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 King Bong.
METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?
KING BONG: It’s been quite hard for our band: our music has a strong improvisational element, so we need live interaction. We’ve been working on a new project in the intervals between lockdowns, but we don’t know when we’ll be able to record it because it needs a bit of rehearsing and we’re going into lockdown again.
METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?
KING BONG: We have actually recorded something! For us it’s a first: as I said, we’ve always needed to play live in order to interact with each other while we improvise. This time we exchanged tracks via email like most bands do but we were also able to retain a bit of improvisation. The sound is quite different from what we usually do, so we’re very happy about it. We’ll probably publish the fruits of our lockdown experiments by the end of 2021.
METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?
KING BONG: We played a show on 2/14/2020, just two weeks before Milan shut down for the first time. Our latest attended shows were actually the same for the whole band: we saw SunnO))’s three-day residence in Paris at the end of January 2020. Both events feel like they happened in another lifetime!
METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?
KING BONG: We just started talking about it: we aim to do something before summer, lockdowns notwithstanding.
METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?
KING BONG: That’s very hard to say at the moment. Assuming we ever get this virus under control, I honestly have no idea how much time it’ll take to get back to big gatherings. Huge bands will be able to invest a lot of money and they’ll resume touring, but I don’t know what will happen to smaller bands and the industry around clubs. We’ll have to recover from all the clubs that have closed, the workers that have moved to other industries and so on.
METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?
KING BONG: Sure, they’re the same things we should always be doing, not just during a pandemic: look around you and help those that are struggling, give money to charities, donate clothes and food and bring the people around you to do the same. Most cities have collection points for donations of every kind, directed at helping those workers whose industry is currently on hold because of the emergency.
More specifically, in several countries you can donate to organizations that are helping show business workers. And for bands, you can go on BandCamp and buy albums and merchandise directly from musicians. Keep an eye on BandCamp Fridays, when they wave their transaction fees and all your money goes directly to the artist. We can’t’ go to concerts, so I re-invested part of that money and my record collection has been expanding at an alarming rate!