Days of Rona: Erik Olson of Lord Dying

Posted in Features on April 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

erik olson

Days of Rona: Erik Olson of Lord Dying (Portland, Oregon)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

We were about half through a tour with Black Label Society and Obituary before it got cancelled. We were in Michigan when we found out and had to drive across the country directly back to Portland. Luckily the tour has been rescheduled for August presuming everything will be back to normal by then. We have all had the flu at some point during that tour and I think Chris is still sick. We hope it wasn’t the Covid-19 but don’t know for sure.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

When we got back all the bars and restaurants were closed and they were encouraging people to stay home. The following Monday it became a rule. Only essential employees have work and everyone else is supposed to stay home in the hopes to flatten the curve and stop the spread of the virus.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

For the most part everyone in Portland has been obeying the rules and luckily we don’t have a very high number of cases. Especially compared to Washington and California. It’s been pretty devastating to touring musicians and everyone else that works in the music industry. Who knows what things will be like when things start to get back too “normal.”

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

Luckily we made it home in one piece and the tour has been rescheduled. Our fans are amazing, most of our leftover merch was bought by our fans online before we even made it back to Portland.

https://www.facebook.com/LordDying/
http://instagram.com/lorddying
http://lorddying.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/eOneHeavy

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Days of Rona: Nighthawk of Heavy Temple

Posted in Features on April 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

heavy temple nighthawk

Days of Rona: High Priestess Nighthawk of Heavy Temple (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Everyone is in good health. Two of us still have to go to work, which is both a curse and a blessing. Most of our spring shows and tours have been postponed so we’re just kind of in a holding pattern. We planned to release the new album in spring or summer, but it’s looking like that might not happen as well. We haven’t had practice in about a month but have been trying to work on writing and recording remotely. Two of us live together and we have a recording studio in the basement, so there are some options. I think it’s really just starting to set in that we had a lot of big plans for this year, as did a lot of other bands, and while we can still make music it’s just not the same. Nothing is right now.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

We’re in Philly and currently it’s just stay at home and don’t go out unless you need to, isolate yourself if you’re sick, etc. Most people seem to be abiding by those rules. The lack of overall leadership and direction, however, seems to only be prolonging the societal effects of this thing, which is frustrating.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

While I know it’s hard for bands who can’t play, and especially those whose main source of income is playing shows, I’ve seen a lot of bands get creative as far as maintaining their relationships with one another and their fans. Live streams, play-throughs, merch specials, releasing new music even. Personally, I’ve seen a lot of people posting pictures of the great food they’re making at home, and the Instagram challenges have been fun. Wine chugging, write a riff, see a cat share a cat. It’s inspiring to see people trying to keep each other’s spirits up.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

While we’re really bummed that we can’t be out there doing what we love, we do have a few tricks up our sleeves. We’re expecting to hear a lot of new music from everyone once we all come out on the other side of this thing. Everything moves so fast that it’s kind of a shock to be slowed down by circumstances beyond your control. On a personal note, I think everyone is anxious and frustrated, and frankly scared about what the future will hold, myself included. But throughout all of that I’ve seen small acts of kindness and larger acts of solidarity that I hope will continue to prevail. The ball is entirely in our court, and I think we’re being forced to see that now. We can demand things, we can act, we can be on the same team. In the end, whatever goes down, Heavy Temple can’t fucking wait to shred again.

https://www.facebook.com/HeavyTemple/
https://www.instagram.com/heavytemple
https://heavytemple.bandcamp.com

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Days of Rona: Andrew Field of APF Records

Posted in Features on April 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

andrew field apf records

Days of Rona: Andrew Field of APF Records (Manchester, UK)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a label? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

As the owner of a small label which is largely dependent on sales of LPs and CDs, COVID-19 has presented a few challenges. First of all, there’s the fact my next big release (Desert Storm’s Omens album on 1st May) is being manufactured right now and I don’t know whether I’ll get the stock in time. Then there’s the fact our distributor has shut their offices, and online retailers like Amazon aren’t taking receipt of-third party items at the moment. Plus, with lots of people so sadly losing their jobs or being furloughed at present LPs are becoming an item many people don’t need or can’t afford just now.

