ROX Radio


Saturday, June 6, 2020

Music In Lockdown: ROX investigates the impact on bands around the world

COVID19 and the almost worldwide lockdown has affected everyone. Young and old. We're sure the big name bands will cope fine during and after the lockdown. But what about the less famous? How are they coping and what are their plans? ROX investigates.

We asked some bands from different countries about COVID19 and how it has affected them. Here are some of the responses we received, uncensored and un-edited. This IS how they feel about lockdown and their future prospects....

Secrets of Mariana (from Midlands, UK)

We don’t think the lockdown has come at a good time for anyone really, especially those who work and earn a living from the live music industry. We really feel for the venues, sound engineers, light techs, bands and crew who are struggling right now as so many tours have had to be cancelled/rescheduled. 

We’ve have gigs cancelled through May that we were excited to be performing at. Luckily, most of them have been rescheduled for next year but some have been cancelled all together. We’ve also got gigs booked from June to the end of the year that at this point we don’t know if they’re going to happen or not so it’s a scary time for venues and a situation that could potentially change the future of how we experience live events.

For us personally, we’re in the middle of writing EP number 3. We were hoping to be in the studio recording around now and planning to release new music towards the end of this year so it’s really knocked those plans back. We’re still writing individually at home but we’re dying to get back to our lock up room to keep writing together as that’s how we feel we work best.

It’s also challenging us to think outside of the box in terms of our social media. It’s a catch 22 situation between wanting to stay in touch with our followers and keeping the content relevant. When we have no new music to release and potentially no gigs for the rest of the year that becomes really hard as essentially that’s our core content. We also can’t live stream any gigs from home until the restrictions get lifted as we’re all under different roofs. 

Although our social media content isn’t as busy as it was before lockdown we’re still busy behind the scenes. We’re video calling each other for catch ups and writing sessions every week or so and we’re thinking ahead by booking gigs and posting about events we’ve got planned for 2021. We’re also planning on doing a facebook live stream, which will be a Q and A / updates session on Sunday 31st May at 6:30pm.

All of us are taking this time to listen to new music and up skill in terms of our own instruments, learning new instruments, learning music theory (or brushing up on it) so there are definitely positives to the lockdown. We’re definitely going to be doing some long practise sessions when all this is over as we’re all missing playing music together! Plus with all these new ideas and influences we have, the new EP will probably have some new songs we never thought we’d write. Every cloud aye! 

Hawklords (from UK)

Well, like a whole slew of bands of all sizes, our "Spring TIME" tour was inevitably cancelled and rescheduled for October/November. But with the ban on large crowd gatherings, that too is looking more wishful than hopeful. Still, fingers crossed.
A full spring TIME tour is about to be announced for 2021 and hopefully it will be the breath of fresh air that everyone needs currently.

In the meantime on the 29th of May, the band release “ALIVE” which is whole CD of their live show recorded at “The Live Rooms” in Chester in 2019. 
It features:
Ex Hawkwind Jerry Richards (Guitar and vocals), 
Ex Hawkwind Dead Fred (Keyboards, sound effects and vocals) 
Dave Pearce (Drums) 
Tom Ashurst (Bass and vocals)
As well as featuring the bands very special guest, the legendary "Thunder Rider" and co-founder of Hawkwind, Mr Nik Turner (Sax and vocals).

As the March man for the band at live concerts, I am naturally biased about the album and would be really pushing it at the shows, sadly that hasn’t happened “Curse you Covid 19” However, I can honestly say, that as a fan of space rock, I truly do love this live album. It really does rock and hits the spot perfectly! 
To me, most importantly, It doesn’t sound like a sanitized live recording in anyway, it just rocks!

In the meantime, the band members are working on the new studio album “Time” so the pandemic hasn’t stopped everything. Life and the band go on.

Times are hard for everyone right now including the band, but the bands message of “Keep safe, keep cool and keep the faith” resonates loud and strong!

Alex from Revoltons (from Italy)

Well this lockdown and Covid-19 was something unaspected and never seen for everyone!
Both as a musician and human being I had 2 choices: or to be sad and depressed for this horrible situation or to take the chance! I was lucky not to be infected, so I invested on myself and on my music, and with great results!
What I hope for the future is that human beings will become more 'brothers' and to hit the stage stronger than ever!

Wounded Spirit (from Midlands UK)

As a band corona-virus as had a massive impact on us in so many different ways, to have a better understanding I may need to go back a few years to get a better picture,

We recorded our first album through crowdfunding, we did not achieve the sales we needed so we paid for the rest of the album ourselves, the difficulty was that everyone had so may other commitments due to family work etc that playing live which would have brought us in some revenue did not happen, to promote FOREVER young we only played about 15gigs which is not enough, Terry, Steve and Deb decided it was best to leave the band due to the commitment needed, me and Elton where still positive that we had something to offer and had ideas for new songs etc, this was the end of 2018, we started to recruit new members but struggled with peoples perception of being in a band eg only want to play covers, how much will I earn mentality, at the start off 2019 we where nominated for a number of awards at the 1st BlackCountry Music Awards and ultimately won best album.

