Days of Rona: Mike Scalzi of The Lord Weird Slough Feg

Posted in Features on May 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

slough feg mike scalzi

Days of Rona: Mike Scalzi of The Lord Weird Slough Feg (San Francisco, California)

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It has been rough because we had 5 festivals scheduled for this Spring/summer, and of course they were all cancelled. Quite a let-down, but necessary of course. However, as a band we’re actually making good use of the time. We’ve created a podcast called “Slough Feg Radio” (http://sloughfeg.com/feed/). We’re up to episode #7 I believe. Since we cannot rehearse—Adrian and I meet at our rehearsal space each week (with masks, gloves, and a long distance between us!) and record a radio pod cast— we basically dj weird/eclectic music, including some of our own songs, demos, weird outtakes, etc. that we think might be interesting for people to hear, and banter and babble back and forth about the music, the band history, funny stories of what our lives are like now etc. It’s been great because it’s been well received and we have quite a few listeners, and it gives us, and the fans a feeling that the band is very much alive and active during this ‘downtime’.

We just finished an album last year, so I’m actually not really in ‘writing mode.’ Which is annoying because obviously this would be the time to write music — but we were ready to go do a bunch of live shows, so it makes it all the more annoying that we can’t. Oh well. If this lasts long enough perhaps we’ll write some more stuff, but for now we’re pretty excited about Slough Feg Radio.

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The public response has been generally good. San Francisco (where I live) was the first US city to practice shelter in place, the local and state government did a good job of getting on the case early, and as a result there has been an extremely low rate of infection and death count here. So I’ve been pretty lucky when you look at the kind of numbers other US cities are looking at. San Francisco is a city with relatively few older people, although there is much population density. New York has faced unbelievable tragedy, obviously. But even in the dire case of NYC, the local and State Governments have done an incredible job of fighting the virus.

If we had legitimate national leadership at this time, that would help considerably. But we clearly do not, so we must let the individual states do the heavy lifting and hope they can bear the burden. I think some of them are stepping up and doing a fantastic job — and I’m lucky enough to live in a state that had a pretty solid state government.

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I’m not sure how the music community has responded, outside of the mainstream music media (because I see them on TV, internet, etc.). I suppose they’ve responded pretty well, and pretty positively. Many mainstream musicians are doing remote performances and writing songs about the pandemic, etc. As for lesser known musicians, I am not as sure what they are up to — the ones I know, including myself, seem to be producing whatever they can at the time— as stated above, I’m really enjoying out podcast radio show, and I’ve had a lot of good responses from fans, telling us our show relieves some of their boredom and frustration sitting around the house all day etc.

As for myself, I was pretty terrified at first I suppose—for myself, my family and friends. Fortunately for me, nobody I know has passed away from the virus. Very, very lucky. I do have some friends who contracted it though and went through hell. I have also been rather bored at times — I am not a person who can sit at home all the time. So since the beginning of this thing my schedule has been active — getting out on my bike and riding in the mountains almost every day. Discouraged? At first yes after those festival cancellations. Inspired? At times. I was super frustrated and feeling trapped a month ago. Now I have adapted a little, fell into a bit of a new schedule, and am somewhat hopeful for the future. You can only get so terrified, angry, etc., until you begin to adapt (hopefully).

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The band will survive. We’ve survived for 29 years, and we ain’t stopping now!! this is the longest Slough Feg has EVER gone without practicing. So It’s a bit maddening — but we’ll survive. Everyone is in good spirits and eagerly awaiting the day we can practice and play gigs again.

My daily schedule is basically: get up way too late (at 11 or noon!!) do whatever work I have to do (I teach a class that is now online of course) pack a bag with some food, a book, a face-mask etc. and try to get out the door by 2:30 or 3:00 on my bike, ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Marin Headlands. This is truly inspiring. Another great thing about San Francisco is that you get out of the city, into areas of incredible natural beauty in less than an hour on a bicycle. I stay out in the headlands where there are parks, beaches, trails etc. until about 7 or 8 at night. I see very few people there. It’s saved my life — I would be utterly insane if I could not do this and had to stay in the house all day like many others are doing. I also work one day a week at a Brewery, serving beer and food for takeout. Gotta be careful there, but I am, and I’m grateful to have the work.

