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Black Pestilence: Quarantine Story

by Ivona Bogner

In Corona Corner, we are asking musicians how the outbreak has effected them, how did they adapt to the situation, what did they learn. Founder of Canadian Black Pestilence, Valax, shares his thoughts with us. Black Pestilence is highly recommended for all of you who like unique combination of black metal, punk rock, thrash, and noise. 

Hi! How are you doing during corona outbreak?
Although life has been up and down during this time, I really can’t complain. Like everyone else in the world, both my professional and personal life has been affected by the pandemic, sometimes with positives and sometimes with negatives. Overall, I’m staying optimistic, learning to adapt, and indulging in the pleasures of life.

What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
We had many plans for Black Pestilence this year. In order to support our latest album, “Hail the Flesh”, which was released on May 1st, we had to cancel a number of shows booked in May and June. Some of those shows were going to be album release shows for us but we are still going to host those shows later once gatherings are allowed again. Additionally, we also had an album listening party here in Calgary that we had to cancel.

How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
Unfortunately, live music was the first thing to be cancelled and will be the last thing to return. Now I am speaking entirely about live performances in the traditional sense. Of course, this is horrible for the bands who had to cancel future tours or even worse, in the middle of a tour. However, with the aid of the internet, I see some bands are really taking live streaming to a new level. That is very cool to see. Although I don’t see the novelty lasting long on live streaming as a complete replacement to live performances in a venue, it is an excellent temporary replacement for now. As for other bands who wish not to live stream, this is the perfect time to write and record.

I have also seen an increase in merchandise sales both on my end and for other bands. Fans are still hungry for music and want to support their favorite artists.

I think the most important thing that a musician should do at this time is to adapt. However, that is up to the individual musician or band to determine what that exactly means to them.

How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
Fortunately, “Hail the Flesh” was released at the beginning of May. Promotion of that album started slightly before the pandemic and now after, we have had plenty of content, including music videos to continue to remain engaging during this time. We are also preparing some live performance and play-through videos to continue to keep fans interested.

What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
I don’t think metal will look or sound much different. Maybe there will be a few Coronavirus themed bands or songs which talk about this topic. Out of all the musical genres, it seems that metal is the most resilient and is still plugging away as nothing has happened. Plenty of albums and singles are still being released every day by various metal bands. Once shows start happening again, maybe we will see a large amount of hand sanitizer bottles placed throughout concert venues and mandatory wearing of masks. As far as social distancing goes for metal shows; good luck enforcing that!

Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers promoters…
Most likely the venue owners. They will want to keep their venue as long as possible and will continue to pay rent on it even without any sales. Nobody knows how long this pandemic will last or how long until live venues will be allowed to return with booking shows. Some venues may have the option to provide take-out food service, but for the venues who do not serve food, I really feel for them.

What is your isolation soundtrack?
I’ve been listening to a lot of different music lately. There are way too many bands to list here but I will say that all the dungeon synth albums by Mortiis have been on constant repeat for me lately.

Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
Human interaction without being socially distant.

Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
We did not rehearse when Canada was under full quarantine rules. Now with a number of nonessential businesses reopened, our rehearsals have returned to normal.

Thank you so much for your time. Stay safe!

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