If you’re like me, you maybe a homebody who actually loves stepping out of the house to go record shopping, meeting up with friends for a beer and burger or to fly across the globe to play music for people. Yet, it always comes back to being comfortable and more than happy being home. But no matter how much I love the confines of four walls surrounded by records, art and window sills filled with orchids, it’s just not in a DJ’s nature to be stuck indoors and this is longest amount time that I’ve gone without DJ’ing in public. I’m sure that I’m not the only person experiencing the feeling of being trapped indoors regardless if you’re an artist or a 9 to 5’er trying to find activities for the kids, we need room to breath. So I’ve decided to start a new “At Home” series talking with some of my favorite creative people across the globe from all walks of life and industries about how they’re maintaining creatively, mentally and physically during the COVID-19 pandemic which is affecting us all in a way that we’ve never experienced before.
For my first guest, I have the pleasure of talking with world renown DJ, self proclaimed nerd, deep digger and one of the most trusted and respected names in the game, DJ Mr. Thing. When he’s not flipping records in the shop or pulling from the crates to play for packed clubs, you can find him exactly where you can find everywhere else, at home in isolation and trying to figure how long all this will last and what’s next. May I introduce to you, the legendary DJ Mr. Thing!
Skeme – As a DJ, being out and playing parties is a major part of your life as well as you being a part of the BBE record shop staff. With both of those functions at a standstill, how are you spending your days?
Mr. Thing – Pretty much all of it has come to a standstill to be honest, I was having a weird time of gigs being cancelled right before this all happened so I was lucky to have my shop work to keep things moving but then I had to shut that too and just concentrate on doing mail order for people but only a couple of times a week so it’s worth leaving the house. At the moment though I’ve been spending my time at home listening to records I bought last year in Europe I hadn’t got round to yet and sorting out things for the shop and also making a lot of beats, learning new software and things like that – things I generally can’t do if I’m out and about all the time so it’s been great for that!
Skeme – Do you have a specific place at home where you work or spend most of your day?
Mr. Thing – Mostly up in my DJ room, it’s where about half my records are and my MPC, turntables etc are and a lot of my books too. Sometimes though I’ll get to the records downstairs and sort through or pull things out from there too – pretty much all my 45s are there so i’ve been going through some of those a shelf at a time and seeing what’s there, but mainly up in the DJ room though!
Skeme – Now that you’re not leaving the house as much, do you find yourself caring less with getting dressed or do you still have a routine that keeps you balanced?
Mr. Thing – I find it quite difficult to be productive if I’m not up and dressed properly or else I’ll just sit in front of the TV all day, so I like to get up and have coffee, breakfast and then get a start with the day. Take the dog out for a walk for some daily exercise and then back indoors again. But a trip to the barbers is one of the first things happening when I can get out properly again!
Skeme – What’s inspiring you at the moment to stay creative and productive so that when this period of isolation is over, you can set right back in and keep it moving?
Mr. Thing – I’m enjoying watching people make music and DJ from home, I really enjoy going to see other DJs anyway so it’s been interesting to see that all take off even if it is from home, I did one but my tripod snapped just as I pressed start haha. So when I’ve got a better set up I’ll get back on there again. Just trying to stay productive, learn and take in as much as I can so I can go back into all with some renewed enthusiasm.
Skeme – With most DJ’s going live and streaming to fill the void of playing in clubs, do you think this will ultimately affect the club going experience in the future?
Mr. Thing – I don’t think so, hopefully not anyway! I think it’s been great as people may have found out about a new DJ they didn’t know in a different way to listening to mixes on Mixcloud or other sites. As a lot of people maybe can’t make it to a lot of gigs for whatever reason, and to me the atmosphere at gigs is really something you can’t replicate at all, I’m hopeful that people will hit the clubs pretty hard when this is done!