In Corona Corner, we are asking musicians how the outbreak has effected them, how did they adapt to the situation, what did they learn. John Connor, co-founder, guitarist and keyboardist of young Northern Ireland band Ravenlight is our guest in Corona Corner today.
Hi! How are you doing during corona outbreak?
Hey! Things aren’t too bad actually, I’m lucky enough to be staying with family rather than living on my own for the moment so thankfully I’m not too isolated, I’m also fortunate enough to be able to work from home, so I haven’t personally been disrupted too much.
What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
We had a number of shows cancelled due to the Coronavirus, we were set to play a couple of shows across Ireland in May and were organizing a show to be our album launch party, but unfortunately they were all cancelled.
Our album “Project Genesis” is also releasing slightly later than we hoped it would, but not by much so it isn’t too bad, we just hope things are a bit better by the time June 26th comes around!
How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
It’s been tough as in the tighter lockdown areas bands can’t even meet up to practice, where we live at the minute you are not allowed to meet up with people who don’t live in your own household so it rules out any kind of practice or shows at the minute. We also have no idea at the moment when our next show will be which is very uncertain territory, and it’s also making us reluctant to try and plan gigs further afield like mainland Europe or even mainland UK, since we don’t know how travel will work, even in 6 months.
How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
With the album coming out, we have a steady stream of new information and content coming out to help keep fans engaged, but we have also been in contact via video chat where we recorded a behind the scenes track by track breakdown of the album where we tell stories about writing and recording each song, we have done a play-through video for our latest single “The Circle”, and we plan to keep doing things like this going forward while playing shows isnt an option.
What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
I have no idea! In our city there aren’t many venues that will even host metal bands, so we are very nervous in case those venues don’t last through the lockdown, it is possible that metal shows in the local scene end up happening in the corner of pubs rather than in dedicated venues which could really hurt the standard, at the moment, I’m remaining hopeful, it might be a while before bigger venues can host music, but I think metal thrives in mid-size venues rather than large arenas so it will probably get back up and running before something like a pop act.
Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers promoters…
I think everyone will be hit pretty hard, but musicians have been adapting and doing things like live streams or releasing new music but until restrictions lift, organizers and promoters really can’t do anything similar as they need an audience to survive. I can’t imagine how tough it must be for promoters with gigs being cancelled and refunds being issued.
What is your isolation soundtrack?
I have been listening to a lot of really laid back music to relax during the lockdown, its been really sunny here so there have been very summery vibes. Timo Kotipelto & Jani Liimatainen did a Blackoustic live stream which I watched lived and really enjoyed, it was exactly what I was looking for.
Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
I really just want to be able to hang out with my friends right now, even going to somebody’s house to watch a movie, or going out for lunch. With the nice weather too, I have been looking to maybe go to a beach and just road trip a day, but since it is unessential travel, it would be irresponsible.
Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
We haven’t had any! Though we generally write remote since the members live all over the country, so even outside quarantine we only have regular practices in the run up to gigs, but Rebecca has taken this time to get a recording system set up to work on some cover songs, I brought my guitar with me to where I’m staying, so we have managed to keep our practicing going, but unfortunately Mike hasn’t had a chance to play his drums for around a month because they are locked up in our practice space.
Thank you so much for your time. Stay safe!