What have I learned so far from Covid 19? Well, mostly that I don’t wanna get it!! Honestly I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how important it is to stay healthy and strong as you grow older. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the rock ‘n roll lifestyle: drinking yourself half to death and being a parched-out wretch of a human being, sleeping in a different place every night. That stuff is great fun and has its place — mostly when you’re young. But that stuff can only go so far until it stops being fun — and especially during a health crisis. Whether you’re in good shape or not can be a matter and life and death.

But maybe this whole thing will be a big wake up call for the entire human race — reminding us of what is really important. NOT wealth and status and all that nonsense we spend our lives worrying about. That stuff ain’t gonna do shit for anyone is the face of a pandemic. Your health, activity, creativity, and the people you surround yourself with — that’s what matters in a pandemic, and in life. Period.

http://www.sloughfeg.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sloughfegofficial/
https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/blog/
https://www.facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic/
https://cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com/

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Days of Rona: “Dirty Dave” Johnson of The Glasspack

Posted in Features on May 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

the glasspack dave johnson (photo by Chris Jenner)

Days of Rona: “Dirty Dave” Johnson of The Glasspack (Louisville, Kentucky)

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We are basically not dealing. We are not dealing with the Glasspack as a band during coronacrisis. The band aspect is on hold. Individual survival is obviously more important right now. What’s more, our state of Kentucky has been at the forefront of progressive measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus by basically shutting everything down in the state, except “essential” businesses, and forbidding gatherings.

Thus, everything changed for the Glasspack in what seems like the blink of an eye. We have been completely separated, other than by electronic means.

Having said the above, however, I have been dealing with the band stuff alone. And, yes, I have had to rework plans for the band and adapt as I go. The Glasspack completed the writing and demoing process of all new music for our upcoming “Moon Patrol” release. So, I have been trying to take advantage of the down time in isolation by writing lyrics and vocals for the demo recording. I have also been working on an upcoming live video release of the Glasspack live at DeadBird Recording Studios in Louisville (2020). I, myself, have been selling Glasspack merchandise too on our new Bandcamp page to repay our debts incurred in anticipation of SXSW 2020 (cancelled). The Bandcamp experience has been quite an adjustment too.

When this virus broke out, we were in the middle of plans for a trip to SXSW 2020 in March this year to play about six parties. We were one of the first bands to make a decision in regard to our plans for SXSW 2020 immediately after SXSW cancelled their official festival. After a long discussion considering all the factors and concerns of this then potential crisis, we voted to cancel all SXSW 2020 plans. It was a very difficult decision and rocked the band to the core, no pun intended.

In the end, the city of Austin, TX shut everything down anyway. Personally, I was a bit frustrated at the time because I had been working on those SXSW 2020 plans since October 2019. However, I remain positive and also believe everything happens for a reason the Universe sees fit.

I choose to see the positive opportunities in negative circumstances these days. I actually established and learned how to use Bandcamp.com as a band during all this. This learning experience also provided a chance to upload some Glasspack recordings not previously released digitally.

I believe everyone of the Glasspack is in good health thus far and I have faith we will remain that way. Everything will work for the band as it is meant to.

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Kentucky has been at the forefront of progressive action towards the crisis. The KY governor ordered nonessential retail businesses to close to the public. He also forbid gatherings in groups. However, the governor’s requests did fall on some deaf corporate ears, university students, street-racers, and church-goers for a bit.

Eventually, our governor and the courts started ordering folks into quarantine by police force. This resulted in some failed attempts of Kentuckians to constitutionally challenge the governor’s orders on various First Amendment grounds. However, the Tenth Amendment power of a state in regard to the health, welfare, and safety of its citizens during a crisis is very powerful as well. See the “days of small pox.”

