on the road and at home and having it here has allowed me to keep making videos of a high quality from home.
  3. My Pioneer DJ XP2 controller. I’ve been using this recently with a DJM900NXS2 and Serato DJ to make a series of 4 deck minimix videos as a challenge as I’ve mainly mixed off 2 decks for most of my time as a DJ. I made a custom mapping on the XP2 to have 8 cue points for each of the 4 decks simultaneously, which has been a lot of fun.

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

I’m a big fan of pro wrestling and there’s currently a great Vice documentary series out called Dark Side Of The Ring, which explores some bizarre and sometimes gruesome stories from that industry that I’ve found really interesting. I’ve also been playing through the Yakuza HD collection on PS4 for a bit of time off.

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

As a self employed person working from home, I’ve found it easiest to make myself a routine and treat my day like going to work so I can get up early, do some exercise and work through what I need to achieve that day and allocate myself a realistic schedule. Setting yourself realistic short term and long term goals is really useful too and then you can expand the goal posts as and when you achieve things. Be sure to give yourself some chill time too.Turning the internet and your phone off when you’re trying to be creative is a big one too, though I’m guilty as everyone else for sneaking onto YouTube.And honestly, as cheesy as it sounds, I just love making stuff – so I use that energy to stay proactive and motivated.

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

Although this is going to be a tough time for everyone for a multitude of reasons, I feel lockdown gives us time to really focus on our craft and develop a new project or build our skills. There’s been a huge surge in free tutorials on services like Twitch for all manner of disciplines and there’s so much information out there on YouTube and message boards to pick up new ideas and be inspired. Because there’s not going to be club gigs for the foreseeable future, I feel this is a great time to focus on yourself and work on a passion project.For the aspiring turntablists out there looking for some inspiration, I’d recommend checking out Vekked’s Twitch (twitch.tv/vekkedscratches) – he’s doing an introduction course to making battle routines, which is going to end with a Battle for Noob Supremacy competition aimed at those who have never battled before! I’m also hosting weekly Twitch streams (twitch.tv/jon1st) aimed at beginner and intermediate turntablists, answering questions and giving advice.Perhaps ask a friend if they’d like to collaborate during this time too – you never know what could happen as a result! My live/studio project with Shield started from us doing exactly that and now it’s a major part of our lives and careers.

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

With so many people in our community stuck at home looking at ways to pass the time I think it’s going to result in a lot of creativity and we’ll see and hear a lot of awesome new music in the coming weeks.In terms of the long term, I predict it’s going to be a long time before things can return to how they were a few months ago. If we can do our best to support each other, our local venues and businesses it gives our local, national and international communities the best shot at getting back to normal.

Jon1st interview with serato