Days of Rona: Andrew Field of APF Records

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.

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