You can check out more on Constitutional issues and coronavirus in Kentucky here:
https://www.kentucky.com/news/coronavirus/article242094661.html

The courts eventually shut down physically too, although certified attorneys like me can carry out electronic filing and Zoom video conferencing to continue working. The issue, however, is no new business came in my law office for a long time due to all this coronacrisis stuff. It damn near destroyed my business and made it nearly impossible for me to carry out the work I needed to do. But, again, what will be will be and my office still exists. I am very grateful because I know a lot of small businesses will not fair as well.

The police of Kentucky basically just went into hiding and did nothing, as usual, but that is better than causing the ruckus they have been causing for a while. The LMPD is a constant source of national controversy.

Now, everything is starting to open back up but the people of my county, Jefferson, are receiving Fs for public social distancing after the state was receiving As for its efforts in fighting the pandemic. That is discouraging.

Even when everything is open, I am not going to risk my health and safety or that of others. I will wear a mask and practice proper social distancing.

Most importantly, however, I will keep my positive mental attitude regardless of all this.

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Louisville, our city, and Kentucky, our state, are basically a hot mess of political strife over all this right now. Just yesterday, protesters hung a dummy from a tree with our Governor’s face on it and some Latin. (“sic semper tyrannis” which is Latin for “thus, always to tyrants”). I mean this place is fucking boiling over.

You can check out more on Kentucky political strife here:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/25/kentucky-governor-effigy-protest

The combination of everything said above in my responses to prior questions has resulted in Kentucky musicians being even poorer than they were already. Some Louisville musicians and members of the Glasspack work for essential businesses too which have to remain open. And yet, some other Louisville musicians, including members of the Glasspack, work for assholes who refuse to stop in favor everyone’s health. Both of those scenarios are scary as Hell right now.

Some other Louisville musicians are taking advantage of playing live streams on the internet under careful conditions to make money. Also, like me, a lot of Kentucky musicians are just sitting in their rooms alone writing awesome songs in isolation, no doubt.

You can check out more on Louisville bands and live streams here:
https://www.facebook.com/deadbirdlive/
https://www.facebook.com/headlinersmusichall/

As I said above too, I have been spending extra time selling Glasspack merch on Bandcamp to pay our debts. We ordered a bunch of merchandise to take to SXSW 2020. I basically take the orders, fill the orders, and deliver the orders in and around Louisville. The folks of Louisville overwhelmingly have helped us in my efforts! I am very appreciative and grateful!

And, we still sell t-shirts for $12!

You can check out more on the Glasspack’s Bandcamp page here:
https://theglasspack.bandcamp.com/

It is very unclear, especially in Kentucky, when bars and music venues will be able to start having shows again under the coronacrisis circumstances. I have a bad feeling that a lot of our amazing and unique bars and venues in Louisville will shut down, leaving nowhere to play. I hope for the best though.

Some of the Louisville record stores have adapted quite well though. Surface Noise is currently taking orders online and making house deliveries! Imagine that! A record store brings you awesome records to your step and then takes all your money! Haha!

You can check out more on Louisville record deliveries and stores here:
https://www.facebook.com/surfacenoiserecords/
https://www.facebook.com/undergroundsoundsrecords/
https://www.facebook.com/funhouse

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Personally, I think everyone needs to take a deep breath, meditate a bit, and be grateful you are still alive! So many Americans have died. It is all really so very sad. But turn the sadness into gratitude every day for all your family, friends, animals, and the Earth! If humanity would just live in sync with the Earth and have respect for animals, I do not think we would be having to deal with all this.

As a musician, I would just like to point out that, right now, it should become very clear that the Arts in general, including music, is a necessary part of the human existence. Perhaps the unfortunate state of affairs for the bands and music industry is just the Universe telling us all it’s time to really value those things. To change! To support them more than ever! I mean, what the fuck are you going to do right now but listen to every god damned record you have and get fucked up? That’s pure pleasure! Especially Hawkwind!

Love,
“Dirty” Dave
The Glasspack

Porchtrait by Chris Jenner.

https://www.facebook.com/theGlasspack/
https://theglasspack.bandcamp.com/

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Days of Rona: Antonio Santos of Places Around the Sun

Posted in Features on May 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

places around the sun antonio santos

Days of Rona: Antonio Santos of Places Around the Sun (Lisboa, Portugal)

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Besides the obvious bad financial side in all of this as a band we got a lot of time we wouldn’t get otherwise to really write our songs without any pressure of having to go to work the next day. And that is probably the best thing out of all of the things, our hobbies became a full-time job.