Then there’s the daily question about whether or not we should still be shipping LPs, which involves a trip to the Post Office. How I’ve handed that thus far is by only going to mail records out when I have to go food shopping, as the Post Office is next to the supermarket. But I can see a time real soon where that won’t be an appropriate or safe thing to do.

A lot of our album sales come from APF’s 26 bands playing gigs. None of them are playing live at the moment, so that income stream has gone. Many people think a record label can survive on streaming income, but the reality is that we get no income from Bandcamp streams and just 0.004p per track play from Spotify.

On the upside, I’ve suddenly got lots of time to make plans for the future. Usually it’s seat of your pants running APF. This amount of free time is quite useful.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

I live in Manchester, England where we are in a semi-lockdown. We haven’t got anywhere near the peak infection period yet so I anticipate that lockdown becoming more robust over the next week or so.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

I like to accentuate the positives rather than focus too much on the negatives. It’s been great watching bands create original content online, with the recent Kurokuma / Friendship live stream on YouTube being a fine example. And people are rediscovering their record collections and seeking out new tunes to fill their time.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

I’m staying indoors unless I have to go buy food. And if you find music helps you through these difficult times, APF has got your back.

https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

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Days of Rona: Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment

Posted in Features on April 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

christian peters samsara blues experiment (Photo by Srta Castro)

Days of Rona: Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment (Berlin, Germany)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Well of course everyone has his own way of dealing with this individually. It’s a very unique and weird situation in recent history and there’s a lot one may worry about these days, especially when you’re with kids and may get into job troubles and such. Of course, like most other bands we have to work in other jobs besides, more or less… So as a band we have agreed on not rehearsing anymore, already before it became a rule to not meet more than one person at once here in Germany.

It appears we seem to be more cautious than others there… but it seemed wise to step back a while, and also get informed. Which is still the main problem, I don’t know if everybody really is informed enough. There’s seems to be a lot of panicking… But back to the band, we are in preparation of the fifth album, have studio time booked, tours planned, etc., and all is very uncertain now.

Even tours scheduled for this coming Summer may be affected, because no one can tell anything right now, which is a very unpleasant situation, speaking in plain terms… But the health thing in general, let’s put it like this; just I for myself probably have been in much worse situations throughout the last two years… all this is mostly about protecting elder folks, I get that…

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Well like I mentioned before, it’s not allowed to meet more than one other person when you’re outside. Some people still don’t get it, while others exaggerate in other forms which leads to quite a few bizarre situations in daily life. Since I am kind of a loner naturally for me all that’s not such a big deal, but I see that some people may have a complete new experience there.

Also, most of the stores are closed, which again seems a bit “funny” because just as one example there’s a lot of small groceries or convenience stores here where you hardly see more than two or three customers at once even on a regular day and all these small stores have had to close (and face serious financial trouble) while a lot of anxious peeps crowd that one supermarket in your neighborhood in quest of the holy toilet paper roll (exaggerated, but really… what’s the thing about that?).

Ahm, what can I say, it’s just a bit strange outside… you’re allowed to take walks, alone or with very close family members, and then you see all these “ninjas.” Dude… it’s weird.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

Of course, it’s inevitable right? Not many people know that besides being a musician, having my own label and working for other labels, occasionally I also work in other parts of the music biz (yeah, the media) where you saw bands cancelling tours very early on, when it still seemed just a bit hyper-cautious,… and then this turned into a kind of snowball… To this day, I still haven’t seen or heard of anyone’s health being that roughly affected by the virus itself, but many are facing severe financial damage!

And that is a bit crazy to me. Well yes, you need to have a back-up, always. That may be something a lot of people may learn from this, and it’s probably easy to say for myself because I’m kinda modest and never had a lot of money to spend nor saw the bigger use in hoarding stuff etc, but… you know, also a lot of the live venues in Berlin seem to face bankruptcy (!!), after only a few weeks of being shut down (!!), and that’s sheer madness somehow…

I don’t know man, I really don’t know what to think. The whole world is freaking out because of this virus… btw, I saw a nice video of that Sadhguru-dude playing a new version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound Of Silence,” maybe you can add that below, just so that some people may have a laugh…

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

First of all, relax. Personally I’m hoping for a few good side effects that may, or may not, evolve from this. Our commonly known types of capitalism have to end sooner or later (yeah peace out bruh eh).

