Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With Vanilla Sugar

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 Vanilla Sugar.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

VANILLA SUGAR: I have been pretty good, actually! I have my introvert moments, so I can handle staying busy at home. I think that is the key to staying sane during all of this.

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

VANILLA SUGAR: I have been using this downtime to work on different musical ideas for sure. I enrolled in school to finish getting my degree in music since all of my tours have been postponed. It’s really helping me look differently at the way I compose.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

VANILLA SUGAR: The last show I played and attended was the end of what was supposed to be the first leg of a 2020 tour. It ended in Long Beach, California and was really fun. Little did we know that everything was about to be shut down. How crazy is that?

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

VANILLA SUGAR: The Vanilla Sugar team is working on specifics to make sure that we present the best audio and visual experience possible!! There are so many possibilities to consider when doing things virtually. We want to make sure it is just right.

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

VANILLA SUGAR: I do believe that the live entertainment industry will recover. I saw videos of a show recently in New Zealand, where the pandemic is more under control. It’s just like it used to be, crowds of happy people enjoying the music together. I grew up in Houston, Texas, where a lot of people I know still reside. I see them attending local shows now. People are still hungry for the live music experience even during this pandemic. I think that a lot of people are still refraining from shows until there is some sort of vaccine. I am one of those people, and I am definitely chomping at the bit.

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

VANILLA SUGAR: I have a merch store online with a huge variety of clothing and accessories! It can be found at Facebook. I have also been trying to connect with fans more – I host livestreams every week. Mondays at 7pm PST I livestream video games on Twitch. Thursday nights at 7pm PST I host an “Ask Me Anything” session on Facebook and Instagram. On Saturdays, I cook gluten free versions of meals that fans suggest on Youtube and Twitter. It would be awesome if you can pop in!

Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With Hybrid Spirits

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 Hybrid Spirits.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

HYBRID SPIRITS: It has affected us in different ways, from the financial impact to the lack of routine, normality and social contact. The first lockdown in England in March 2020 was very difficult. The second lockdown began on 2 November and hasn’t been so difficult as people are still allowed to go into work where necessary. Voodoo Jade became disabled in 2012 and has got used to being fairly isolated over the years. As she is placed on the clinically vulnerable list by the government, she received free food parcels for a while as she was unable to get shopping. However, other people in England were forced to wait for hours in long queues to get into supermarkets, and struggled to get groceries delivered when ordering online. We’re sure that we’re not the only people who found social media and internet a huge help during the lockdowns. Although it’s not the same as being in the same room with people, it has certainly been better than nothing!

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

HYBRID SPIRITS: In a way, the first lockdown was great regarding music because no one had to go to work and so we had time to write and record new music. We managed to get our latest EP “Mirage” mixed and ready for release on Halloween. We are lucky in that we all work on music individually and remotely, and we don’t play live at the moment, so we could keep on making music. Our hearts went out to other bands who we know all over the world who were no longer able to get into the studio or play live. We wrote the music for a new song called “Rain or Shine” a few days before lockdown, and the lyrics hadn’t yet been written. We thought that lockdown would be a perfect opportunity to write a song which reflected the mood and the situation, addressing feelings of solidarity and giving hope to people. A lot of people were fundraising in England at the time to help with Covid-19 related causes, and we decided to release the song as a charity single so that we could play our part too. The money which the single has raised so far is helping people across the world who have been affected by Covid-19, and we will continue to raise funds until the end of April 2021. Let’s face it, it doesn’t look as though the pandemic will disappear overnight unfortunately.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

HYBRID SPIRITS: As previously stated, we don’t play live at the moment. However, a few days before lockdown, Voodoo Jade and Nigel saw The Mission on tour in Birmingham UK. They were about to leave the UK to tour Europe, which sadly had to be cancelled. We felt sorry for The Mission and other bands regarding loss of income, merchandise sales etc.

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

HYBRID SPIRITS: No were aren’t sorry! It’s really difficult as we don’t live close to each other, and Voodoo Jade is disabled, making it difficult for her to travel.

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

HYBRID SPIRITS: We’d love to think that the entertainment industry will recover, but will it? Will things ever be the same again? We have heard of local music (and theatre etc.) venues struggling, forced to close due to lack of income. Will there ever be a time when people can go to a gig as normal again? Will people have to be socially distanced in the future and how can that be managed? There seems to be more questions and issues than solutions. However, other indie musicians who we know are now allowed to play small, socially-distanced venues again, so maybe life and gigs as we know it will return to normal one day.