With the creative process it has also helped a lot since everything stopped and it left a lot of space for the creative mind to take place. I’ve seen a lot of new ideas, whether them being podcasts, Instagram lives or new music coming up in these last months and the best part is that everyone is attending to all of it because people want something to pass their time.

In a general view I think we’re making the best of it and still manage to finish the new album we’re currently working on.

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Here in Portugal, I feel like in a way we got very lucky comparing to a lot of other countries here in Europe. Our government reacted as fast as one would ever react with such a sudden threat.

Everybody at first shared the mind set of “The virus won’t ever get here”, foolishly enough since our country relies a lot on tourism, and thousands of tourists enter our country everyday. But when it came people actually reacted fast and a lot of people went into voluntary lockdown, but of course there were those people who felt like it was an overreaction. But now I think pretty much everyone is being aware and respectful of the rules.

There’s an uneasy feeling around everyone we know, since we all work in the film and music industry, we really depend on a lot of events that can’t happen right now and probably won’t happen in the next year.

But being all creative people I think we’ll all find some way or another to keep going and adapt to this new reality.

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The music community took a big hit, every band we know had their shows canceled and we were all obligated to leave almost everything in stand by. But I think everyone is aware of how hard it is for all the artists and people are sharing everyone’s work on their social media. It’s amazing to see so many people coming together to help everybody in need during this time.

Although there’s a little bit of discouragement, because we know we can’t play live, being one of the most exciting parts of being in a band, and of course the best source of income. But some of the best songs and ideas came from boredom and the need to make something, I think everyone that has the creative side should use this time to let it come into fruition. Everyone is at home and now more than ever people need the entertainment industry to help them get through all of this a little bit easier.

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Me personally, I was going through a really rough time mentally before all of this. And having to suddenly stop everything really made think and reflect on everything going in my mind and I got to value a lot of things that I always took for granted and I fortunately could channel everything through music, we were in the middle of recording an album, and luckily we stopped when we were about to record the vocals, which is something that can easily be done at home, so I brought my studio set up home and really took the time to record and write everything feeling like I had all the time in the world.

I recorded a vocal idea and sent it to everyone and we went back and forth a lot and I think that really allowed us to come up with stuff we would never had the time to do before.

We as band can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on as we feel like it has some of the best stuff we’ve ever wrote and hopefully sooner than later we’ll be able to play it live.

https://www.facebook.com/placesaroundthesun/
https://www.instagram.com/placesaroundthesun/
https://placesaroundthesun.bandcamp.com/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6EtVFuD2ONPTRJ3rKnlUgi

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Days of Rona: Johannes from Mindcrawler

Posted in Features on May 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

MINDCRAWLER JOHANNES

Days of Rona: Johannes from Mindcrawler (Munich, Germany)

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On a personal level, none of us has been hit particularly hard by the crisis, aside from having to stay at home for several weeks now. We are fortunate enough that all of us have jobs or studies that can be done from home. So in all, and aside from growing boredom and cabin fever, the impact has been pretty mild on that front.

However, as a band, we weren’t able to get together and play for weeks either, which is a huge bummer. Mainly because we have a ton of new material we were planning to turn into songs, in preparation of future releases and gigs. So this came to a screeching halt for now. On the flipside though, each of us has been creative from home. Writing more material, playing around with new stuff, e.g. synthie sounds and some visual shenanigans. So I guess, in the long run, we are all set.

At the moment, we are hoping that the crisis will fade away quickly. We have some significant gigs lined up for the fall and it would be a shame if those would fall through.

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Corona restrictions in Munich (as in the whole of Bavaria) have been pretty harsh in the beginning. Practically nobody was allowed to even leave the house aside from some reduced sporting activities and the like. These have been enforced pretty consistently, too. So there has been a good month or so of strictly having to stay at home. However, this has been relaxed to some extent by now. For instance, we are now allowed to meet with “one person from another household”, which is nice (but does not help much in terms of playing together as a band).

