By Jim Tremayne
When the Coronavirus shut us down, clubs and festivals ceased, and everyone was essentially forced inside with no definitive end in sight, DJ Times wondered: How is our tribe coping? How are DJs getting by? So, we sent out our “Coronavirus Questionnaire” to DJ/producers from all musical genres to find out.
During this period, DJ Times will continue presenting the questionnaire responses from talented music-makers from all over the world. Here’s our latest entry, this time from Los Angeles, the Russian-born, electronic talent Eliza May (aka Maria Ershova).
What’s it like where you’re living? Yes, we were on lockdown for a couple of months. I had just come back to Los Angeles from the Dominican Republic in March, and I was shocked by what was happening. The stores were out of food, water, hand sanitizer – and toilet paper! I had my last gig in L.A. on March 15, and the one on the 16th got canceled. And all the gigs after that.
How did you get through the last few months? The lockdown has definitely changed my life a lot. And maybe even for the better because I learned so many new things and discovered new talents and passions. I finally got time to do things I never had time for before. I signed up for a few courses on marketing and self-development, decided to work on my first EP, filmed my first music video in the very socially distanced Mojave Desert over the summer – bad idea, it’s hot! I DJed a few amazing events online, ran a remix contest on social media for my track, “Krishna.” I started to work out regularly, and even started to cook. During quarantine I also focused on my social-media presence and partnered with some awesome brands for social campaigns including eBay, Logitech, streaming service Qobuz, Spotify’s podcast app Anchor, a few video apps, and clothing brands, as well as the amazing singer BENEE.
What income-producing work did you lose? I was supposed to go on my annual summer tour, which included going back home to DJ in Russia, as well as Mauritius, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Turkey, India, Nepal, Bali, Thailand, plus a few stops in Europe. Hopefully, I’ll still do it next year!
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? It doesn’t replace income from touring, but I’m broadcasting my DJ sets a few times a month and working on my new EP. It’ll be called “Emotions” and will include four songs, three of which are complete. I’m working on the fourth song now, as well as working on music for commercials on the side.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? I released two singles over the summer, “Paradise” and “Take It Back.” My latest single, “I’m Coming Home,” came out earlier this month and the music video just dropped this week. “I’m Coming Home” is a very important track for me because I know it can help many people to go through difficult times, like it helped me. The song and video are about overcoming all the struggles and challenges of life to find yourself, your peace, and happiness.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? Like how much I miss traveling and eating in restaurants? I realized that I have many other interests besides DJing, music, and travel. I started to read more, and sort of went on a journey of self-discovery.
Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I really enjoyed watching D-Nice’s Instagram Live sessions, but to be honest, didn’t have time to watch too many streams because of my tight schedule. I did stream on Twitch, Instagram, Facebook, and a few other apps, too, and played for a few festivals and events online like the charity festival “We Care,” in support of Help Musicians and Music Minds Matter.
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? Eliza May’s “Corona Song (Stay Home).” I didn’t mention it earlier because I sort of made it as a joke for TikTok, but it’s available on all the streaming platforms. I produced it out of different sounds around the house. That’s definitely a quarantine anthem!
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Just keep yourself busy! Do things you always wanted to do, but never had time for. Learn new skills that’ll be beneficial for you after the pandemic is over. There are so many opportunities now! Take online courses! Start a side hustle! The possibilities are endless.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.