Maybe some peoples are becoming more conscious, more self-centered and balanced, yet prepared for things like that… coming out of the blue and throwing everybody’s lives upside-down. Personally I have just overcome a whole bunch of “situations” and crises that all seemed worse than all that still. So maybe that’s why I can sit here and still be relaxed.

Well, I don’t know if I really am in any position to give advice but… relax, and also try go inside yourselves (it’s really a good time for introspection, I think) and think about what is life, what is important, how important is love, self-love and self-affirmation in the first place, and how small is a fuckin’ virus and how small-minded are those people hoarding toilet paper… laugh a lot, that’s also a good medicine.

Well, I hope you have someone who makes you laugh, but then there’s a lot of good old movies to watch too… ah, I don’t know.

https://www.facebook.com/suryakrispeters/
https://suryakrispeters.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/samsarabluesexperiment/
http://sbe-official.tumblr.com/
http://instagram.com/samsarabluesexperiment”
https://samsarabluesexperiment.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/electricmagicrecords/
https://electricmagicrecords.bandcamp.com/

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Days of Rona: Erik Conn of Tia Carrera

Posted in Features on April 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

erik conn tia carrera (Photo by Howard Dvorsky)

Days of Rona: Erik Conn of Tia Carrera (Austin, Texas)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Like everyone else, just trying to stay put, stay healthy, stay informed. Go towards the facts and helpful info, vs. hoarding shit tickets and hysteria.

Everything from work to gigs, to booking, to hangin’ out with friends is just put on hold.

Far as I know this second, everyone I know is holding up well, healthy and sound. Albeit a little stir-crazy… suffering from the early signs of cabin fever. I most certainly am.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Here in Austin, Texas, we’re like most folks abroad, under a stay at home ordinance/ practicing social distancing, etc. By law, no gathering of more than a few people, six feet apart, etc. All bars/restaurants are closed. Only supposed to be out and about for necessities.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

This virus has effectively shut down everything that I’m a part of personally.

As a musician, teacher thereof and technician, (tuning drums, etc.) I’ve lost a sizable chunk of money with canceled gigs both performance-wise and tech work (tuning backline drums, etc.). I’ve also had to finally (after 10 years) give up a lock-out rehearsal studio that I shared with The Well and another local band called The Reeks. Nobody’s able to work, much less pay rent for something we can’t currently access. Fuckin’ major bummer. With SXSW being cancelled, all of those shows alongside all other regular local gigs, and everything in the foreseeable future, the entire music community has been shut down.

For Tia Carrera specifically, we have had several shows cancelled, unfortunately all of which were high-profile with touring bands. Shit can’t be helped though, we understand.

Our current concern is how this will effect our late-summer plans to tour Europe. A long anticipated adventure likely to be postponed. We’ll see.

The flipside to this crazy virus jive is that there’s been lots if creative energy flowing, not just for the music but most any creative outlet. Regarding the tunes, lots of musicians here and abroad have been live-streaming porch jams, or living room shows, etc. That’s all really cool.

As for us? No. I think we’re all of the mind that we need not be in any enclosed space together for a while.

Personally, I miss playing my drums like I’m going through a rough withdrawal. I live in an apartment and have settled for dusting off the rust on the guitar. Relearning lots of tunes I forgot over the years, but yeah no, I’m a fuckin’ drummer. I miss my realm, my happy place behind my cannons, not to mention peeling the paint and carving lines in the cosmos with Jason [Morales, guitar] and Curt [Christenson, bass].

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

I’d like any interested folks to know that barring any unforeseen circumstances regarding playin’ live, we still have a record coming out regardless!

Our eighth official release, Tried and True, is slated to come out this summer. Both on bitchin’ vinyl and a CD. The CD version will also feature the two tracks from our last record release stateside, Early Purple/Visitors.

I’m biased, so whatever, yet I’ve gotta say these five new tracks are our best public offering to date. As per the past three releases, we recorded at Jason’s home studio with him as our engineer and technical wizard — shit sounds incredible! We managed to capture some really good stuff. As usual, all live and improvised, all of us together in the same room. We nailed a couple of groovy new riffs alongside one of our oldest jams from the beginning (the title-track), plus two really ethereal “no-planners.” We’re just really stoked on it and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

Folks can pre-order the vinyl now off of the Small Stone site. Also the first track, “The Layback,” is available for folks to peep if they wanna a listen.

