Time for the next edition of Metal Anarchy’s “Music In The Age Of COVID-19” series, the feature where I discuss the ongoing pandemic with various musicians. This time I have an interview with Tete Essien.
METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?
TETE ESSIEN: I’ve been alright, it’s much easier to stay out of trouble when there’s nowhere else to go. It’s given me time to focus on certain things, things that maybe I was neglecting for a little while. The situation isn’t ideal, but I’m trying to use it for some form of betterment. Is it working? I’d like to think so.
METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?
TETE ESSIEN: I’m always working on music, that rarely changes. The only real difference right now is that I can maybe do more of it without the guilt of feeling like I should be paying attention to other things, seeing as life is hold on a bit for some of us. Imma have to work on that still, that’s the catholic in me screaming.
METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?
TETE ESSIEN: Forget about me playing shows, I ain’t done that since before we started slicing bread! I think the last one I went to see was a mate’s band, back in October. It was a good one to finish up on to be fair. I saw a bag of people I hadn’t seen in time, and I went with the best person I know. If the next gig I go to or even play is anywhere near similar to that one, I’ll be a lucky man.
METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?
TETE ESSIEN: I’ve played a couple Zoom acoustic gigs for a couple of people and they’ve been alright. I get to try out things I wouldn’t usually like playing covers and sharpening up on that kind of thing. Does make me miss the full unabridged version more though. I think all this time away is just gonna make me more appreciative of the fact that I even get to do any of this at all.
METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?
TETE ESSIEN: We can’t sprint back to that place because we’ve got a responsibility to keep each other safe as well, but I certainly hope so. You think about gigs missed and festivals postponed, and it can start to feel like opportunities to make memories that you’ve lost out on. And then there’s plays and musicals, I’ve got people who work in that world, so I know through them how much this whole situation has set people back. It’s almost criminal to me when I think back at all the gigs, I didn’t bust a gut to get to, I didn’t know how good I had it. Being at gigs with the people I’m closest to is some of the most euphoric I’ve ever felt, and I’m minded to say that I miss that more than playing even. Patience is the key word, but I have faith that we’ll mosh dirty in sweaty pits again.
METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?
TETE ESSIEN: I really think this is a good time to get into new music, really delving into artists you maybe wouldn’t have before, and getting into new sounds. Do that and think of how many more gigs you’ll wanna take yourself off to when the gates are opened. It’ll be like greyhounds released at the races. You can stay engaged with your favorite artists in a lot of ways now, doing that and keeping up with what they’re doing can be a boss thing to do. It’s kind of symbiotic – the artist and fan feeding of each other’s energy in subtle ways. Things are gone right now but not forever, and when it all bursts I think the colours you’ll see will be like something else entirely. You won’t have realized blues could be so blue, and I for one am looking forward to that.