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 Arya.
METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?
ARYA: We were slowly recording lead vocals for the upcoming Arya album For Ever: Italy has been the first European country to implement a lockdown, which has been particularly strict, and we had to wait months before we could finish it. At least now in Italy the pandemic situation seems much better than in most other European countries, so the initial sacrifices have lead to some results. Considering that most of the songs were composed in 2018, and the instrumentals were mainly done by summer 2019, it has taken a really long time for us to finish this album, which will finally be released on October 20. I worked on the album mix during lockdown, despite half of the vocals being still missing, in order to use all those days of worrying pseudo-house arrest in a productive way, and to have the album ready as quickly as possible when we could have met each other to record again. We tried to track something remotely, but it didn’t work out, it’s difficult to record yourself if you don’t have any experience or anyone taking care of the engineering side.
METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?
ARYA: Yes, I recorded many new ideas that may become Arya songs in the future. I’ve also worked on a collective album together with many Italian musicians, most of which I still have never met in person, whose profits went to fund the local Red Cross. I recorded many guitar and bass parts for it, using other people’s ideas as references, and a famous audio engineer (Riccardo Pasini, who recorded bands such as Nero di Marte and Stormo) put all the material together in a coherent way and mixed it. The end result is available here: https://desertsessionhomeedition.bandcamp.com/.
METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?
ARYA: I think it was a show I played with Arya close to our hometown of Rimini, Italy. I remember arriving to the venue directly from Rome after a day of work and a five-hour train trip. I was really exhausted. There also were very few people attending.
METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?
ARYA: I’m not sure about livestreams, but I’ve just purchased the equipment to record us as a full band inside our small studio, so we may work on some filmed performances. As of now, anyway, live shows are allowed to take place in Italy with some restrictions. Now that summer has gone and outdoor concerts can’t take place anymore, there will probably be fewer of them, but I’ve already watched and played some. It’s also not a good moment to plan further gigs, as the situation could get worse in any moment.
METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?
ARYA: I don’t know really. In Italy it wasn’t easy to get by as a band playing the music we do even before the pandemic. There are very few people interested in following underground music, venues aren’t many and not too well-organized, in comparison to ones in countries like the UK, Germany or Central Europe. On the other hand, big pop artists, especially those singing in Italian or Neapolitan, used to gather huge crowds and to give work to many people. I think the Government is subsidizing those categories of workers during the pandemic, so that when it will end, everything will start again without too many issues. Meanwhile, many small venues have closed, but others still can host concerts at the moment, and are able to make almost the same (few) money they were making before.
METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?
ARYA: We’ll be releasing a new album on October 20. It’s called For Ever, and it’s the darkest and heaviest music we’ve done so far. If you want, you can pre-order it at https://werearya.bandcamp.com for just a few euros. However, if you’re a Spotify user, you can pre-save the album here in order to be notified when it’s out: this really helps us as well https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/aryaitaly/for-ever. Watching some of our videos, and following us on Youtube, Facebook or Instagram is really appreciated!