Dancing In Quarantine: How Music Is Facilitating Human Connection

A look at music's place in a pandemic.
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MODE Night Club

MODE Night Club

In a world where it is now easy to forget to get dressed and where going out seems like a distant past, it may seem slightly absurd to think about club music.

There are fewer more inappropriate places to be right now than a sweaty, crowded dancefloor. The world over, bars, clubs and venues are closed, and rightly so. Yet there are not many forms music so traditionally reliant on unity, on packed spaces, on people getting out than dance music. In this new and hopefully short-lived reality of separation, what becomes of it?

Immeasurable, almost unfathomable consequences are unraveling from the spread of COVID-19. Nothing in living memory has been so all-encompassing and far-reaching. In some ways it feels inappropriate to write about music. Life for the most fortunate, is on pause. For many, it has changed irretrievably, and for some it has sadly been lost. 

Notions of art, music, recreation can understandably appear meaningless before the enormity of it all. But they have always been tools of social good.

Boiler Room's “Streaming from Isolation” is a good example. The transmission is raising funds for the Global Foodbanking Network, an organization which seeks to tackle global hunger and reduce food waste. This crisis has cast a bright light onto how many people in the developed world alone live in such close proximity to poverty. In a situation where nobody should be leaving their homes, donations are one of the few ways one can help.

The platform is doing the right thing steering its two million YouTube subscribers towards a worthy cause. The series itself already seen the likes of Four Tet, DJ EZ, Mall Grab and Palms Trax take to the decks in their respective homes.

The world over, people are responding creatively to this pandemic. It has laid bare the fragility of so many industries and the livelihoods of those working within them. There are countless examples of people trying to recreate social space virtually, to maintain connections and some sense of normality.

These responses, these adaptations to crisis have greater implications. Those lucky enough not to experience the physical symptoms of this illness are not exempt from the fear, the anxiety, the frustration and the loneliness that lockdown will bring. Boiler Room, along with so many other mediums and artists, has found a way of providing some respite to isolation.

DJ EZ completed a 24-hour for the series in solidarity with key workers on the frontline of the fight against Coronavirus. HAAi proudly sports an NHS T-shirt for hers, encouraging people to stay indoors. Artists’ Instagram stories fill up with clips of people dancing in kitchens, balconies, dining rooms, with dogs, babies and cats. These moments capture a sense of togetherness it easy to lose sight of in trying times.

The broadcast of music like this invites us to take a dip into memories of a perfectly mixed track as the sun sets at a festival. It invites you to fix yourself a drink and dance around your living room while you video call your mates. It reminds us this is all temporary. It also affords you some perspective. Yes, your plans have been cancelled, you’re cooped up, but so is everybody else. Even your favorite DJ. 

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