Fingers crossed everyone stays healthy and positive. We still hope to tour both stateside and abroad. We have a tour booked for Europe come September, at this point though we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes with the health of the world. Regardless though, the music lives! And will be coming out as scheduled!

Until we can all get together and rage, I’ve been telling all of my tribe that line in “Radar Love” from Golden Earring. “Gotta be cool now gotta take care”…. Duty now for the future so we can all keep on livin’ and doing what we love with the people we love.

https://www.facebook.com/tiacarreraofficial/
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com

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Days of Rona: Erik Caplan of Thunderbird Divine

Posted in Features on April 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

thunderbird divine erik caplan

Days of Rona: Erik Caplan of Thunderbird Divine (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Obviously, this whole thing sucks — bandwise and just in general. This virus is a bastard. We’ve canceled shows, including our CD release show. Half of the band is working from home, the other half works in very small businesses. We are being careful, skipping rehearsals and staying home. Adam (bass) and I are sending song ideas back and forth via Dropbox, but it’s really not the same as getting together and just playing. It sucks, and I miss my dudes. Thankfully, we’re all safe and healthy. That’s ultimately the most important thing. My buddy Mike (former drummer of Wizard Eye) just texted me and said, “There are gonna be a lot of rusty rehearsals when this quarantine is over.” I can’t wait to go be rusty.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

I’m in Montgomery County, PA, which is very close to Philly. Schools are closed. All non-essential businesses are closed. Everyone is supposed to stay home. People are half-assedly doing this. Too many are out doing stuff in crowds because they’re bored. I’m honestly concerned for the health of general population right now.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

When I go anywhere outside of the house, things are eerie. Kids are home from school, but they’re generally not outside. Playgrounds are empty. Grocery stores have a very strange energy. People are distanced, but they’re also fractured and shopping sort of hysterically. It’s very disconcerting. My neighbors wave and say hello from a distance. That’s not so different, actually.

Musically, I’m seeing a lot of our peers doing songs on Facebook, posting acoustic stuff or just jamming alone (shout out to Ken from Eternal Black showing of his beautiful amps and guitars). I find this very life-affirming and communal. I’m glad to see them alive and well, doing their thing. I want this to be over so I can hug everyone.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

We’re here, we’re alive and we’re hoping everyone is being safe and staying healthy. This thing isn’t a joke or a game, and you’re not too young, too smart or too badass to get sick or get someone else sick. This situation is like telling your kid to go to bed when they’re hyped up and don’t want to sleep: I promise all the fun stuff will still be there when you wake up. Just follow the rules. All the fun will come back. Let it go for a while. It’ll be okay. We’re gonna be here. Let’s stay healthy.

https://www.facebook.com/thunderbirddivine
https://www.instagram.com/thunderbird_divine/
https://thunderbirddivine.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec/
www.SaltOfTheEarthRecords.com

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Days of Rona: Dee Calhoun of Spiral Grave

Posted in Features on April 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

dee calhoun

Days of Rona: Dee Calhoun of Spiral Grave (Frederick, Maryland)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

With Spiral Grave, we’ve put rehearsals off. We are spread so far apart that the distance is already a challenge, and now even more so with people being asked to please stay in. Everyone is doing fine health-wise, just trying to stay as active as possible. I’ve been able to keep working on my solo music with no issues, so that is a huge help mentally.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

In Maryland, all non-essential businesses are closed, and schools are currently closed until April 27th. I’m one of the very lucky ones, I’m still able to work full-time, and am teleworking until further notice. I go out for groceries and that’s about it.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

It seems to be drawing the music community closer together. We’re a family here, and right now we’re cut off from family and it sucks. It is wonderful though, seeing all the live streams and things, getting to see bands and artists in ways that you don’t usually get to see them. I think it will make for a greater appreciation of live music once the Earth starts spinning again.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

In talking to Willy, Lou and Mot, we’re all doing well. We’re bummed out that things are the way they are, but we’re each trying to be smart and do the things we should be doing while this is happening. Personally, I’m hanging in there, and I’m proud to see my kids handling the situation the way they are. I tell Rob to pay close attention to what’s going on, because future generations are going to want to know about it. Learn from this, in the hopes that society comes out better on the other side of it.

www.screamingmaddee.com
https://www.facebook.com/screamingmaddee/
https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/
www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec
www.saltoftheearthrecords.com
www.argonautarecords.com

