COVID has categorically wrecked many industries over the past year with nightlife being towards the top. Gone are the days, for now, of us partying in a crowded environment for hours on end in our flashy and revealing clothes before getting home at an ungodly hour.
It’s something that many miss and yearn for. We have grown tired of doing the social distancing dinners and chilling inside while watching marathons of whatever is popular on Netflix or Hulu at the moment. Even the gay bars that have reopened look drastically different as you can only have so many people in there at a time compared to when they were packed to the brim with members of the LGBTQ community and our fierce supporters.
The DJ’s who provided us with delicious beats at several of these parties have no doubt struggled big time as a result. What was once a lucrative profession has done a complete 180 where headlining a major event in New York City, Ibiza or several other fabulous destinations cannot happen right now.
It gets worse from there. Certain social media platforms, like Facebook, have made doing these virtual a problem as they won’t allow the audio that they produce to be heard for their own particular reasons. It relates to them deleting videos of people dancing, lip syncing or singing to a particular song as there appears to be some copyright problems in the way.
So yeah, it’s bad for anyone in this profession right now and things don’t appear to be looking up as of late due to a second lockdown more than likely happening domestically. So how have some of these men been doing during this tough time and are they optimistic that things could turn around in the near future?
I spoke with four wonderful DJ’s about this where they each provided robust answers to questions related to this subject.
“It was while I was on my way down to Puerto Vallarta in March that I recognized things were going to take a very hard turn,” New York City’s Joe Pacheco said in response to where he was when he realized that COVID took over. “Once I heard the possibility of the US shutting down, I knew I was going to have to bunker down the moment I got back.”
For Jack Chang, who resides internationally, things took a sharp turn the following month. “It was mid-April. We entered lockdown here in Germany: all stores apart from grocery stores and pharmacies were closed. Both places I frequent here had suddenly changed. With the gym closed, and the grocery stores with shelves running bare instantly of things like toilet paper, stripes taped into the floor in the checkout queue to keep people 1.5 meters (about 6 feet) apart, my world here suddenly stopped looking, feeling, and behaving as I normally see it. That was when I realized that the pandemic was affecting everything around me in daily life, and that my professional life would also be affected.”
Corey Craig, another NYC resident, experienced a double whammy when COVID hit him. “I was spinning Beer Blast at the Eagle NYC and I could tell word had traveled about shutting down the city. That evening I saw so many people who hadn’t been out in a while. There was this nervous tension in the air about what was coming and would we all see each other again. Then, (almost as confirmation) the night before I was supposed to travel to Dallas to spin Texas Bear Round Up, the decision was made to cancel the weekend and I was instructed to stay put in NYC. That same nervous energy was in the phone calls and conversations about the event.”
For Corey COVID hasn’t been all that bad as he has another fantastic career that has kept him doing A-OK throughout it all. “As a Pharmacist, I have never been off throughout the pandemic,” he said. “I was blessed to be able to change gears and put the DJ gig work on the back burner and keep working essentially.”
Joe has also taken a different avenue of success. “One of the biggest highlights of my career during COVID was finally taking the leap into music production,” he said. “I’ve got some great collaborations in the works; one of which I’m really excited for is a remix for Latin artist Wiko Ezra‘s debut single ‘Se Me Antoja'”.
There’s still the brutal honesty about their situation regardless of other personal triumphs. “The truth is that my DJ career and event promotions is just on hiatus,” DJ Dan Darlington admitted. “Any move would be so analyzed and a question of whether or not people would be put in danger it just isn’t worth trying to do anything.”
Its also problematic when it comes to their parties. “I throw the Brüt party, and it is a ‘hands on’ type of experience,” Dan also said before talking about when we can realistically gather together again in these capacities. “Safely I would need to wait until people are protected by a treatment or a vaccine. So I am hoping to be throwing parties again next summer as well, but all depends on science.”
I never tweet but I guess I should start huh pic.twitter.com/Ox6iKv5D9T
— Dan Darlington (@DjDanDarlington) April 15, 2020
“I think the entire nightlife world has changed,” Corey also said on the matter. “We will not return to a pre-COVID existence. My prayer is that by next summer, the country has this pandemic under control and with modified procedures and safety precautions, NYC will re-emerge and we can socialize again.”
And yes, it is good to reach out to these guys every once in a while to see how they’re doing during this insanely difficult time.
“I would ask anyone reading to remember that we are not just musicians and artists, we are also human beings,” Jack exclaimed. “We need our spirits kept alive, like everyone else, during these uncertain days. Giving support does not only come as financial support. Please keep our minds going too. We need to remain in a good, positive mindset, so that we can continue creating and imagining another world full of music for you, to enjoy. Please check in on us when you can. Reach out to us, when you have a spare moment. We have had our lives torn out from under us without warning. We cannot create or imagine the soundtrack to your lives, if we our minds are clouded with worry and uncertainty.”
Joe’s response to how we can support him and his fellow DJ’s go beyond their work as its simple and to the point about what we in the world are experiencing right now. “There’s no secret recipe. Just check in on your friends.”