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Spell: 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.  Canadian Spell bought me with this wise words: “I know that musicians and youth are absolutely resilient and we will always find new places to play – secret locations, illegal venues, house shows, abandoned places – music will always go on and heavy metal will never die!”

Hi! How are you doing during the corona outbreak?
Hi, and thanks for having us! We’re doing OK, we’ve been very fortunate. We’ve lost work but none of us have been sick and we’re getting by. We’re using the time to work on new music and prepare a few special surprises which will be coming your way pretty soon! Prepare for the anti-kosmic magick…

What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
We had USA and Europe tours planned for this summer to promote “Opulent Decay” (our new album), and those had to be cancelled as well as our local release party and some shows around western Canada. It’s pretty strange to release an album at the height of a global pandemic! I hope that our music at least brought some joy to people while they were isolated in their homes, and we’re currently working on rebooking those tours for next summer!

How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
Well, of course it’s really hard to make any money as a band if you can’t tour and perform, but I’m very hopeful that this pandemic might have some positive effects as well: if larger international tours remain out of the question for the time being, perhaps local shows will open up again (when it’s safe to do so!) and help bring a greater focus to local bands and smaller scenes! The internet and global metal scene is great, but I think it’s also caused us to lose the small, close-knit local communities that used to exist in the 80’s and 90’s, where each city or country might have it’s own distinct sound and support powerful local bands. It’s harder to do that nowadays when you can easily listen to bands from anywhere in the world, but I think having strong local scenes helps a lot with creativity and developing unique styles and new types of music! Perhaps we’ll have an explosion of creativity and local diversity that will be the “silver lining” of the pandemic! 

How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
A few days ago, we played our first “live performance” since releasing “Opulent Decay”. It was filmed and recorded and you can watch it on our instagram (@spellofficial) now and on Youtube soon. We’ve been recording covers of some of our favorite obscure songs that many people may not have heard of, so you’ll get to hear those soon as well. We’ve also done fun stuff like bandcamp sales and giveaways, and we’ll be doing some more of that sort of thing, so stay tuned! 

What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
Well, I’m hoping that it will be more diverse and stronger and more vibrant than ever before, with a greater focus on local scenes and growing unique, distinct sounds within our communities! I love live music, but there are some bands (I won’t name any names…) that rely on their exciting live shows even though their songwriting isn’t very good. I’m hoping that people will take this time away from live shows to focus on writing truly great songs rather than just getting by on their stage antics. That’s always been my goal in SPELL – to write beautiful and lasting songs, above all else.  

Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers promoters…
That’s a pretty depressing question. We all will suffer, but I think venues will suffer the most. It’s tough for musicians and promoters, but at least we can take on other jobs in the meanwhile. If venues don’t get support and can’t make rent, they will permanently close, and it’s not so easy to start back up once they’re allowed to open again! I’ll be very sad to see some of my favorite classic venues shut down, but I know that musicians and youth are absolutely resilient and we will always find new places to play – secret locations, illegal venues, house shows, abandoned places – music will always go on and heavy metal will never die! 

What is your isolation soundtrack?
Oh man, we’ve been rocking hard during isolation! Nothing much to do other than write music and listen to music. Right away I’ve got to shout out our pals Freeways and their new album True Bearings. It’s absolutely phenomenal, classic Canadian hard rock! We’re also digging the new Maggot Heart, Reveal — Scissorgod, Idle Hands’ Mana (from last year), our local pals Actors and Auroch, as well as our label mates Wytch Hazel and the latest album by Aktor. Oh, I love the new album The Eternal Resonance by Sweven, too. There’s so much great new music out these days! Of course we love tons of older stuff, too: lately, Kate Bush, Diana Ross, Nina Simone, Sam Cooke, Accept and Russ Ballard! I could go on all day…  

Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
I miss being able to spend time with friends in larger groups and not worry that I might infect people I love, but other than that (and touring, of course), I actually don’t miss that much! At first I missed restaurants and bars a lot, but I’ve been having a pretty good time learning to cook all kinds of new stuff, I’ve started brewing cider and wine, I’ve been fermenting (hot sauce, sauerkraut, kimchi) and spending a lot of time reading books and listening to records with a nice whiskey in hand. I could do this for a while. 

Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
Unfortunately we haven’t been able to rehearse much yet. We’re working on music separately and sending recordings back and forth. The live performance we did (with an hour or so of rehearsing beforehand) was the first time we’d played together in months! However, things are looking better around here though and infection numbers are staying low, so we’ll be rehearsing together a lot more in the near future – and we’ve got a lot to share! 

Thank you so much for your time. Stay safe!
Thank you! Best wishes and stay healthy!

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