• Romanie Assez


"My name is Jay AKA Highly Minogue - I'm a DJ and founder of music and arts collective Extended Family.

It's been a funny year. I started Extended Family in February this year after realising that our social circles ran really tight house parties with great vibes and even greater music. I figured that we could bring the same sounds and energies to public venues, so I got some friends together and we gave it a punt. Not even a week had gone by and we'd already lined up three gigs at The Gasometer Hotel and Dr Morse to launch between April/May and were planning club nights for the colder seasons. At the time, we were all hands on decks ready to go. And then of course everything went to shit when corona started ramping up. Next thing we knew, all of our events were cancelled or indefinitely postponed. From a personal perspective, the DJ gigs I got through Muso had to be cancelled as well. I was job-hunting and didn't have any other source of income at the time, so that was my ticket to eating and sleeping gone.

The key thing that turned this whole thing around was to worry about surviving and nothing else. The only thing I could think about was how I was going to keep both myself and Extended Family alive. Extended Family was an events group from day one. But once events were out of the picture, I quickly realised that Extended Family's reason for existing wasn't to put on shows, it was to give myself a reason to exist. When you realise something like that, it's easy to completely disembowel something you had a concrete plan for. So we shifted focus and brainstormed a new strategy for Extended Family to keep marching through COVID's fog of war. So far it's been working! We have a weekly residency in place with Housemates (FB IG @housemates.syn) on SYN (FB IG 90.7FM and more features with other stations on the way. We have Spotify playlists, podcasts in the works, and we're looking to expand into music releases as well. Organising all of this, as well as regularly mixing and digging in my own time, has kept me mentally stimulated. Stocking supermarket shelves at the crack of dawn and walking the dog in the afternoon has been maintaining me physically. That makes up my day-to-day routine at the moment. 

I could be like everyone else and give you tips like stay in touch with your friends and stay busy... and you should do that! But let me get real with you, one musician to another. I think the whole situation could very well get worse from here. The second wave is coming. The recession is coming. Things might not get back to normal for a while. But it's about being able to accept that real possibility and saying to yourself "okay, what do I need to do to survive?" You have to be like water and adapt to whatever form the industry takes to stay in it. Think hard about what the future of music is going to look like and start putting plans in place to thrive in it. There are always ways to succeed and make it work, though they're not always obvious at the time. Times like these are unprecedented, sure. But humanity has a tendency of repeating itself so pay attention to the patterns because they do show up from time to time. For a lot of us, this is our livelihood, so be smart like your life depends on it."

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