COVID-19 has swept the nation, hospitalizing thousands and forcing the rest of the population to isolate with many states issuing stay-at-home orders. Bars and restaurants were shut down, along with any public gatherings of any sort. It certainly seemed like the end of the nightlife for performers and DJ’s across the nation, until live-streaming came into play. With everyone sitting at home on their computers or connecting to the internet, creators such as musicians, performers and DJs have found success live-streaming online shows to their fans and anyone else who wants to listen.
DJs in the Wisconsin area have taken advantage of streaming platforms on social media by setting up spaces in their own homes to host shows. Nolan Hall, who goes by the stage name NOLEPHANT, is a University of Wisconsin–Stout alumnus that works his days as a product engineer at an automotive company and produces house music at night. Hall has already produced a two track EP that he released on April 4th and played it during his “virtual release party” event that he hosted online from his house. “For me, I think number one is sound quality.” Hall said about hosting a good livestream. “Then, some sort of visual interest is always helpful, whether that is lights, a cool background, etc. Finally, interaction with the audience is key as well, like replying to people’s comments by using a microphone or being able to type back.”
Jacob Doherty, also known as Staring Contest, is a UW-Stout alumnus who graduated with a degree in Professional Communications & Emerging Media. He not only DJs in his spare time but also helps run events and writes blog articles for SO CALLED PRODUCTIONS, a musician-based organizational hub that’s been helping local artists in the Menomonie area get their start since 2019. Doherty lives with Hall and the two have hosted a few livestream music events via Twitch, Facebook and Instagram. When asked about what he thought was important during a livestream, Doherty said, “Generally speaking, have fun with it! Creating a fun space to film yourself playing music in or wearing fun outfits and acting a fool on the internet is all part of the fun in getting people to watch you and interact more!”
Brandon Berg, UW-Stout alumnus and one of the founding members of SO CALLED PRODUCTIONS along with Dillon Carlson, said “We were throwing our shows at The Abbey for more than a year when COVID came crashing down and put a stop to our live events. The live-streaming aspect has really been an inspiring movement from many DJs and electronic artists, including plenty of local Menomonie artists.” Berg has yet to do a livestream, but plans on hosting one soon.
Many other artists have dubbed live-streaming as the next logical step for producing content. Artists such as Menomonie artists Brogo, Scinny, and Avoidance and Minneapolis artist Vid Sicious have begun spreading their musical talents across the internet using livestream. They create these livestreams for everyone, and as Berg puts it, “DJs and live performing artists are really struggling right now. This is really what brings us joy in the world and it’s how we bring joy to our friends. None of us are doing this for a living, we perform because we love to share, and right now I think I we all need a little extra joy.”