As the global pandemic continues to take have a devastating impact, we continue to speak to musicians about their experiences dealing with the effects coronavirus this week…
Anything that takes away your ability to earn a living will cut away at your sense of self. I’ve definitely lost a ton of gigs. My father just passed away last month so I already hadn’t worked since mid-February, so not until June or July seems likely — it’s been a rough month. For myself and everyone whose primary income is live music, performance or events, it’s a tough time but an opportunity to pivot. It’s something that had sort of stressed me out since I first heard the virus was in Europe as it seemed like the writing was on the wall that everywhere would be shut down. As an industry, we need to figure out which window is being opened with the closing of this door. Right now, there are millions of people at home looking to be entertained, to escape, to have transcendent and inspiring experiences or to learn. It’s our job to figure out how to provide that and monetize it for the time being.
On Friday, March 20, Repopulate Mars did a free 11-hour live video stream, including a six-hour set from me outside in my backyard in Topanga. We will look at new and cutting edge ways to improve the artistic side of things like streams and performances to make them more immersive and memorable. Obviously, the time at home gives more time to work on music and to prep an album for later this year. I’m sure you will see an avalanche of albums this year. I know a ton of self-employed people in the service and entertainment industry are deeply struggling right now and musicians are no exception, but it’s also a great time for creativity to come shining through in a time of crisis.”
Scott Stone, The Jacks
This pandemic has changed almost every aspect of how to be a band. I think that this will be an incredibly creative time for many artists who will be able to focus solely on writing and producing. Obviously we miss playing live and the feel of a real show, but solving this pandemic is far more important to help protect the safety and well-being of everyone across the world. Until it’s resolved, we plan on doing streaming concerts and connecting with our fans through all social media outlets.
Oliver Lee, Snakehips
We were nearing the end of our North America tour and our shows began to get postponed, and from then on and it became really obvious that we wouldn’t be able to do the last few dates when they were planned. It was tough to have to tell the fans that we weren’t gonna make it, after people had been excited for the shows for so long. There was just a day about a week and a half ago where so many other bands, DJs etc., needed to put out statements about having to reschedule shows and it was whack having to add to all the bad news. Thankfully, all our dates can be rescheduled so in the long run we can still make it out to those shows and finish the tour at some point.
Just being in a job where most of your work involves huge crowds of people and loads of traveling abroad it makes the next few months look a bit confusing. We got home all good after that an i’ve just been posted up at home working on finishing productions and stuff so it’s been a little forced downtime that we’ve got loads of stuff to fill with. I also found an old PlayStation 2 and bought some really old games like Tiger Woods 2004, so I got an exciting few weeks of making beats and playing really really old virtual golf coming up.
Nick Anderson, The Wrecks
I’ve made a stark realization this past week: My day-to-day life changed very little after a government mandated quarantine, and that has to change.
I spend 95 percent of my time in my studio in the backyard of my house in Encino, and the other 5 percent brewing coffee while mentally preparing myself for the next session. It’s been this way for about a year now, and the massive Dropbox folder of MP3s can attest to it. I chalked it up to a good work ethic for awhile, but really it’s just a thing of obsession. There’s no place I’d rather be than in that studio tinkering with virtual instruments and collaborating with artists to expand their vision and sound. But my social life has suffered for it, as well as my mental health. The quarantine has taught me that I need to allow myself to leave the house, pick up a hobby or two, see my friends, get some fresh air, and go into the studio everyday with a fresh head and better perspective. Now I’ll just have to wait three to eight months before I’m actually allowed to do that. I’ll probably forget by then.
Matt Cohen, New Language
What a time to be alive and we hope everyone is hanging in there. Like the rest of you, I’ve been pretty quarantined to my bedroom and also living in my sweats. In the midst of all of this, I have maintained a relatively positive headspace and have selected several creative and business-driven goals to accomplish while in quarantine. Been working on tons of music! I continue to remind myself to practice extra empathy because everyone is reacting and processing the effects of COVID-19 in their own way.
Better yourself. Better your home. Better your processes. Get a dog. I always wondered if life could slow down or press pause. I think and hope (for the negative reasons) that this may be the closest thing we will come to that. Take advantage, in that regard. 2020 seemingly is about making lemonade. Stay positive! Humans have overcome things like this before and will again.
Sebastien Betley, New Language
I miss playing live.
I miss the nerves beforehand, the electric feeling on stage, high fives with the boys backstage afterwards, and sweaty hugs for everyone at merch.
I miss piling into a van with gear stuffed into every crevice. I miss those long-ass drives through the middle of nowhere, getting behind schedule at a rest stop and making up for it with a few speed metal records and a liberal interpretation of the speed “limit”. I even miss load-in.
I think we all miss things about regular life at this point — dinners with friends, going out for drinks, going to the movies, hiking, shopping… whatever it is you like to do, chances are it looks a little different right now. Being a musician without any shows coming up is a major bummer, but we’re all doing our best to stay active, stay productive, and stay sane. I’ve seen a lot of creativity over these past two weeks. Thank god for the internet, right? Twenty years ago, this would have really sucked. Now we’ve got live shows on Instagram, session work via Skype and email, guitar lessons on Zoom. The future is a wild time to be living in, and I’m doing my best to look at this situation as an opportunity to try something new. We’re releasing music, creating content, writing and rehearsing as best we can. Spending time with family is always a good thing, and we’ve all got a chance to make that long-overdue call and catch up with old friends. I don’t miss sitting in traffic at all, and my dog couldn’t be more stoked to have us home. I can’t wait to get back to the real thing, but for now I’m grateful for a little free time.
Ryan Silverberg, The Flux Capacitors
We’re an ‘80s and ‘90s flashback band. We just play the music we love and that people enjoy partying to. We’re not trying to change the world with music — we just like to keep people entertained. This whole COVID-19 thing — just like it did for everybody else — threw a serious wrench into the gears of progress for us. Our entire year-long performance schedule is always as full as it can be. But of course now we’ve had a whole bunch of cancellations and postponements stretching all the way through May — seeping into June — and who knows about the rest of year?
It’s unfortunate because we perform at a lot of high-profile events in the TV and film industries and we had two ginormous engagements for major films coming up in July and August that we no longer know are going to happen or not.
But above everything the cut to our income is as disastrous as it is for everybody else. For the past 7 1/2 years we’ve lived pretty much solely on our band profits. And with that income now gone (temporarily), it has us worried a bit. But we know we’ll be fine. We’re mostly worried about how our friends and fans are getting along through all of this.
The idea to live stream our concerts has of course come up. But we don’t really think it’s the most responsible thing to do. Getting together in a single room and streaming to our audience would be simple — and many bands are doing just that. But we just don’t feel that gathering together is good right now. So we’re looking for a solid way to stream each band member individually from our homes and create an aggregate stream to output. But there are so many technical issues with that idea its unlikely it’ll happen. So chances are we’ll just wait around like everybody else and when all of this is over we’ll be part of some of the biggest post-apocalypse parties and events the world has ever seen.