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

HYBRID SPIRITS: As far as we know, all bands have taken a hit in one way or another. It would be great if people could please support artists by purchasing their music directly. Our music can be bought at Bandcamp. The income which bands get from streaming is minimal, but it all helps. Even if it helps get up those algorithms so music is played on other playlists, it all helps, so a big thank you to everyone who can help! Our music can be found on most music streaming services. Just look for our songs “Fear” or “Mirage” and you’ll find us! We usually fund the costs for mixing and mastering ourselves, but even this is difficult at the moment, as we’ve also taken a hit in personal income. Due to the first lockdown when people were first furloughed from work, we’re still recovering financially, and we won’t be the only musicians who say this!

Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With Spacejam

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 Spacejam.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

SPACEJAM: I allow myself to correct the word Pandemic because we are really far from it in terms of numbers of people sick because of it and the lethality of the disease is so weak! So I would rather say it’s a PLANDEMIC and not a pandemic, but that’s another debate … To answer the question, we have created a lot, whether it be songs, videos etc … For us musicians, creators, I think it is the only way to hold up otherwise we’d go crazy. We had the chance to go record in Switzerland at the Onemusic GVA studio and worked with a very nice team. We are really very proud of the result.

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

SPACEJAM: Yes most of the time and also we spent a lot of time researching real info to understand what is going on. Staying awake is the key to being able to remain human and not let your brain fall asleep with all the lies spread by fake news media.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

SPACEJAM: We played “Le Rubis” in Grenoble (France) on March 7th a great venue.

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

SPACEJAM: Yes. We had planned to do a tour in Switzerland and the UK, but almost all the dates were canceled. And for the moment everything is completely at a standstill. The future is very uncertain for many of us, but we will not leave it buried so easily.

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

SPACEJAM: It’s very difficult to say as we speak because we are in lockdown once again. It seems that we are not essential to the economy of the righteous for our governments! I have a lot of friends who own venues that won’t reopen, they’ve lost everything, a lifetime’s work very often and this situation is getting worse and worse around the world. I am appalled by the lack of solidarity of all them great bands with regard to what is happening to the small comers who have contributed to their success. I always see them soliciting their audience for their new album, the last charity and pretending that all this isn’t happening or at least it doesn’t affect them! And what about the multinationals in the music industry, they are more than ever absent subscribers. I think with all the money they’ve amassed over the years, they have to do their part too. As long as our profession remains divided, it’s not ready to recover from what is happening.

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

SPACEJAM: I know life for the fans is as tough and sometimes worse than it is for us, but may they continue to help us by continuing to share what we do, continuing to stick with us, to keep talking about us and to keep on following us. We have only one hurry, and that’s to get back together and share all that we can in these difficult times. Stay faithful, we love you and without you we are nothing. See you soon …

Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With Flush

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 Flush.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

FLUSH: We are still alive and have been healthy, so that is a good start. The first lockdown wave delayed our album launch and made any live promotion of the album impossible, so that was a major blow. We finally then launched the album in October (‘It Began as a Mistake’, launched 23rd October 2020), but the live scene and touring is still pretty much dead. It has been a weird and confusing time, and we don’t know when this will end, but on the other hand, music has been a good relief and therapy for us.

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

FLUSH: Some new music, yes, but as other artists have pointed out too, this period has not been as productive as one might think. We don’t get together as much as we would normally do and without normal life there is not much inspiration to write about. There can only be so many songs about covid and the orange clown in the white house. We are inspired by life and without regular doses of said life, it is hard to be very creative in song-writing. We do have a few new songs in the works though, and if times continue like this, maybe we will publish them as singles or an EP in 2021. Time will tell.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

FLUSH: We had a really good show at the end of January in our hometown, Helsinki. We were in the midst of album recording then and it was only supposed to be a quick, little, one-time gig, but we had a great time, people turned up, and thankfully so as the break turned out to be much longer than anticipated. We are playing a show a week from now, in Helsinki, with our friends, Ninetyfive50. Hopefully, that show goes ahead and a decent amount of people turn up.

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

FLUSH: We were considering these, especially for what was supposed to be our record release party (it got cancelled), but for a band without resources and our volume, it is not an easy thing to do. You need a proper stage, good equipment, and a few extra hands to help with the execution. We don’t have the funds for this type of a production. We also did not want to play our music acoustically before the real versions were available for people to hear.

