Unless you are Jared Leto, everyone reading this article is aware of the coronavirus.
The music industry has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with all shows, tours, and festivals canceled or postponed to try and "flatten the curve." Hopefully, everyone in America has been doing their part by staying home to contain the spread of the virus so we can get back to the fun stuff sooner rather than later.
I have been working full time in the music industry for the last 10 years. I have certainly been feeling the effects of the pandemic financially, as I'm sure many of us are. Okilly Dokilly had to postpone our upcoming 22 show U.S. tour in light of COVID-19. Some people may know I'm "Dread Ned," the band's drummer. I was bummed when the news came in, but I also believe in making lemonade out of lemons.
I am looking at this as a time to grow and relax a bit. I have been continuing to exercise inside in my living room, beefing up my garden, getting my files (and some parts of my house that needed it) organized, teaching lessons online, and writing a bunch of new music.
Phoenix New Times wanted to see what some other of Arizona's touring acts are also doing and feeling during this time of quarantine. We caught up with Blossom, Kalen Lander of Snailmate, Jared Kolesar of Jared & The Mill, and BIJOU to hear what they're doing right now, their post-quarantine plans, and the future of the music industry.
Phoenix New Times: What are your plans for this time of quarantine?
Blossom: As a full-time music producer for the past two and a half years, I have many, many hours of social isolation practice under my belt. Things have been mostly normal.
Without gigs on the weekend, however, I’ve had to really adapt to what could be a few months of a gig drought. I spent the last week creating a livestream setup, with my first stream this past Monday (March 23). I’m also trying to work on as much music as possible, although it is definitely harder than ever to focus with everything going on. I feel grateful to all of the producers who are livestreaming their projects so that I can watch and learn and have some semblance of productivity.
What are your plans when this is all over?
Kalen Lander of Snailmate: We have a huge tour of Brazil fully booked in May, and a three-month tour of the States booked in June, so we are really hoping things return to normal soon. Bentley works his ass off to book us tours, so to see them in jeopardy is super dispiriting. But no matter what happens, we are going to continue to write and release music, and as soon as we get the okay to hit the road again, we will!
Do you think the music industry will go through a major overhaul during this period? Are there any changes as an artist you would like to see to better protect artists in the future?
BIJOU: I personally think it's going to in the sense that it will bring all of us together in a lot of ways. Streaming has quickly become that much bigger and has opened a lot of our eyes to new realms in regards to revenue. Touring is a high-risk lifestyle in more than one way, and I think this is going to make many artists realize that they need multiple revenue streams because it's not going to last forever.
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Do you have a message for the kids out there?
Jared Kolesar of Jared & The Mill: Don’t see this as a trial to get through or as a struggle you need to overcome. Look at this time as an opportunity to know yourself better. Up until now, life happened so fast. We all suffer from some emotional or mental health issue because we lived in a world that would leave us behind if we didn’t sacrifice our sanity to be on top of everything. I know financially this will be a hard time for everybody, but I think of this as forced self-care.
Read books, sit and think about what you want out of life, learn a new hobby, and reach out to people you haven’t talked to in a while. It’s time to remind ourselves of our humanity.