How A Local DJ Turned COVID-19 into Creative Time

Jos Fagundes reports on how DJ D-ABBA adapted to his industry’s entire shutdown and kept a positive spirit to return despite many new restrictions.

Forgotten times: DJ D-ABBA smiles while everyone at the bar is dancing to his new mix.

With Clubs Closed, Focusing on Music

The bar and club scene around college campuses is usually profitable when school is in session. College kids who are over 21 years old love to go out on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night to de-stress after a long week of school. However, that all changed with the COVID-19 pandemic.

DJs, a staple of the club scene, took a hit as well. People would usually be up on the dance floor while the DJ was performing their set. Now bars have to have arranged seating that usually sit a maximum six to a table and people cannot walk around and talk to or dance with who they want to.

David Abbatangelo, or DJ D-ABBA, is a student at University of Nevada, Reno, who used to perform on a weekly basis at the 1UP Bar and Nightclub in downtown Reno, where he would mainly DJ. He also did bookings and marketing for them on the side. He started this gig in April of 2019.

While 1UP was closed down for months because of the pandemic, Abbatangelo did not stop doing what he loved. He continued to create his mixes for the inevitable return of the nightlife scene but also chose to put his energy into something else related to DJing.

“I mainly just focused on creating music because it’s what I’ve been wanting to spend more time on anyway. So not having to constantly create new mixes each week gave me more time for music production,” Abbatangelo said.

DJ D-ABBA performing on a Thursday night, for College Night, at 1UP.

A Single and a Return to Business, But Not as Usual

He quickly released his first single titled “Dragonfruit” after working on it during the state-wide shutdown.

Now since the bars and clubs have started to open back up, Abbatangelo has started DJing and marketing for 1UP again. There are a lot of differences because of social distancing in the nightclub, but he keeps a positive mind frame.

“Things are much different than before, the main differences are tables being set up with no open dance floor…. There are many more small differences but those are the main ones, ” Abbatangelo said.

With businesses starting to open back up, DJs are also starting to get their jobs back. Going to the bars and clubs are an experience again for young people once they are allowed to actually go. Everyone has had to deal with the rules and regulations of the COVID-19 pandemic and people are working through it to one day to get back to the good ‘ole days.

Reporting by Jos Fagundes for the Reynolds Sandbox

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Reynolds Sandbox

Reynolds Sandbox

Showcasing innovative and engaging multimedia storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab in Reno.