DJ Guy Gerber On Making New Music & Live-Streaming Sets During The Pandemic

"People are very eager to dance, but I have a feeling that it’s better to wait until there is a final vaccine rather than have weird parties where people cannot be next to each other."
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Guy Gerber  (3)

We’ve been talking to the Maxim faithful — captains of industry, pro athletes and Olympians, actors and creatives, models and influencers, etc. — in order to understand how they’re learning to cope with this whole Stay At Home reality we’re all living in. Next up is Israeli-born producer and DJ Guy Gerber, who has spent his quarantine in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he relocated late last year. 

Ordinarily at this time his globetrotting Rumors parties would be in full swing — he was already supposed to have held events in LA and London, as well as kicking off residencies in Ibiza and Mykonos (and for those in the know, hosted his now infamous annual Coachella VIP after-party). 

As it is, the revered underground producer and sometime Diddy collaborator is making the best of it, like we all are. For a DJ who averages 150-plus shows a year this is the first time in a decade Gerber’s been able to hit pause. So while we’re all eager to get back to normal and dance again, perhaps this break gives Gerber a chance to produce a few more killer cuts to add to his record bag. In fact, he very well may have turned in one of our summer anthem's with his recent re-work of Desire's 2009 hit, "Don't Call."

So how have the whole isolation measures changed your daily music regimen?

Guy Gerber  (1)

To be honest I was quite eager to get a break from traveling so much. I prefer to work in the studio, but I often can’t do it for long since I’m traveling so much. Now I spend more time in the studio and can be much more relaxed; my life is much more normal now. I go down with my dogs every night. I have to admit that this lifestyle has been a blessing for me.

What are you doing to inspire creativity?

Guy Gerber  (4)

Being in love inspires my creativity and now having a normal life and routine. My life has been so chaotic, this time is actually giving me a lot of focus. For someone like me, it’s been rock and roll and rock and roll and now all the sudden I have a normal life. I get to experience a lot of things that really touch me, the simple things like I mentioned before: going down to the beach with the dogs, cooking, staying at home. I don’t know, it’s like the normality is very different for me — it’s very inspiring.

What about the live event space. How do you think it will be affected? 

Guy Gerber  (2)

It is becoming very tricky. For instance I just finished a few club records, but I feel like it’s not the right moment to release this music. It cannot be promoted in clubs and people can’t play it. So I decided I’ll release things that are more emotional — I feel that makes more sense.

A lot of the music industry is just focused on social media and my thoughts about it are mixed. Right now, it’s good for me to take a break from touring and from being in the public eye. A lot of my peers were needing the attention so people are posting more and doing live streams. I personally think that seeing a DJ sitting in a room and playing music is not the most interesting thing. I only did one and I think that’s enough, the reaction was great and I felt great about it.

The current situation leaves people with a lot of time to work on music, which is for the best. I think this is a very humbling moment for the music industry. A lot of people were getting a lot of attention and then all the sudden they’re at home and not getting anything, you’re not a star anymore. I think it is a humbling experience that we’ll all benefit from later.

Can you share some thoughts on how you see this pandemic affecting the live event space?

Guy Gerber  (5)

People are very eager to dance, but I have a feeling that it’s better to wait until there is a final vaccine rather than have weird parties where people cannot be next to each other. Business-wise, it’s definitely going to be a challenging situation. I think that prices will go down and maybe it's a good time for local DJ’s to shine because clubs will not be able to get international DJs because they just can’t afford them, which is good for local DJs.

On a personal level, for me, I am being creative and I am working on a lot more music. More music making and less bullshit is not a bad thing. Regarding live shows, for most bands if you see them once then that’s it. If they play live online you can just watch them again the next week. So maybe it’s better to wait to perform live again. I have been thinking about this a lot and, to be honest, nobody knows what is going to happen.

Despite the challenges, what are some positives you are gleaning from this period?

The positive thing is that you actually get a break from life’s race. Everyone is stuck at home and you can use this time for self-observation and exploration. It’s a humbling period and for an artist this break from my usual surreal and chaotic reality is fueling my ideas in my studio.

What's your favorite memory of this long quarantined time?

I was personally enjoying the luxury of my private time at home, but a lot of people asked me to do a live stream. That was difficult for me because I live in Brazil and also because I didn’t feel that I wanted to bring thousands of people into my living room and just have them stare at me for an hour. In the end I decided to do it and the reaction was amazing — I felt like I was bringing some happiness to so many people around the world that shared their videos with me. Some were in the shower, some were in the garden, some were working out, some were with their kids, some were cooking lunch and some were just drinking and dancing alone. It felt real and it filled me with joy.