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Artach: Quarantine Story

by Metal Jacket

In Corona Corner, we are asking musicians how the outbreak has effected them, how did they adapt to the situation, what did they learn. Artach is a two man black metal band based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Sruthán (guitar, bass) shares his Quarantine Story with us.

Hi! How are you doing during corona outbreak?
We are doing pretty well all things considered. Luckily we’re on an island that has kept a lot of the plague out. It’s here of course, and there are health measures in place, but when we look at what has happened in other places we can’t complain too much. Humans are overall pretty dumb and can’t learn from their mistakes, there is rampant mistrust in science, people ignore what caused this pandemic in the first place and refuse to change their lifestyle in any way, etc, so the other side of the coin is that watching the news about the pandemic is also highly infuriating.

What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
Mainly personal things like travel to see concerts etc. We had a couple of lockdowns here which put working on recordings on a standstill for a bit.  Some of the music was written while in lockdown along with its lyrics and ideas of isolation likely crept into a few ideas.

How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
For bands who tour, no doubt this has been devastating. For a band like Artach who do not tour, it doesn’t have a big impact on how we operate. The full fallout of this is still unfolding. I’m sure more bands will dissolve as a result, venues will keep closing, etc.  It’s not a good time for the music industry.

How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
With the release of our album “Sworn to Avenge”, hopefully, we will keep those who liked our first album pleased and win over a whole new bunch of people as well.  We have a brand new lyric video for “Into the Frozen Woodlands” out from the upcoming album, and we will soon have another, and then a music video on album release day June 25 2021.

What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
Much the same, but perhaps with the surviving bands being even more determined and definitely into it for the long haul. Live shows will probably not be super well attended immediately as there will be some who are hesitant or who are still awaiting full vaccination. But once that passes, I can imagine the hunger to see live bands will then be at an all-time high. Let’s just hope that there isn’t a pile of albums all about COVID, we are already tired of hearing about it.

Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers promoters…
I’d say the suffering is all pretty equal.  Maybe venues have suffered the most because at least with a band they can still release their music, but a shuttered venue for a year… Man that’s a tough one to fathom.

What is your isolation soundtrack?
Well, the isolation hasn’t impacted what I listen to that much. I still buy new albums and listen to a lot of classics and new releases from bands I love.  In terms of more black metal stuff, I’ve been listening to bands like Immortal, Abbath, Satyricon, Uada, Mgla, Darkthrone, etc.  Surprisingly, I also went back to a couple of bands that I liked when I was very young before I discovered the glory of all things metal and dug into their stuff and bought their old albums on vinyl as well.

Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
Not seeing friends and being able to jam/record consistently has been the biggest bummer… I do like solitude and just wandering in the woods which requires no crowds, and in fact is best when you don’t see anyone anyway! Ha!

Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
We only had 2 lockdowns here, so outside of those, Artach was able to get together to work on songs and record them. I write the essence of the song alone, then the two of us get together to work out the details, tempos, the overall song’s feel, then we record it right then and there.  That’s how we operated before the pandemic and we’ve been able to keep working that way for the most part.

Thank you so much for your time. Stay safe!
Thanks for supporting the underground, and thanks for supporting Artach!

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