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…
Zambricki Li, Magic Giant
Magic Giant got home to Los Angeles from a two month tour on March 7 and it was like being dropped back into a different city. The first couple of days we were all laying low anyway, with life-hangovers from playing 60+ shows. We started listening to Sam Harris’ podcast Making Sense where he went into the concept of social distancing early on so we just rolled our tour recovery into harboring in place. On March 17, I did a stealth mission to our recording studio in Silver Lake and pulled microphones, recording equipment, instruments, all the wires: the basic stuff so we could write and make records from home. Even looking back Shakepspeare wrote King Lear during the Spanish Flu. Some people are really struggling out there, so if we can do our job and create art in this time it’s probably the best use of it.
We were supposed to go back out on tour in April, supporting our new single “Disaster Party” which we originally wrote about how the wildfires in Los Angeles brought neighborhoods together in unexpected ways. Now we’re seeing what we can do from here to help out in small ways from home.
Magic Giant threw an Instagram festival called “Live from Quarantine” on our Instagram page last Sunday supporting MusiCares, which helps out the road crews and different people in all aspects of the music industry get insurance and help get their bills paid.
Dylan Slocum, Spanish Love Songs
Our biggest thing right now is keeping our sanity in the midst of the unknown. Given how usual touring/routing works, we both have to prepare for the best (such as rescheduling shows for July), while also preparing for the worst (that this is the new norm for the next 12-18 months). That’s led to us reevaluating what value our band has in the world, and how we might best serve our fans if we can’t physically connect with them. We’re trying to approach it as a way to get creative, as opposed to feeling down on ourselves, since it’s disingenuous to complain as the world is falling apart.
And we know to be grateful we have the band and our (small) platform to fall back on. I’m honestly more worried for our friends who survive crewing for different bands. For agents and small promoters. For venue staff. There are people who work far harder than we do to keep live music running, and they’re suddenly out of work for the foreseeable future. I think the most important thing we can do is try to call attention to everyone who’s going to be hurting because of this.
And at the end of the day, we’ve just been asking everyone to be kind. The world just permanently changed in the course of a few weeks. That’s stressful as hell. So just be kind.
I was on a flight to the USA about to begin a tour when I discovered that the USA had closed entry from Europe to the United States. I had a feeling things were deteriorating quickly on a global scale but that was certainly a moment I won’t forget anytime soon.
A festival I was set to perform at in Miami (Ultra Music) had cancelled only days before and Coachella was quickly postponed until October. Sure enough, in the coming days legislation was passed limiting public gatherings and enforce social distancing across the United States. It seemed like the world fell apart in the space of a week or so.
My manager and then I sat in a hotel room in L.A., as we watched the better part of our upcoming year’s shows disappear with every phone call. My social media messages were filled with ticket holders begging for us not to postpone, it was gut-wrenching reading about people who had planned trips to fly across the country to come to the shows… but it would been harder knowing that we were a part of arranging gatherings that increased the likelihood of people getting sick.
Mark Richards, Solardo
For us there has been a huge transformation in our daily lives. There is the obvious outcome that all of our shows have been postponed for the foreseeable, so instead of sitting in airports traveling from one place to the next, we’re not traveling anywhere which feels odd. But we’re not complaining — this situation just allows you to be creative in so many other ways whilst getting things done you don’t normally get to do. I’ve set up a studio at home where I’m working on music continuously which feels amazing. Not touring as well means we’re getting decent sleep too, so I’m really focused on this. We’ve also been looking at ways to set up live broadcasts from home, just to keep people entertained, spirits high and to remind people that better times are coming. We did one on Saturday which had over 250k views and had a lot of positive feedback so we’re looking at expanding and doing some more.
We’ve also got young families, so spending time with them is class as again with the touring aspect, it’s very difficult to have a concentrated block of time to do this usually. I currently live just outside Manchester, in a quieter area where it’s mostly families and the older generation. We’ve been going round posting letters in people’s letterboxes just asking them if they need a hand with anything, whether that be a prescription, groceries, etc. I think it’s really important if you’re able, to help out those who aren’t, so I’ve been leaving my number at all my neighbors just in case. Although I have been getting some funny looks walking up people’s drives, I think they think I might be a burglar. As I don’t really fit the general demographic I stick out like a sore thumb. But really, we just want to help.
I, like all my peers in the music industry, am currently out of touring work. It’s hard to see all my friends and all the other people in our industry suddenly out of work and struggling. My entire team is out of work (agents, management, photographers, etc). I hope they can get relief soon. The biggest thing that has stood out for me personally has been going from non-stop tour life with 3-4 shows a week to the complete opposite within days. I feed off the energy of people day in and day out so not having that leaves me feeling empty. One silver lining is it has allowed me to just be present. I am reading again and cooking and using this time to try and learn something new every couple of days. Hopefully lots of good music will come from this.