We hoped this would give us a push to find new members, we did but over the months there commitment dd not match there words, so still only me and Elton a drummer and a singer but we had songs so we gambled and recorded in Cornwall Taking back control which won us new fans on social media but still we have no band, come October 2019 we finally start getting a band together and come December we have a full line up, we start to rehearse and we get a few songs under our belts, by this time me and Elton have written the new album through demos on Logic Pro, we had already planned in recording for the start of 2020 and started pre-order sales, our plan was record the album in Jan/Feb rehearse in our new lock up in March, April and most of May ready to promote the album by end of May onwards, we had a couple of festivals, Hmv in store appearance booked, local radio plus gigs around the country planned, the album was only 50% paid for so the gigs where the key as we new we could sell and average of 5 albums per gig plus other merch, we believed by end of 2020 we would have paid off the album, unfortunately corona virus came along, we are grateful we are fit and well So we  are not going to complain because health is more important than money but if we where a business then we are officially bankrupt lol

This moment in time , we digitally released the album April 22nd 2020, we had it was complete so we hope we can get funds through downloads, mastered by Pete Maher who masters songs for  U2 and The Rolling Stones, we pushed the boat out on the 2nd album knowing we would be able to promote so much more than the 1st album. Thats not worked out at the moment.

We are currently doing a band meeting once a week through zoom, we are pushing social media the best we can, I am currently doing video production course/photoshop all songs  will have videos and lyric videos to help with our identity and reaching more people and I recently did the 2 videos for Playcold, our plan is now 2021, we have to stay positive our sound is changing and if u listen to u me and the ocean, in the moment and love emotion devotion we are moving in a new direction, more electronic/indie. We have about 5 new demos that we would like to work on by December 2020 with the full band.

Break Me Down (from Milan, Italy)

Our country was the second place after China that was hit by Covid19. 
We passed the last two months at home because the lockdown. 
We know this is for our own safety but now we have to think to the consequences and they are dramatic!

All shows cancelled, locals and pubs closed.
Nobody could imagine something like this. 
We had to keep the music alive, so we tried to make some videos of our songs in acoustic version and some live chat on Instagram with other bands. Here the underground scene is full of incredible bands, but we are also friends and we passed through this together. With the social network’s help we can.
Separates but close at the same time.
We did it for us and for the all the people who had to stay home.
We hope to come back to our life soon because we miss friends, locals and of course, we miss the stage.

Stu Bailey, guitarist in White Raven Down. (Essex UK)

The Corona Virus outbreak has been a very testing time for musicians... 
As I’m sure you are aware, song streaming brings in very little income for an emerging touring band when the sales of merchandise and physical media are where the majority of any profits are generated with the exclusion of performance fees. 
We, in a sad way, are lucky that we do not rely on our musical income to support ourselves and our families. 
But let’s not dwell too much on that negativity for now... 
Lockdown to begin with was an opportunity for White Raven Down to catch our breath as we have been playing shows relentlessly up and down the country since our debut EP was released in June 2018. Rest has been long overdue and for a group of workaholics was perhaps the only way to make us sit still. During this time we have had the opportunity to spend quality time with our families. On a personal note I in particular am grateful for this rest as my wife gave birth to our first child in December 2019 and this time at home has been a golden opportunity to bond with our little one whilst we adjust our lives... If I was at work I would never have had this time to help my wife and process this adjustment to our lives the way we have... 

For the band this time has been well used finishing off the final pieces to our debut album. The album was scheduled for a late summer 2020 release. Unfortunately though our producer has been affected by Covid 19 and we send our condolences for his loss. As to when work can resume on our album we do not know for now. 
We have been appearing on a lot of radio shows with previously recorded songs but have been unable to participate in the live streaming performances that have been taking place across social media. Tom (drums) and myself (guitar) are the only guys within the band that have the correct equipment to record themselves at home of any quality. Previously we always recorded demos by getting Will (vocals) and Luke (bass) round my house. We did try real-time jamming sites but the lag is as too much to deal with. 
So here we are an emerging band unable to musically connect with one another. This is so disappointing to us as we would have liked to have been performing and connecting with our fans in this time. However, we have been using these times positively as we are now several songs into writing album number 2... so every cloud has a silver lining... 

Our vocalist Will has been working throughout this entire pandemic as he is a key worker with Luke and myself being drafted back into work early within the Construction Industry after an early furlough period. Tom was late to the furlough party but is still there at the time of writing this... 

We had been very lucky this year as the consistent touring of 2019 enabled us to appear on the bills of a number of festivals in 2020. Although these festivals have either been delayed or cancelled.
Dementia Aware Fest London and Manchester have rolled us onto their rescheduled dates as has SOS Festival, Forged in Fire Festival, Cleethorpes Rocks and our own labels WDFD Turn It Up Festival. 
Hopefully our appearances at Cornwall Rocks Festival and Giants Of Rock, Minehead will be able to happen unhampered... 

A lot of our social media posts are reflective of past success or hopefully uplifting as we look forward to the events we have planned ahead. Of course some of these still may not go ahead as originally planned, but I feel it is important for both the rock going public and touring artists to focus on something positive and become wrapped up in the anticipation.. as that is part of the fun of being a rock fan. 

How does the future of touring bands look right now? 
I would like to think that we would see more younger people at shows. Months of isolation and watching/listening to music on mobiles and tablets might make the younger audience want to experience something more... To crave human interaction with people and an audience which I think has been missing in recent years.. 
I think there will be options once a band is allowed to get into a room together. Right now we can’t even rehearse in a room. I saw in Denmark that an outdoor performance being trialled with cars parked in front of a stage with the radios of the cars tuned into a broadcasting frequency transmitted from the sound desk of the stage... this could be a way of moving forward post lockdown. Would it be as absorbing as a sweaty rock show? Of course not, but it would be progress and a step closer to what we all want... and I believe that we all want to feel safe at a hot and sweaty rock show... 

To all music fans, everywhere please stay safe and we look forward to seeing you post lockdown in whatever form we are able to interact.

Audio comments from Assassin (Germany)

Audio comments from Total Recall (Milan, Italy)

Obviously this is just a tiny sampling of bands out there. Everyone has their own stories to tell, their issues and their own hopes for the future. From the comments here, bands are determined to fight on and will do all they can to bring live music back to their fans ASAP. We can't wait!

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