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Aquila: QUARANTINE STORY

by Vjeran

In Corona Corner, we are asking musicians how the outbreak has effected them, how did they adapt to the situation, what did they learn.  Mark Arruda shares his Corona experience with us today.

Hi! How are you doing during corona outbreak?
Hi. My name is Mark Arruda and I’m the vocalist for the metal band, Aquila. Thank you for having me. When the Corona first broke out I didn’t believe it at first. Then you watch the news and a lot of people got sick and hospitals were filling up. I got scared like everyone else about the unknown after. Luckily I was still working during the pandemic because many businesses had to close and lockdowns started happening. It was scary stuff and we didn’t understand what was happening. No one understood it. Here in Canada, we were locked down for a long time, we were getting really sick of it by the end of it, but we had to stay safe. Luckily the vaccinations came when they did.

What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
To be honest, the band was on hiatus since 2015 or so. Then in December of 2019, Matt and I started talking and wanted to get together again to jam. During the whole pandemic, we wrote 4 new songs and released an Ep called The Great Fire last month.

How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
Well, there are no shows and no tours, so bands can’t really make money. That’s how touring bands make their money, being on the road constantly. I’m sure a lot of bands out there had to find ways to make money like getting regular jobs. Many bands didn’t release albums in 2020 or 2021 because they couldn’t tour for them and promote their album on the road. That’s pretty hard for them. But I’m sure bands wrote a lot of music during their time away from the road. There’s going to be a lot of killer music coming out.

How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
I started a YouTube channel where I’m singing covers and playing original music. Releasing my own music and stuff, I’m just having fun with it. I wrote my own album this year as well called Mark Arruda and The BLOODLINE – Lockdown. I had some guests on it and that was really fun to do. I played guitar and sang on it and mixed the album myself. It was fun to do and it was a learning experience. With that and working on Aquila stuff, I stayed really busy writing music.

What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
I think it’s going to explode. People have been indoors at home for too long. I’ve been to 2 local shows and the crowds were excellent. Metal is back with a vengeance.

Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers promoters…
Everyone suffered from the musicians to roadies and especially the venue owners and staff. A lot of venues had to close their doors for good because they couldn’t make money to pay their bills. I’ve seen many good venues shut down because of this. It’s sad.

What is your isolation soundtrack?
Everything from Slayer. A lot of Slayer during the pandemic.

Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
I miss hanging out with people. Sitting around and chilling with metalheads and your friends. You miss that connection and bond.

Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
We didn’t rehearse during quarantines and lockdowns. Here in Canada, we had like 5 of them. It sucked. We all have families to take care of. It would be selfish of us to practice, so we were very responsible. We have to be smart out there and be safe.

Thank you so much for your time. Stay safe!

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