Home SceneInterviewsCorona Corner Syteria: Quarantine Story

Syteria: 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. On August 20, 2004, I have seen Girlschool in Belgrade and somehow snuck into the backstage where I have met all the girls. Today, one of the girls, Jackie “Jax” Chambers, speaks for Metal Jacket Magazine in front of her Punk/Pop/Rock band Syteria.

Hi! How are you doing during corona outbreak?
I’m doing great thank you very much I’ve  been keeping  myself very busy, even busy than usual if that’s possible?

What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
I think it will be easier to ask what hasn’t been cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus? I look at my calendar and I can see crosses through everything, which is quite depressing to look at. 🙁  Fortunately in January and February this year I was on tour with Girlschool in the UK. I was home for two or three days and then straight back out on tour with Syteria also in the UK, which looking back now is very fortunate as been stuck abroad having done a few shows would not have been good. The calendar was very full for both bands this year.

I think most of the festivals we had booked have all been shifted to 2021 to roughly around the same time, so that should work out okay, though I’m expecting clashes here and there, I don’t think that can be avoided as there will be so many bands looking for gigs next year to make up for this year.

How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
Syteria  had just released our second album ‘Reflection’ Feb 21st, so just beforehand and we were getting great reviews plus the gigs were going fantastically well… then it hit!  We were in Swindon at the time and there had just been 2 deaths there that day from coronavirus so of course there was hardly anybody at the gig that night, and other gigs we had sold tickets for and were doing quite well, had to be pulled because of it. 

With Girlschool, we had so many festival shows this year and with Tracey living in Spain they were one of the first ones to go into complete lockdown in Europe with so many deaths there, so we couldn’t get Tracey out even if we had to. I think on the positive side though, it has meant a lot of time for musicians to do some songwriting in readiness for new albums.

How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
Well Syteria have been keeping  busy by doing the occasional video from our own homes and then piecing it all together, that’s worked out really well I’ts been fun. 🙂 We’ve also been trying to keep up on the social media pages and have recently done a Live Stream gig… But still of course trying to promote our new album.

We’ve also put out several kinds of different merchandise to keep the band going and all writing new songs in readiness for the third album as well as rehearsing now that the places are opened again. 🙂

What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
I’m hoping that people will really start to appreciate live music again having been starved of it for so long. 🙂 That would be amazing! The reality is, though once we get back out there it won’t be the same as before for a long time, as there will still be restrictions with  social distancing rules in place. 

So maybe not as many in the audiences, and everyone is spread apart which could make for a different atmosphere, no mosh pits that’s for sure lol but still gigs, so lets be thankful for that at least. 🙂

Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers promoters…
I think all of those are going to suffer… And those behind-the-scenes like the roadies, crew,merchandise sellers, printers, those working at venues etc it will have a huge knock-on effect, especially if there aren’t as many people going to gigs because of that social distancing. There could be a lot of closures for some of the smaller venues too, but hoping not! I was chatting to an owner of one yesterday and he is concentrating on turning it into a cafe for now so that he can at least carry on until things get back to something like normal. He was also saying that if the band still want paying and he has to take his cut to pay his staff etc then the prices of tickets would have to be much much more, so I think that could price a lot of people out of going to see live music which will be a shame. 

 Musicians will find a way to carry on as we love playing no matter what… But quite a lot of musicians I can see having to get full-time jobs and just seeing it as a hobby rather than a potential career which again will be a shame for  those up-and-coming bands and all that new talent out there. I think that the more established bands will carry on and be fine as they can play the huge venues where there will be room for social distancing. 🙂

What is your isolation soundtrack?
“Make Some Noise” by Syteria as I wrote this song a couple of years ago now, anticipating the financial crash and the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer as it always seems to be, it seems now, that some of my lyrics were quite prosthetic…

All you girls and boys, it’s time to make some noise,
The writings on the wall, we’re heading for a fall
We’ve reached a point of no return on, a Time for real concern 
Your cupboards may lay bare, some take more than their share
Those greedy hands took so much more, they say all’s fair in love and war.

Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
Besides live gigs I miss going to play badminton every Thursday morning,  it such a small part of the week but that  hour and a half I really enjoy. Most of the other things and people I get to see online so very fortunate in that way and I’ve been involved in quite a few projects so that’s kept  me going.

Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
Not during the actual quarantine as apparently there were only two people allowed to be together and we are four piece bands…. But as soon as the quarantine was lifted we were straight back in there that day with Syteria… And it felt absolutely amazing!!!

Thank you so much! Stay safe!
Thank you too stay safe and well!

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