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Days of Rona: Bo Sejer of Vestjysk Ørken & Esbjerg Fuzztival

Posted in Features on April 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

bo sejer vestjysk orken esbjerg fuzztival

Days of Rona: Bo Sejer of Vestjysk Ørken & Esbjerg Fuzztival (Esbjerg, Denmark)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Luckily we only had a few live shows planned in March and April domestically in Denmark. Still, even a few shows cancelled meant a few boxes of freshly made merch we were not able to sell after live shows. Compared to other bands we’re talking to, we got off easy in that regard. We just announced a new album, though, and in that respect it could not come at a worse time: We’ll not be able to ride the new album wave for long and book new gigs as a current band.

This is only made worse since most venues are now busy re-booking bigger bands and acts for the Fall that should’ve played in the spring, meaning less potential dates for smaller bands like ourselves. Even worse though is that we can’t jam or rehearse, as we do not live in the same city. This last part is the most frustrating, I think. There’s little worse than being a band that can’t get together to create.

As a promoter for Fuzztival in Esbjerg, Denmark, we’ve been working overtime for weeks now. It took less than a week before the first band had to cancel after the crisis got really bad in Italy and the restrictions started happening all over Europe. After that we had somewhat of a snowball effect that resulted in some tough decisions. It’s not cheap to relocate a festival you have been working on for the better part of a year, and it’s not easy. But we felt it had to be done, and luckily we have been met with cooperation and understanding from all parts.

I don’t think anyone got much sleep the first two weeks, but once the decision was made to postpone the festival and we made the necessary arrangements to do so, I think we could all take a deep breath and reflect a bit on the situation. We have to make a lot of changes all over in the coming months, but I’m still positive we’ll have one hell of a party come August. People will be starved for fuzzy music, especially after both Desertfests and Roadburn had to cancel. While things can still be affected well into the summer, I think we all feel that something has to happen in August,or we’ll simply loose our minds!

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Right now the borders are completely closed, all airports are closed down, and all travel restricted. All gatherings, inside or outside, of more than 10 people are forbidden (this means parks, beaches, whatever). All restaurants, cafes, bars, venues, theatres, whatever are closed. Everyone working in the public sector have been sent home, except healthcare workers, and everyone else have been asked to work from home, if they are able.

These are so far in effect until after Easter, but I think most people are expecting it to be extended at least two more weeks after that. Most likely we’ll see a gradual return to normalcy, maybe the oldest schoolchildren and students returning for the summer exams, and smaller establishments reopening sometime in April. Unlikely that we’ll be having any live music this side of the summer holidays, though.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

Luckily, I don’t know anyone personally who contracted the virus, and I hope to keep it that way. People are taking this thing seriously, staying home. Sadly we’ve already seen several venues, smaller booking companies, promoters, and more going out of business, and several others struggling. I’m afraid this in turn mean that niche music like stoner/doom/heavy-psych is going to have an even harder time this year.

Already we’re seeing venues being booked solid this Fall with no room for touring bands in this genre, and I’m afraid it’ll continue into 2021 as well. This crisis will probably be the biggest blow a lot of bands will ever get to experience, and I fear for the consequences. Luckily, a lot of artists tend to bloom in their darkest hours, so what we’ll miss out on in live music, we might get to enjoy from upcoming releases. That’s a silver lining if any.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

It’s crucial to stand together right now and support artists struggling to keep head above water. We’re not one of them, at least not financially, but we are represented by a one-man record company, and I know it’s not easy on his part either with the added shipping time all over. I think a great way to support these small businesses is buying records directly, if you can.

Our festival will survive this, as will most, but this is also a time to make sure you support your favourite festivals and venues. Keep your tickets, don’t return them, if you in any way can afford to do so. And make sure you get out, party, and listen to live music, as soon as you can wherever you are. This is a time to take chances on new music, and support artists you don’t necessarily already know. Let’s show the scene all the support we can – make sure even the smallest and most unknown of bands attract full venues later this year. That would really be something.

https://www.facebook.com/VestjyskOrken/
https://www.instagram.com/vestjysk_orken/
https://vestjyskorken.bandcamp.com/
https://interstellarsmokerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/esbjergfuzztival/
https://www.fuzztival.com/

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