In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, musicians have been compelled to find new ways to be heard.
One avenue is Twitch, the popular livestreaming platform. But local alternative band Halocene already have been using it for years to interact with listeners.
Though Twitch is best known for its gaming content, Halocene have been going live on Twitch since 2017. Band member Addie Nicole says they love the community and culture Twitch has created, adding that she thinks Twitch has better-quality streaming than other platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
Even before the pandemic made livestreaming more of a necessity, Halocene would perform on Twitch several times a week. The platform has a chat room feature where the band can interact with fans, which adds a personal touch.
“When you do it three times a week for four hours apiece, eventually you just get to be silly and have a good time,” Nicole says. “We’re able to connect with the people and see them chatting to us and be able to chat back.”
As the pandemic kept people in their homes, and the band were forced to cancel a tour that would have started in May, that human connection became even more important, Nicole says.
“Everybody seemed to be so thankful that we were streaming during that time,” she says. “We got so many messages saying this was the only thing they looked forward to. The way we were already set up worked out so that we didn’t have contact with other people, and the community was so supportive.”
Because of the influence on their Twitch community, Halocene were designated Twitch Ambassadors, a title given by the company to creators that have used the platform in a positive way or to act as a role model to other users. As ambassadors, Halocene will be featured more in the Twitch community and reach bigger audiences.
Halocene haven't only been livestreaming concerts during the pandemic, though. The band released a music video for their new single "Rage" at the beginning of June, a song inspired by the League of Legends soundtrack and a new game from Riot Games called Valorant.
The song "is about taking anger and aggression and turning it into something positive, making a change and coming back with a vengeance,” Nicole says. The band hadn't planned to release the video in the midst of worldwide protests about racism and police brutality, but she says they feel the song is relevant to that movement.
The music video for "Rage" has the bright colors and stepped animation style found in Valorant. As of June 30, the video has over 180,000 views on YouTube.
Nicole says the band also are working on a single they plan to release in early August and plan to have an original album complete by the end of the year.
“We just want to keep releasing new, original music,” she says. “I think the arts are really important right now. Since we’re all stuck at home, it’s definitely time to write and get our feelings and emotions out on paper because everybody has been through so much."