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Caveat: 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. Joe Sikorski, guitarist of Canadian band Caveat, shares his Corona experience with us today.

Hi! How are you doing during corona outbreak?
Well, let me as you and your readers this in return, have you ever had one of those pandemics? You know the one where you and your bandmates spend countless hours pushing digital faders up and down, boosting and cutting EQ’s around 3khz on the guitar master bus, and just as your finish up and sign off on that new latest mixdown you see that meme that says “Everything is Cancelled”? I’d say we are doing ducky otherwise. 

What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
The main thing we had to postpone was the release of our new album “Alchemy”. We had it all nice and ready to go, and we even took the time to clean up our Keisels and even Matt (our bass player) even changed his strings and then Corona happened. If we knew this was going to create a delay of the game this long, we probably wouldn’t have made him change his strings. Who are we kidding? Matt’s bass rig is worth more than my old jeep. Come to think about it, His patch cords are worth more than my jeep. 

How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?

Well, it’s preventing Amanda (our vocalist) from running out and giving great big hugs to all our friends and fans at those shows we have cancelled over the last 18 months. It has cut into the CAVEAT kissing booth revenue heavily as a result.  We are confident that we will be back playing in Feb 2022, but I can’t guarantee the kissing booth will be. 

How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
Frankly, this wasn’t too much of a concern. It is easy to herd cats if they can’t leave their cardboard box. But seriously I think people had a lot of time to think and some explored their music tastes during the various lockdowns, as well as explored the internet. Perhaps some went looking on Spotify to find new artists and find new and exciting ways to support them. Like exploring the dark web buy a DDoS attack to unleash on Spotify for their gross underpayment of musicians for their compositions, and artistic merits, but I digress.  I for one got a six-month reprieve on remixing the new album over and over until everyone was equally unsatisfied about the mix. Didn’t want to upset anyone specifically more than the next. Honestly, I like it and I think our friends and fans will too!

What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
We did get a bit of insight more recently with one local Metal festival that was cancelled in 2020 have in 2021, and they had a great turnout, and they managed to do it in a lull between outbreak waves. We also see pent-up demand for shows from people who are itching to get out of their basements and get back out into the public. Turnouts to shows that I’ve seen or heard about have been above average. But some tours are still cancelling 3-4 months out, so I guess we will see

Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers promoters…
In the word of Barney from Napalm Death: “You Suffer” Granted the context was not very clear, but the message was clear.  If there was a contest that suffered the most, I’d say the fans. Not being able to access live music or see amazing bands is punishing, and quite frankly Musicians and Bands had to evolve or perish in the process. While some musicians used the time wisely to craft better water pipes from driftwood, others used their time to write new and exciting music. I do know a few promoters that got smart and came up with revenue streams from governments sources and found new and better ways to do things. Again, evolve or perish. So in the end I really think the fans had it worst because while they had the most options, they had the least control.

What is your isolation soundtrack?
Depends on the day. If I’m in a great mood I’ll put on some Porcupine Tree or Steven Wilson, and that will knock me down a few pegs. Really digging the latest Haken album, as well as the entire Caligula’s Horse catalog. AOTY from me this last year was Vola “Witness”. Loved that new album. 

Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
I miss the people; playing shows is like a family reunion, except your extended Metal family is way cooler and you don’t have to buy them gifts at Christmas. I mean you could but giving your friend in that satanic black metal band a box of chocolates is awkward at best, especially if they are diabetic, or allergic to nuts. I’ll still to my immediate family for gifts this Christmas, but I still miss my random gigs acquaintances.  

Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
After a couple of waves of Lockdowns later we started rehearsals again. Then we stopped for the 3rd Wave, then we restarted again. And then we paused for a month for some reason, and then we have been jamming again more recently, and now we are looking at another wave again. So basically, like a surfer, we are timing our rehearsal between waves and run into the studio to jam, and then run back out as the next wave comes crashing in. I can say that our rehearsal facilities bandmates are certainly socially distancing themselves, as I don’t recall hearing more than 1 band ever in our rehearsal building on the night we pop in for a few hours. Looks like it is time to grab the surfboard and head to the pad for a rehearsal. It’s a good thing we have a large rehearsal room, so we can spread out nicely, and it is modestly ventilated, so the only thing we really need to worry about is heat. Did I mention we are from Canada?

Thank you so much for your time. Stay safe!

Thanks again! Hey, did I mention we are in a band? New Album Feb 2022! Check us out!

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