In Corona Corner, we are asking musicians how the outbreak has effected them, how did they adapt to the situation, what did they learn. Today, Grob, bassist of Serbian Black Metal band Kolac, shares with us his story.
Hi! How are you doing during corona outbreak?
Hello Metal Jacket Magazine! Grob here, in the name of Kolac!
Basically, I welcomed the virus outbreak with arms wide open! As I’m not working at the moment, I finally have enough time for everything I’ve been putting aside. As I usually use my vacation days on travelling, this time there is no other option than staying at home and catching up with everything I’ve been missing. So, I’ve done a lot of reading, watched a number of movies I never had time to. Of course, there is a lot of new music to be discovered. A lot of bands are releasing their old concert videos, so that is something I try to follow, especially since it is a big question when we’ll be able to see a live concert again. Naturally, there’s a lot of sleeping going on, as another question is when will there be enough time to sleep again. As you see, I’m still keeping myself busy. Only this time I’m busy with stuff I actually enjoy doing. The world is in a total disarray but I’m fairly happy.
What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
Fortunately, nothing. Back in December, on a long journey home from our show in Bucharest, we had a lot of time to discuss Kolac’s next moves. Eventually, we came to conclusion that we need to take a break from live performances in order to focus on creating new material. Thus, there were no plans for the near future and no need to cancel them due to the world shutting down. The band is as busy as always, but there are no activities which should include large gatherings, so we have no bigger objections to the pandemic. At least not as a band.
How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
I’ve read stories of bands being forced to cancel their tours right in the middle, or being stuck somewhere with no way of returning home. Of course, that comes with a huge financial impact on an already short budget, especially with smaller, underground bands. On the other hand, fans are still hungry for music, so I’ve actually witnessed an increase in merchandise sales. I guess this hunger, combined with money left over from not purchasing concert tickets is influencing that. The only problem is the chaos with shipping, but there are solutions for that too. It seems an equilibrium of some sort is present.
It comes down to whether or not you are living off music and live performance. Smaller bands will be the ones who suffer the least, as their income is not depending on their band’s revenue.
Looking from another angle, with this much free time at home I expect the bands to come up with new songs quite fast. So, when this is all over, there should be a global outbreak of new music swarming the scene. That is definitely something to look forward to.
Bigger bands should have enough to keep them going. With all the online platforms for listening and downloading music these days, there should be enough revenue to keep them going as well. The last major shift in the scene, when internet took over, has created a much deeper crisis than this one and the scene managed to adapt and overcome the difficulties. Pandemic is temporary and I expect it will pass in a couple of months. There’s no need to whine about its impact. Bands will certainly survive.
How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
You mean, besides doing this interview? Hehehe…
Our fans are as loyal as it gets, so they don’t need too much pampering. Considering what I’ve mentioned above, that we are currently in the construction phase of our new material, we do not waste time on meaningless displays of us playing around our bedrooms. We will address our fans shortly with some news I will not share just yet, so the fans should be quite content with what’s in store at our camp.
What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
Again, this is just a temporary and short-termed crisis. There will be no major disturbance when it comes to metal. Furthermore, I do not think the scene has stopped functioning. Sure, the concerts are cancelled for the time being and it is unclear when they will return. However, I see albums still being released and sold, so the majority of the metal community is still very much active. Like I said earlier, the ones who spent their time constructively will probably emerge with new material real soon. I just hope there won’t be a flood of those virus themed and life coaching songs to boost morale. I like to think Metalheads are strong individuals that don’t need a shoulder to cry on because of some virus.
Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers promoters…
Again it is a question of who is living off of music and who is not. I believe the venue owners will take the biggest hit. I alone have already seen two venues being closed down for good. The small venues that used to hold underground gigs were barely into profit as it was, so now they are in terrible trouble. That might be the biggest problem once the situation gets back to normal. These venues were the backbone of the scene, giving out chances to smaller bands for performances. I see no major issue for the other participants in the music “industry”.
What is your isolation soundtrack?
There really is no “soundtrack” for this isolation. As a reviewer I keep getting a lot of music to browse through. I’ve gotten the latest re-releases of Bombarder’s albums. Also, I’m going through the black metal scene of the Netherlands. Some excellent names there, like Sammath, Infinity, Asgrauw, Bezwering… Canadian Black Pestilence has a new album coming out, so I’m looking forward to that. Hungarian punk rockers The Hellfreaks are on top of my playlist for a couple of months now. Latest albums by Svartgren, God Dethroned, Nemesis, Dimholt are all among my top picks. Isolation or not.
Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
I’m not missing anyone or anything that much. I’m in constant contact with my friends and family over the various internet platforms. Concerts are a whole other thing, but I’m looking at it from a different perspective. Once they come back, the feeling will be much better, as I will be very much eager to witness the sound, light and the atmosphere of live performance. Speaking of which, that will be a perfect chance for the fans to support the young, enthusiastic local bands until the rock stars get back on their feet and tours. I hope these underground gigs will be packed with people thirsty for some “good, friendly, violent fun”.
Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
No, we’re not holding rehearsals at the time. I’m not sure our rehearsal place is even open during the outbreak. On the other hand, I’m quite illiterate when it comes to setting up online video feeds that will make online rehearsals possible, so the band is stuck rehearsing individually until all of this is over.
Thank you so much for your time. Stay safe!
Thank you very much Metal Jacket Magazine for the interview! Kolac salutes you and your readers! See you soon!