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Dark Arena: 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. Juan Ricardo in front of Dark Arena dedicates this interview to his good friend and band co-founder guitarist “Tall” Paul Konicija, that passed away last year.

Hi! How are you doing during corona outbreak?
Hello everyone. Firstly, I would like to begin this interview by saying that everything I do concerning Dark Arena is in tribute to my good friend and band co-founder guitarist “Tall” Paul Konicija, that passed away last year…. I am doing exceedingly well considering the Corona Virus madness the world has been plunged into. I am virus free and so are all my family, friends and band mates of my various bands. Just the fact that I have to say that shows the extent that all our lives have changed but life does go on and so does making Metal music.

What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
As I sing for several bands and play bass, I ended up having multiple show cancellations…. including a performance at the Dallas Powerfest with my band Sunless Sky supporting Helstar on July 19th and a show in support of Dragonforce…. But possibly a bigger disappointment was that I had to cancel the 3 day metal fest that I am the organizer of here in the Cleveland, Ohio area call Pure Steel Metalfest.

How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
For me personally and for all the members of my bands, the biggest change has been in our rehearsal and studio schedules. Being safe and not getting sick is of course our biggest concern but we definitely want to keep making music. Luckily the Dark Arena albums are either released as in “Alien Factor” or as in the new album “Worlds of Horror” is completed and is being final mixed, which means I don’t have to be physically in the studio. Currently I’m recording a new Sunless Sky album, but this is being recorded in our own studio, so we know no one else will be there or going in and out of there.

How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
Keeping in contact and in the eye and ear of the fans are one of the most important things right now. A great outlet this for this is Facebook. Without being able to perform shows, which was one of our usual way to having fans hear us, social networking has become increasingly important. Of course, music videos are another important avenue…. Personally, I really put a lot of attention to have videos prepared to be released in time to promote our albums.

What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
Prophesying the future is really difficult in the fact that in my wildest, craziest dreams, I never imagined the world as it is now. One thing that seems to be for certain is that concerts will have the audience in masks and jars of hand sanitizer at the entrances and positioned around the venue. What seems obvious is that things may never be the same and may not be able to return to our carefree times as everyone will concerned with social distancing. Another major avenue of income for bands is merchandise sold at shows and I foresee a gradual removal of cash as a means of purchase, so that bands will have to implement card only sales.

What is your isolation soundtrack?
As I am currently recording a new Sunless Sky album, I am not listening to a lot of other bands but what I am listening to is: Primal Fear “New Religion”, Dream Evil “Book of Metal”, Pagans Mind “Celestrial Entrance”, Blind Guardian “Night at the Opera”.

Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
Well…. Since I have continued to record and practice with my band, I luckily have been extremely busy and really haven’t missed a lot of the things most people have…. So mostly it has been the interaction with the fans. I will say that typically I’m going to a couple of different band rehearsals during the week and different studios on the weekends and I haven’t been able to do that. I am trying to limit my exposure to people outside of my bands.

Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
Like I said…. I have been having rehearsal with my bands and they are done in the typical way with all of being in the same room. I will say that we waited until after the intial outbreak of the Corona Virus and waited to see if any of us got sick and when none of us got sick, we then limited the people we are exposed to our family and ourselves.

Thank you so much for your time. Stay safe!
In closing, I would just like to thank you and all the fans for all the support and wish everyone good health. Stay Safe and Stay Metal.

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