The coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic effect on our day to day lives. We’ve gone from eating in restaurants and going to work, to sitting at home, glued to our computers and taking up new hobbies.
Live music has been indefinitely postponed due to this pandemic, and for the fans of music around the world, this has been an incredible blow to the way we live our lives. What few of us are thinking about though, is how this has affected the musicians set to play the shows we had planned on attending.
I see artists and musicians doing live streams and utilizing other creative outlets through Instagram and other social media platforms, but I wondered what kind of practical and emotional effect the pandemic has had on these individuals. Therefore, I’ve decided to interview three touring artists and musicians, Jaguar Jonze, Mothica, and Brad Truax to find out what’s going on behind the scenes.
You may not know Brad Truax by name, but you definitely know projects he’s involved with. He’s been the touring bassist for Interpol since 2011 and was also set tour with Stephen Malkmus (Pavement/Silver Jews) in the US in June and July and potentially Europe in the fall. When I asked him how it felt when the tour initially got cancelled, he said that it was “crushing” because the tour was a “new project” that everyone was “excited about doing and preparing for.”
Truax then added: “It very much confirmed the gravity of the situation which was heartbreaking and unknown, . . . this was a first for many of us.”
Australian artist Jaguar Jonze had a similar response to this. She was in the midst of her very first U.S. tour and the cancellation of her following dates was devastating both emotionally and financially.
However, Jaguar Jonze understood the necessity in the cancellations. She said, “ultimately, I just wanted everyone to be safe, . . . everything else will work out later.”
For dark-pop singer/songwriter, Mothica it was a bit of a relief. As an emerging artist who just made the move from New York to L.A., travelling for shows is a big financial burden. She said that sometimes she ends up losing money on tour due to travel costs and paying live band members. Besides that, she said, “I was bummed to not be able to play some really cool shows, but wasn’t surprised when I saw a lot of other tours getting cancelled.”
What I’ve come to gather is that prior to this pandemic, none of these artists could have ever anticipated something like this happening; having to cancel a show in Minnesota due to a snowstorm, sure, but cancelling an entire tour due to a global pandemic was a challenge no one was prepared to face.
What I was most interested to find out from these artists was how they’d been spending their time away from the stage and coping with the isolation. Seeing glimpses of bands performing covers on Instagram Live or donating to COVID focused charities got me interested in what else they might be doing.
Jaguar, unfortunately, got COVID herself and was sick for two months. “Musically, I couldn’t do much,” she said. “I’m now working on my second EP which is interesting because the whole band is recording it, isolated in their own places.”
Outside of music, Jaguar said she’s been working on a lot of art in connection to the music from her first EP which she has been having a lot of fun with.
Brad Truax has decided to take a step back from music. “Before quarantine, I was doing so much musically, with my own projects, and other projects, . . . I wanted to take this time to observe more than engage,” he said. For the first time in a long time, he isn’t touring, so he’s been able to catch up on things he can do at home that aren’t necessarily possible while on the road. He said he’s been “catching up on all the content he’s collected throughout the years, books, records, movies.” He’s also been cooking a lot, but he says a big part of his days are spent trying to stay sane and living in this unknown one day at a time.
Mothica, on the other hand, has been doing virtual songwriting sessions with her friends and sitting down at the piano when she can, but she said the main thing she is trying to do during this time is focus on her mental health.
As someone with a real platform to talk about issues that matter to her Mothica has always been open about her struggles with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. It’s very empowering for fans and friends to see that she’s constantly working on these things. She’s also been “making Tik Toks, watching movies, binging Dead To Me, eating junk food, and making art, in that order.”
I asked all of these artists what advice they would give to readers who are struggling to stay creative while quarantined and all of their answers were pretty similar — try new things and be nice to yourself while you do so.
These musicians are all coping with an isolated situation that they never could have expected and are making the absolute most of it and encourage you to do the same.
If there is anything to take away from this, it is that, be gentle, do what you can, and just try to take care of yourself, and in the words of Brad Truax, “stay hard!”