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

FLUSH: It definitely will, as live music is a fundamental need for people. However, lots of small venues were struggling already before the pandemic, and they will have to fight hard for survival. As said, people want and need music, but the concern is that large and greedy corporations will take over the live music scene completely and mostly offer easy-going, highly commercial background music (“music as a service”) for people to drink and dance to. This is one big part of what is killing music as an artform today. What are the platforms for truly creative artists that make original art?

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

FLUSH: In no specific order, do these things:

– Support your local music venues, as they have an incredibly important role in keeping music vibrant, creative, and interesting.

– Promote your favourite bands and artists to your own network. Share their streams and videos, leave reviews, etc.

– Support us and your other favourites by buying albums and merch, and just in general being there and visibly showing your support. We cannot see you at the shows so unless you make it visible in some other way, we cannot see if you are still out there supporting us.

Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With Winter Hotel

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 Winter Hotel.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

WINTER HOTEL: It’s been quite a struggle. This year was aimed to be a year of releases from us, and we have continued to release all the tracks we intended to this year, but it’s been tough not being able to gig or even tour around those release dates. That said, we’ve been blown away by the response to our singles and we’ve not let the pandemic slow us down at all.

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

WINTER HOTEL: Definitely. We never really stop trying out new stuff, but we’ve definitely had the time to throw a lot more ideas at each other.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

WINTER HOTEL: Last show was the Metal 2 The Masses heat in Pentre. It was a pretty sweet last gig, the first with our new drummer Charlie and it went very smoothly. We saw a lot of folks from the local metal association too.

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

WINTER HOTEL: We’d love to, but we’re currently going through a lineup change so we want to make sure we’re as tight as we can get our sound to be. We also live a fair distance from each other so we use any time together to rehearse or write new stuff.

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

WINTER HOTEL: I’d hope so. It’s looking like there won’t be much funding for the arts after the pandemic, but once regular live gigs are happening again I’m hoping there will be a massive boost in the amount of people attending gigs and supporting their local bands.

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

WINTER HOTEL: Listen out for new material from bands and artists, especially from those more underground/DIY artists. They could do with the support.

Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With Sammi Doll

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 Sammi Doll.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

SAMMI DOLL: I really enjoy time to myself – the social isolation part I feel like I’ve been preparing for my whole life! However, as a touring artist – It has been very difficult to adjust to not paying shows for 8 months out of the year.

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

SAMMI DOLL: Yes! When the lockdown first started, I moved into Kat Von D’s guest house and we worked on adding additional programming to her upcoming album. It’s given me some time to also prepare some acoustic renditions of some of my songs to be released in the upcoming weeks.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

SAMMI DOLL: I was a guest vocalist for my friend, Josie Pace, at her concert in Hollywood back in late February… that was right before the lockdown hit Los Angeles hard.

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

SAMMI DOLL: Yes! I actually was able to perform a live concert with my full band and light show last month to support my newest single ‘AN OM IE’. It was streamed and recorded live from the Bourbon Room in Hollywood and can be seen HERE. I have some ideas for some acoustic / in-home recordings for the next coming weeks as well, I’m not sure which platform yet – but it’s in motion.

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

SAMMI DOLL: Art will always prevail… As long as people still have fire in their hearts for music, there will be a demand for live entertainment. I think this pause has really helped people appreciate that.

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

SAMMI DOLL: Buying merchandise and supporting your favorite artists through Patreon or whatever platform they have … It’s SO HARD right now without the visibility of touring to make ends meet for so many artists … we are all in this together.

I’m getting ready to launch a Patreon of my own which will give my fans and followers an insight into what the recording process is for me, from conception to execution and everything in between… I’m very DIY so I feel there will be a LOT of content to digest and hopefully inspire others to get creative!

Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With Eternal Closure

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 Eternal Closure.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

ETERNAL CLOSURE: It has been tough not gonna lie haha. We had plans that were either put on hold or removed entirely. We’ve been bored and stressed at the same time, it sucks. We’ve had our “new” vocalist Maggy for almost a year now and we still haven’t been able to play a show with her, it’s really weird.

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

ETERNAL CLOSURE: Absolutely! We just released “Color of Our Fears: Rediscovered” which is a special edition of our second album. The 3 added tracks have re-recorded vocals on 3 of the original songs. It gives people a taste of what we sound with Maggy. We’ve also never stopped writing new material. We have some really kickass new material.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

ETERNAL CLOSURE: Our last show was at the Phoque-Off in Quebec City and it was our last show with our wonderful friend Alexandre Desroches who helped us tremendously while we were looking for a new permanent vocalist. For a show we attended, Phil and I (Olivier) went and saw Haken, The Contortionist and Devin Townsend just a few weeks before everything shut down. Quite the evening, a nice way to go out haha.

