INSPIRATION // Producers Persevering Through the Pandemic

As the days get gloomy and the nights draw in, the sense that the year is coming to an end is in the air. It’s always a good time to look back on the summer days and reflect on what you have achieved for yourself and others as well as looking forward to what's to come over the final few months. Well, maybe that isn't the case this year. Especially as a creative, the events of 2020 have been among the most trying times in modern history. Many peoples lives have changed, possibly forever, and the way we go about our daily routines has had a knock-on effect on our creative juices.


This hasn't been the case right across the board though, there are those still out there making moves and honing their craft in one form or another. So we asked a handful of producers what they have been up to since March and asked to focus on; their career outlook, leveraging the situation and motivation, both as an artist and personally. We wanted to show that it is possible to continue the pursuit of an artist career without the elements we can no longer access such as gigs and physically networking. We aim to inspire you and hope you find to show that there's always another way to move forward.


KUSP


KUSP started life as a random studio session between two best friends rediscovering their love for electronic music. Fast forward 2 years and their music can be heard at the biggest shows around the globe, supported by the biggest names the industry has to offer.


The duo’s hard-hitting techno productions, pioneered by the likes of Alan Fitzpatrick, Charlotte De Witte and Adam Beyer, gained them BBC Radio 1 support early on, amassing stellar releases on staple record labels such as Suara, R&S Records, We Are The Brave, Odd Recordings, Octopus and Kneaded Pains.


Their live performances have seen them rise to support names that include Amelie Lens, Jeff Mills, Alan Fitzpatrick, Sam Paganini, Dense & Pika, Dave Clarke, Sama’, Rudosa and many more, taking their careers far beyond their native Liverpool to packed out shows around the world.

"It's a really weird feeling, to be honest, nobody really knows how long this is going to last for, it could be months or even years. Doesn't help at the moment with the government's stance on the music industry as a whole, so it's a testing time for everyone involved. But throughout all of the hardship, we always thought of this as an opportunity to level up and come out of the other side in a much stronger position. Despite losing our fair share of gigs and being on the brink of breaking onto the international stage, we can still keep on writing music and establishing ourselves on the labels we could have only dreamed of being a part since we were kids. Jack has also taken up a role as a music production and DJ tutor at Rudosa's "Make Me A DJ" school in Manchester, so even though the clubs are shut it's still nice to be immersed within the industry in some capacity.


When DJing, we always have a tendency to go back in time rather than play an entire set of what's landed in our promo inbox that week. Good music is timeless. So during Lockdown, we've treated it in the same fashion really, exploring different genres, digging through records and old DJ sets to keep that spark of inspiration ignited. During all of this, our minds have constantly switched through a wealth of different thoughts, feelings and emotions. I think it's quite telling in our music of late, even though hard-hitting techno might be our bread and butter, we've delved into many other genres including breaks, electro, melodic, hypnotic and deeper styles.

For us, the versatility is what helps keep things fresh.

I think given the circumstances, covid has managed to have a negative effect on us in one way or another. If we can create something new that resonates with people and helps them escape their problems for a short while then it's mission accomplished for us. Despite having worries over money, jobs and redundancies etc... Having that passion project on the side you can pour your heart and soul into almost acts as a form of therapy throughout this pandemic, it’s a welcomed distraction. Although we want to make a full-time career out of it, we never got into music for financial reasons, so no matter how long it takes for it all to finally come back around again we'll still be here doing what we love regardless.


When you have more time to work on music than usual, you're generally gonna end up making more music! We're also quite lucky, ever since our release on R&S Records at the beginning of lockdown we've had label owners like Coyu and Radio Slave reach out and ask us for music. We’re just two normal lads from Merseyside and having people we've looked up to for years ask us to be involved with them and their labels are probably one of the best compliments you can get as DJ's / producers. Along with support from the likes of Adam Beyer, Amelie Lens, Charlotte De Witte, Josh Wink, Alan Fitzpatrick, Pan-Pot and many more. We've just been trying to capitalise on the opportunities that come our way, at a time where some of the bigger names probably aren’t releasing as often.


The music industry has had many major setbacks down the years, but it always found a way to evolve and come back even stronger. One day all of this is eventually going to end and when it does, everything we've managed to achieve during this pandemic won't just be instantly forgotten. Before the pandemic we’d managed to build up some momentum to further our careers, we’re just hungry to keep that going and not let it completely go to waste. We want to continue to become core artists on the labels we’ve released on and use this time wisely to close the gap between where we are and where we want to be in the future."


Jess Bays


A testament to her passion, ambition, dedication and hard graft, Jess Bays shows no sign of slowing down and House heads around the world are taking notice. This instinctive and exciting DJ has captured the attention of ravers, peers and tastemakers alike with a monthly residency at London’s XOYO, sets at Studio 338, Village Underground, Ministry Of Sound, Leeds Festival, Sundown, We Are FSTVL and Manchester’s legendary Warehouse Project.


Tipped by DJ Mag as ‘One to watch’ Jess regularly performs with the likes of Annie Mac, Hannah Wants, MK, Derrick Carter and most notably Sam Divine, whose label DVINE Sounds has become a key part of her career ascent. Having had a hand in their A&R to becoming Digital Manager and one of their go-to DJs Jess has consistently built solid foundations within the music industry from the inside out.


As a producer Jess has already clocked up releases with Armada, Stress, Simma Black, Glasgow Underground, Stashed and Circa Trax proving there’s no stopping this powerhouse – a true artist in the making who’s always evolving, learning, crafting and creating.