At time of writing, measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic are forcing much of the world into an unprecedented period of restriction, isolation, and uncertainty.
So we’ve collected some ways that you – as a musician, DJ, or producer – can take care of yourself, support the electronic music community, and make the most of your time indoors. The team at Native Instruments are working from home, like many of you, so as much for our own benefit as yours, we’ve asked the whole team (via Slack, of course) to share a selection of the musical activities they’re using to stay sane and keep on creating.
Here are a few of our recommendations.
Do something for yourself
There’s plenty of good advice out there for your own safety and sanity – wash your hands, call your loved ones, establish a routine… But once you’ve taken care of the essentials, it’s likely you’re finding yourself with a fair amount of free time.
For those of us used to filling our limited downtime with music, there’s an opportunity knocking. Trying to finish that verse, track, or album? Sitting on an idea you’ve been wanting to try? Feeling the urge to experiment? Now is the perfect time.
If you find inspiration in collaboration, there are plenty of people looking to get together digitally and make things happen. Check out the Lockdown Type Beat project on Instagram, for example, or set up your own challenge. Berlin’s Original Street Techno crew have done just that, encouraging each other to upload one track a day to a shared SoundCloud account.
Or you can dive into Metapop, where you’ll find a friendly community of music makers, expert feedback, and ten currently active remix competitions and production challenges. Stuck on a loop or a track and don’t know how to move forward? Submit your track to I’m Fuxking Stuck and let the community lend you a helping hand. Or if you fancy a new challenge, why not submit a few bars to the world’s biggest beat or put your own spin on TOKiMONSTA’s new single?
Not in the mood for making music? That’s also fine. Why not do your future self a favour and take care of some housekeeping? Clear out that sample folder, spring-clean the studio (use alcohol-based disinfectant and a soft cloth for sensitive hardware), or invest some time into creating templates in your DAW of choice – Music Tech has some great guides for Ableton, Cubase, and Pro Tools to get you started. You’ll thank yourself later.
For a more ambitious self-investment, dedicate some time to learn something new. There are free guides to almost everything online, including building your own REAKTOR ensembles and creating KONTAKT libraries. Both might seem daunting if you’ve never tried it, but you’ll be up and running in no time, and the rewards are well-worth the wait. Don’t forget to share your creations and tag us later.
Finally, be sure to take advantage of all the freebies floating around right now. Our own vintage-meets-modern synth station ANALOG DREAMS is free until March 31, Korg have made iKassilator and Kaossilator free for iOS and Android, and Moog are giving away their iOS emulation of the classic Model D Minimoog for starters. And don’t forget that KOMPLETE START and TRAKTOR DJ 2 are free all year round.
- Download ANALOG DREAMS for free
- Check out a new solution for online collaboration
- Enter the latest Metapop competition
- Check out Resident Advisors tips for self-isolating musicians
- Twitch made a guide for musicians looking to perform in their first live stream
- It’s okay to not make music too – here are some alternatives from i-D
- And a huge collection of ideas for staying in, courtesy of High Snobiety
Do something for the electronic music community
To support some of those who are most affected by the closure of clubs, bars, and concert halls right now, there are plenty of great online initiatives springing up from all over the world. During this time, we want to offer our platforms as a way for you to share as much of your homebound creativity as possible – and to promote your own music and merch. In fact, if you tweet a link in this thread, we’ll give it an RT for you.
Now’s a good time to go shopping for music and support some independent artists. Buy Music Club is a great place to browse and create curated lists of the best independent music on Bandcamp. And ROLI engineer Tom Duncalf has built an app to help you find Bandcamp links for artists in your Spotify collection.
The clubs might be closed, but the parties are still going strong. The Berlin-based United We Stream initiative are broadcasting sets live from local electronic music institutions every night until they reopen – featuring Pan Pot, Rebekah, Ellen Allien and more. Your living room may not have the atmosphere of a peak-time club, but it can certainly sound the part – and you can do your bit to support independent clubs while getting your fix of bangers.
If your situation allows, and you just want to do some good, please consider making a financial contribution to one of several worthy initiatives across the industry. Attack Magazine has launched a prize draw/fundraiser that gives you the chance to land a care-package of prizes that includes KOMPLETE 12 ULTIMATE for every donation of £5 or more. There’s also the Artist Relief Tree, which is collecting and distributing funds to artists affected by recent cancellations. They’re well past €180k just now, but with thousands of applications to process, they could use all the help they can get. Resident Advisor again has comprehensive round-ups of causes you can donate to and petitions you can sign over on their site.
- Help out your favourite artists by buying music on Bandcamp
- Check out Save our Scene, Resident Advisor’s collection of COVID-19 resources for the electronic music community
- Donate to Artist Relief Tree on Facebook
- Enter the Attack Magazine prize draw
- Experience a virtual Berlin night-out with United We Stream
- Send us your music, get retweeted!
Do something for society
While music presents a great way to keep productive and stay positive during this time, it’s not the most important thing. Please heed the advice of the WHO and relevant government bodies. Beyond that, be kind: Check in on older or more vulnerable friends, relatives, and neighbours; try to stay calm and reassure those around you; and pay more attention than ever to the needs of others. And please consider donating to food banks, helping out your favourite charities, or even giving blood.
Lastly, stay home. Making music in your bedroom might be the best thing you can do right now – for yourself and for everyone else.
- Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus (WHO)
- Food bank finders for the UK, USA, and Germany’s biggest food bank network
- Turn your favourite song into a hand-washing routine
- The Nextdoor app now helps you find neighbors in need of help
Whatever you end up doing, let us know. We’re all in this together. You can reach us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Until then, stay safe.
Illustration: Nicola Napoli