In today’s episode (are these episodes? I have no idea) of my ‘Artists in Lockdown’ series, I have a chinwag with iconic Bristol DJ, MrSteveBob, aka Calum MacMillan.
You’ve been doing weekly livestreams throughout lockdown. Why do you think it is important to keep the buzz around the nightlife in Bristol alive?
I think with us running our weekly interactive quiz and DJ sets (every Thursday from 8pm), we’ve been trying to send out the message that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you’ve not been forgotten about.
When lockdown was first thrust upon us, a lot of people, myself included, immediately had connections with friends and our sense of normality taken away from us.
A huge percentage of people we see come through the doors at Pressure come week in week out, so this is our attempt to give them a small trace of regularity. An opportunity to come chat to old friends, new friends and all whilst listening to music they’d be enjoying on a night out.
Do you think that there will be a difference in the crowds you DJ to once lockdown is over? If yes, how will they be different?
This is the scary thing, no one has seen anything like this before, so everything going ahead is just pure guesswork.
As soon as the nightlife industry is allowed to open its doors, I can’t see it being anything like we’ve become accustomed to. As for my role as a DJ, I’m not sure that’s going to be needed (or allowed) for quite some time.
I imagine (and this is pure speculation) venues will have to run at a reduced capacity for the winter months, perhaps only operating a table service or something similar.
Once venues are up and running to a standard we see as normal, there’s a small part of me that worries that crowds will be fearful to interact with each other and be stuck in their own small social bubbles. But then on the flip side to that, I can see people going all out and embracing each other with big open eyes. Many will have been without human contact and will be craving the buzz of meeting new people on a night out.
What other things have you been doing to keep busy throughout lockdown?
Lockdown has been a rollercoaster of productivity and procrastination. On the productive side, I’ve been practising my DJing (something I shamefully rarely do outside of a club environment), trying to improve on my photography skills and set my self the task of cataloguing and organising my music collection properly. Which considering I have over 200,000 music files on my laptop is no mean feat. A small group of pals have also been running a weekly Zoom quiz which has had us making art, films and got the brain ticking.
How has lockdown affected your mental health? How have you been dealing with that?
There have been good days, but also there have been some really dark days. Living alone in a gardenless flat certainly hasn’t helped.
With initial lockdown guidelines of one hour exercise a day, I felt like I was a prisoner in my own home and if I did leave, even for a 20 minute stroll, the guilt was insurmountable. I would avoid eye contact with anyone I saw outside the house, fearing they were judging me for something I had the right to be doing and they were also doing. This would create a huge wave of anxiety anytime I considered leaving my front door. I spent some periods of over 7 days without leaving the house.
Ironically I found the best way to deal with this was to go outside was sunshine and fresh air. Vitamin D is one hell of a drug.
Talking to friends and seeing social media posts from people who felt the same way definitely helped.
Thank you so much, Calum, for taking part in this series!