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I think the music community has responded in a good way, at least in Munich. There has been plans to stream concerts without audiences, and there is some solidarity stuff going on. We feel sorry for all the hardworking, beautiful people who, in normal times, organize all the concerts and other creative offerings. They are really hit hard by this crisis, and I feel that, on top of that, they are largely left alone by the government. Honestly, I’m not sure I would be able to handle the uncertainty they are facing right now. In addition, we are not sure how the ripple effects of that will affect smaller or “semi-professional” musicians and their ability to play in the long run.

As mentioned before, for Mindcrawler, our creative process moved from a collective effort as a band to more individual efforts at home. Still, I would say we are rather inspired as a whole. I guess the good side of being stuck at home is that you pick up the guitar more often, or engage in stuff you were kinda putting off for some time (like synthies or visuals).

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

First and foremost: Stay safe, practice social distancing, wear your face masks! The more responsibly we as a community act now, the faster this shitty situation will be over.

Aside from this, we miss being on stage, and engaging with all those wonderful people in the stoner/doom scene in general. We are lucky enough that the reactions to our first release Lost Orbiter have been very kind, so we are eager to give some of the kindness back to all of you. In a first step, we are very happy that we signed a record deal with Sound Effect Records, so people will see the album released on vinyl fairly soon.

In addition, we are very eager to get back together as band and write new songs, and more importantly, to go out and play them!

http://www.facebook.com/Mindcrawler/
https://www.instagram.com/mindcrawler.band/
https://mindcrawler.bandcamp.com/
http://www.motljud.com/
https://www.soundeffect-records.gr/

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Days of Rona: Neil Collins of Murcielago

Posted in Features on May 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

Neil Collins of Murcielago

Days of Rona: Neil Collins of Murcielago (Portland, Maine)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

We in Murcielago have been completely dormant as we figure how to be a band in this new normal. We have a new record titled Casualties completed, and were originally looking at a mid-spring release. Now we are unsure when we will be able to get vinyl pressed, and whether it is worthwhile to self-release something with no gigs on the horizon to sell them at. The few shows we have booked are already postponed until who knows when [UPDATE: The CD has been pressed and will go on sale in September].

As an individual, I have been working straight through since early March. I run a boatyard as my day job and have 20 employees. It’s been a daily worry that by being open I might put one of my people in inadvertent contact with the virus. So far, all have been well. I’m pretty spent by the stress of it by the end of the day, so not much riff writing is happening. When I do get a chance to play I usually sit with an acoustic guitar in some open tuning. Maybe our next record will sound like Fairport Convention….

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

The response from the state of Maine has been very proactive and measured in my opinion. I’ve been impressed with the state officials and their message to us Mainers. The general public seemed initially to embrace the guidelines fully, but as time has passed and the economic toll is being more widely felt many are pushing back and opening when not allowed etc. In my work I see customers who disregard all of our guidelines mandated by the state and I’ve needed to address the issue. It’s not a good position to be in. I do feel lucky to have been at work all through this, though.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

I have watched many streaming events either by locals or national acts and really appreciate people putting those performances out there for us all. It is encouraging to see people staying on top of their craft while we wait for the what next.

I worry for all the great venues that may never open again after things get back to what we knew before, and what that will do for touring bands and small labels that support them. I feel both inspired and discouraged depending on what minute you ask me, I guess.

I really look forward to playing with the band again and feeling the walls shake. I always do my best writing with us all in the room together. It’s been a huge part of my life for a very long time.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

On a personal level I feel so grateful for my family and our home, our life in Maine and my close friendship with the other guys in the band. I’ve had many opportunities to appreciate the simple things that pass unnoticed in less trying times. As a band, we look forward to regrouping and making the air move again. We are rearranging our rehearsal space to allow for proper distancing so we can get back to playing again. I could really use that.

https://www.facebook.com/murcielagorock/
https://murcielagorock.bandcamp.com/

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Days of Rona: Gero Lucisano of Argonauta Records

Posted in Features on May 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

argonauta gero

Days of Rona: Gero Lucisano of Argonauta Records & Varego (Arenzano, Italy)

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?

