What's New: Emerging Artists on Lockdown
Emerging artists are loosing their footing as they struggle to climb the ladder into the music industry, if nothing had knocked them down before, Corona Virus certainly has, even if it is just by a few steps. Lucy Jordan, gets the opinions of creatives that are bubbling under the surface, with interviews with The Fullers, Les Futiles, Kerosene Gin, Patti Paige and Tobias Lever to name a few.
It's very apparent that the music industry has taken a huge hit as a result of COVID-19 and the lockdown, with every artist and business in the industry feeling the strain on their productivity and creative output.
It's no surprise that "the outbreak has prevented the connection with fans through live performances" (The Fullers explained as they went on to say that their biggest show to date at The O2 Academy Islington had been cancelled) but what will the live scene actually consist of when venues can re-open? It is likely that with social distancing in place there will be decreased capacities, people will be more apprehensive about attending events, and with many grassroots venues under strain before the lockdown, we could see many of them close their doors for good.
"Those venues, rehearsal spaces and studios that provide us with a space to grow, could never return. Then where do we go"- Patti Paige
As Tobias and Patti Paige both mentioned, emerging artists rely on small venues and independently run businesses as stepping stones in the industry, and "those venues, rehearsal spaces and studios that provide us with a space to grow, could never return. Then where do we go" Patti Paige questions, and for the businesses that do survive the lockdown, they will be in huge demand.
"The market will be full of new releases that is for sure! At the moment there is a lot of solo artist/ singer songwriter content online as this isn't affected by social distancing however it will take some time for bands to get started again." - Les Futiles
Theres is no doubt that the industry will be saturated with new releases once lockdown is over, however; it has been difficult for bands to record new material, as social distancing prohibits them from rehearsing and recording in a studio together. Therefore, the majority of these new releases will be from solo singer songwriters as they are less affected by social distancing.
There was a mixed response to how the emerging artists will combat getting swallowed by the sea of releases after lockdown, with some saying they will "record and release as soon as possible...and be the first off the mark" (The Fullers have their EP 'Hippodrome' out 15th July), while others say they will finish writing as a band when social distancing ends and create a "polished video to accompany"(Kerosene Gin). Instead of waiting to finish EPs, some emerging artists have decided to release tracks as singles or doubles, at the start of lockdown to ensure there is not a huge gap in their creative output (Les Futiles have their single 'Black Heart' out now ingroov.es/black-heart-6q).
"We think the virus, and more specifically the lockdown, has had a detrimental impact on the music industry. The gap between the privileged artists with connections and less privileged ones will only widen"- The Fullers
It's not all doom and gloom, all artists are finding new ways in which they can reach their audience and keep them engaged. Kerosene Gin have set up an online pub through Skype, gathering friends and other local bands to talk about music, play a few tunes and get pissed. They say "it's a way [they] can build up [their] fan loyalty and have a jam". Kerosene Gin aren't the only ones who are finding new ways to connect with their fans, Patti Paige hosted a gig in Brixton, where she lugged her gear up onto the roof of her flat and played to the surrounding people as they watched from their gardens (perfect use of social distancing if you ask me). The Fullers, Secret Volcanoes and Les Futiles, as many other bands and artists, are taking the time to write new songs, work on promotional materials and ideas for the accompanying videos.
Overall, COVID-19 and lockdown has been a bit of a stinker for emerging bands and artists, but they all seem to be using their creativity to keep us entertained.