Home SceneInterviewsCorona Corner Irij: Quarantine Story

Irij: Quarantine Story

by Vjeran
Meri - Irij

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, Meri from band Irij, shares with us her story.

Hi! How are you doing during corona outbreak?
Hi there Metal Jacket Magazine. Thank you for asking. I’m quite well actually. I seem already accustomed to the hermit lifestyle and in some weird way, I even find excitement in witnessing something that is so completely out of the ordinary.

What have you cancelled/postponed due corona virus?
I’m not gigging very often anymore, so it hasn’t effected me that much, fortunately. I was extremely lucky to play two amazing shows with Turisas, right before everything kicked off. Other than that, I had nothing planned apart from rehearsals and songwriting sessions.

How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
The impact is obviously cutting very deep and correlates with enormous financial losses, not only in the music world! I believe that it could substantially change things in the music industry for years to come but maybe not only for the worst.

Nevertheless, professional bands, clubs, festivals, technicians and promoters are deprived of their income for an unforeseeable future. That is very dramatic and will force a lot of people out of business and into thinking about a Plan B, meaning they will have to focus on a new professional career altogether. This could potentially kill a lot of bands, I’d say. It’s a rather grim outlook really.

How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
The majority of my fans have been very loyal for over a decade, through the rough and the smooth. I connect with them through music mainly. Sometimes I share my photography or literature suggestions, which can help build inspiring conversations around common interests. Some of my fans have become friends over the years!

I have re-launched my online shop via Bandcamp, offering my records for a very fair price. People seem to truly appreciate that, and I’ve been lucky to receive a lot of orders from all over the world, without even live streaming myself jumping around my bedroom or speaking about things I know absolutely nothing about (like the virus). Hahaha…

I find most attempts of over-engaging with fans during this quarantine (and in general), quite embarrassing. Artists shouldn’t be going around asking their fans what they want them to do, for money. That is much like prostitution, isn’t it, haha… I just think Integrity and authenticity have always been the foundation pillars of arts and artists should go back to do what they were meant to do. Grace the world with their art, not more, not less.

What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
I can see a lot of people, particularly Metal musicians, deriving quite a bit of inspiration from such a difficult and unprecedented situation. It could grant a thriving new start to many innovative people out there, as it feels like a time of contemplation has been forced upon us. Depending on how you look at it, it doesn’t necessarily have to have a negative outcome.

Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers, promoters…
I think they will all suffer in their own way. Not sure if we should look at it as a suffering competition though. Hahaha… no, honestly, I really don’t know but I think the ones who are most inflexible will also suffer most. Time will tell.

What is your isolation soundtrack?
Silence, fire crackling and a lot of unfinished and also brand new tracks of my own…

Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
My nephews and the rest of the family as well as two very close friends of mine, whom I hadn’t had the chance to see since the lockdown began. I also miss the local farmer markets and book-shops.

Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
Rehearsals and songwriting sessions with my Guitarist are the only thing I had to cancel during this period. I just write by myself again but I am quite used to that too, it doesn’t feel strange to me at all.

Photo: Vedrana Domazet 

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