Health is good, even if there is so much things to do here in Argonauta. So many releases planned and a lot more on printing. With our partner ALL NOIR, we thought it’d be better to not stop any activity, rather to push each release regularly with promotion and with a distribution “digital first” method. Keeping preorders with discounted prices and waiting for better times to ship them all around. Substantially not a big rework, only some reasonable rules: to do what is possible doing in this very moment that can be turn us useful in the near future, hopefully.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

One month of lockdown currently, now extended for another month. Schools and shops are closed and you can reach out to buy food and important genres only via a paper by the police, few hours a day. Now hopefully some shops will reopens these days and other ones next month. Schools closed till September.

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

Yes, unfortunately I’ve seen it, I lost two uncles and we were not able to see them even for the last time to say goodbye. I’m also reading a lot of news by bands with members affected and struggling with it.

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

The very biggest problem is that bands can’t tour, we had a lot of releases and our bands had to cancel many events and release shows. Also the pressing plants (or a part of the) are not working in the full of their capacity, thing are delayed and there is a lot of details to follow. Last but not least, shipments suffer too because of tons of flights canceled. But I’m here working to keep up all the good work. Music is so useful for me each day, helped me many times and helping me now too. I’m planning so many things and Argonauta is still here to give voice to the underground we love.

www.argonautarecords.com
www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords

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Days of Rona: Andy Martin of Clamfight

Posted in Features on May 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

clamfight-andy-martin

Days of Rona: Andy Martin of Clamfight (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

As a band we currently have about half of our fourth record recorded. We were in the studio the weekend of March 13th which is pretty much when shit hit the fan in the Philly/New Jersey area so it seemed like every time I checked my phone between takes there’d be another set new of restrictions or some new horrifying statistic coming out of NYC or Italy. Since then it’s been no practice, but we talk every day and Sean’s been writing a lot.

Sean has been killing it with new material but I’ve been pretty creatively blocked for most of lock down. I wrote a novel in 2019, some friends have read it and given me great feedback but I haven’t been able to get moving on the second draft at all.

Ken from Eternal Black roped Erik from Thunderbird Divine and I into his Swarm of Flies project, and that seems to have finally gotten me moving and creating again, which is great. Now that I feel like I can write again I’m going to attack some new Clamfight stuff Sean has sent me and hopefully get on with the second draft of the novel.

Personally, I lost my job pretty quickly and that stung but I’ve been lucky enough to land with a new company and I’m back where I belong, digging holes in farm fields.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

The city of Philadelphia gave the bars St Patty’s Day weekend, and I wonder how many fewer cases our area would have had if they clamped down quicker. It was so bizarre being in the recording studio and reading about what was unfolding in New York and coming home to my neighborhood in South Philly and seeing the bars on Two Street packed. Since that first stumble I’ve got to give the city a lot of credit, they’ve handled it pretty well. Who knows though, Philly has a pretty terrible public transportation system and that may have saved more lives than the lockdown.

Parks have remained open and fishing has been allowed which has been a great way of retaining my sanity but otherwise we’re pretty similar to NJ and NY, masks in stores, with most businesses that aren’t grocery stores and Home Depot closed.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

I think the response by the music community has been pretty great. Live-streams, people digging out show footage, putting out demos (Clamfight will hopefully be doing something similar soon), it’s all been gravy. As for the future of what live music looks like, I’m unfortunately less optimistic. I almost get cranky when I see people advertising shows later in the summer or even the fall, because I think the broader federal response in the US has been so criminally inept that live music, bars, restaurants, etc aren’t coming back any time soon. It just won’t be safe. Setting aside the question of how many venues even survive this, unless there’s a vaccine, playing a show or attending one is going to be a real act of a faith in the people around you. Are they being smart and safe? Would they even know if they were a carrier? That’s kind of where I’m at with the live music, it may happen, but it’s going to be a real question of who is actually willing to show up from bands or the audience.
That said, would I play a show in the woods with a generator? Yes, yes I would.

Personally, I’ve been all over the place in terms of my mood. I’ve had days where I’ve spent hours fly fishing and then made a big dinner with my girlfriend and then settle in with some wine and watched a movie, and days like that feel like vacation. And then there’s the days when I’m missing my family, or all my close friends in the UK, and those days can be crushing.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

Because there’s been comparatively little Clamfight for me recently, I’ll explain it from the fishing and archaeology side of things.

For eight years I’ve been a part of the Ness of Brodgar excavations in Orkney. It’s changed my life and joining the team has far and away been the best thing I’ve ever done. For obvious reasons, the Ness and a lot of other research excavations won’t be happening this year. On a personal level it’s a heart breaker, because the dig team is a second family to me and I don’t know when I’ll see them again, but missing a season can have huge repercussions for the dig itself. I know times are tight, but if you’re an archaeology or history buff and have a few bucks to spare it’d be worth checking to see if there’s any digs or research projects you’d like to support because without those visitor dollars, they’re all going to be hurting.

I’ve really rediscovered my love of fly fishing during lock down, and besides giving me something to do it’s restored my faith in humanity a bit during this age of performative shiftiness and a total lack of leadership from the Federal government.

Fisherman can be really chatty, but there’s been a real shift in that chatter recently. There‘a been several times during this thing where I’ve been in the middle of the creek and either another fisherman, or a retired guy getting his steps in will stop on the bank and we’ll talk. Not just the simple “catching any?” chatter, but fifteen or twenty minute conversations, that segue from fishing to health and the state of the world pretty quickly. And these conversations always end with the same two words, “stay safe.” Usually accompanied by a big open palm wave from a retired union guy with a hand like a side of beef. I don’t know what it is about these conversations but that level of openness between strangers really makes me feel better and give me hope that maybe, just maybe, we’ll come out a little better on the other side of this thing.

So that’s what I’ve got for you gang. We are clearly a very long way from the end of this thing, so stay safe.

www.facebook.com/Clamfight
https://www.instagram.com/clamfight/
https://clamfight.bandcamp.com/

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Days of Rona: Graham Brooks of Barishi

Posted in Features on May 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

barishi

Days of Rona: Graham Brooks of Barishi (Jamaica, Vermont)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

We are holding up ok. We had a couple practices and did a live streamed show a few weeks back, but we haven’t really been up to too much as we’ve all been social distancing. I personally am doing pretty well. I’ve been hunkering down. As far as plans go, we had a couple tours get canceled along with all of our shows this summer. The biggest hurdle has been dealing with the physical release of our new record. The digital version came out in April, but its looking like the physical version won’t be coming out in the States until early July. That’s been tough to deal with logistically.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

In terms of governmental and public response, Vermont has done comparatively well. It has one of, if not the slowest growth rate of new cases in the country. Part of the glacial spread is probably due to having a small population in a predominantly rural state, but credit where credit is due. The vast majority of Vermonters wear masks and are pretty vigilant about social distancing. The state has given the green light for retail to re-open. We’ll see how much of the downward trajectory is maintained.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

It seems to me that due to the nature of the industry, musicians are inherently resilient and cut from a particularly tough cloth. I’m hoping that those qualities will see musicians through this time. That being said, everyone’s plans have been crushed and there is little to no safety net for musicians and the event industry. Those two days that Bandcamp waived their fee was a huge help and the music fan community is reliably generous and engaged with artists they love, but there is only so much they can do. I’m particularly concerned about venues and the already strained infrastructure surrounding live events. Check out saveourstages.com if you want to lend a hand with that.
As for me personally, I’m trying to keep an even keel and stay busy.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

I’m realizing how much I took for granted. The ability to play shows, meet new people and hear new music. I think that added perspective will be valuable in the long run. I’m hoping that when the time comes where touring and shows become viable once again, music will play an even bigger part in all our lives. I think it may be big part of the healing process.

https://www.facebook.com/barishiband/
https://barishi.bandcamp.com/
https://linktr.ee/barishi
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

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