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

ETERNAL CLOSURE: We’re still in a bit of a transition internally and are focusing on new material at the moment. Also, we can’t even be in the same room at the moment due to the restrictions in Montreal. We can’t jam let alone play a show for people sadly.

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

ETERNAL CLOSURE: I really hope so. I’d like to think that people miss going to shows so much that when it all comes back, it comes back stronger than ever.

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

ETERNAL CLOSURE: Not much people can do for us specifically except stream “Color of Our Fears” non-stop. However, buying merch/CDs has never been more important. If you can afford it, help the bands you love the most. I see many bands calling it quits, I hate it.

Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With Abby K

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 Abby K.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

ABBY K: I have been doing pretty well! I’m trying to focus a lot on school and building my career on social media.

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

ABBY K: I have written so many new songs over quarantine! In addition to this, I’m also taking a college songwriting class to take my music to the next level. In times like this when it isn’t very possible to play live music, you have to get creative to continue getting better.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

ABBY K: I played March 12th in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a great show and I can’t wait to play live again. The last concert I attended was Motionless in White back in February.

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

ABBY K: We actually played a Livestream show back in July and recorded a Live EP from there. We are currently working on some details, and will be releasing the EP soon!

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

ABBY K: I do think the entertainment industry will recover. Music will never just go away. People live for the energy at concerts and the feeling of being a part of something. Music is everywhere and I know someday bands will tour again.

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

ABBY K: If you see a band post on social media, share the post! Tag your friends, and help the bands grow their audience. If they release music, like I just did, give it a listen and share it with as many people as possible!

Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With Leaving Eden

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 Eric Gynan of Leaving Eden.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

GYNAN: I think everybody is having a difficult time. We were fortunate with the good weather having shows outside. As the cold starts to creep in it becomes much harder. The overwhelming feeling of empathy for humankind can be overbearing and one wishes they can do more for others. Sometimes you can feel powerless, but then even the smallest things one may do to help another can add up in the end.

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

GYNAN: Yes! We ended up recording our new album titled “Fable“.

The World Is Yours

The Rose

Detached

We normally don’t start recording until August. Where most of the album was previously written I feel it’s pretty prophetic. Our last album titled “Dream With Me”

Blood Runs Cold

House of the Rising Sun

Dream With Me

Released in May of this year, by then we had already finished recording Fable which is due to be released in January 2021.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

GYNAN: We were on tour in March down south in the USA. We finished up with Daytona bike week. We headed back during the lockdowns. It was pretty surreal heading back all the way up the East Coast watching what was going on.

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

GYNAN: Yes again. We’ve been able to release quite a few music videos during this time. Some from our last album and some from our new album before its release. As the cold sets in we will definitely be doing some live streams.

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

GYNAN: I believe it will always recover but what’s lost in the meantime is very sad. When people have to put their lives on hold for such an extended period of time it seems catastrophic for some. When you look at the entire music industry and you think about all of the people involved with big concerts it just becomes direly exponential. The biggest factor is people living in fear and I’ve always said fear is the root to all evil. They say money is, but I say it’s fear of not having money, fear of losing, etc. Fear puts people in such a vulnerable mindset. Fear also causes stress which then attacks the immune system, opening people up to illness. When you look at the local bar and the local bands and see all these bands not having the opportunities, it causes bars to close forever and bands to ultimately break up. I’m saddened but with hope. Hope for things to turn around. Hope for a generation of new musicians being able to stay in the game.

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

GYNAN: I think that with the streaming platforms such as Spotify, Pandora etc., it doesn’t cost people anything to listen to their favorite bands but the bands still get paid. To me that’s a win for all granted, the pay is so little, but if people got hundreds of thousands of streams then they will end up making some money. Videos get monetized so that’s another way of helping bands. Where people are really living their own Hells right now, they just don’t have the resources to help others, here are two ways that can help their favorite musicians for free essentially. Nice chatting here and peace!!

Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With Unveil The Strength

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 Unveil The Strength.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

UNVEIL THE STRENGTH: As a band, we took a couple of months off. I mean there was a lot of uncertainty and honestly, I’m not sure anyone was paying attention. Currently have been writing new music, working on our next set of art, and our brand. There is always something to do or learn. So we have been keeping busy.

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

UNVEIL THE STRENGTH: Absolutely. There are no tours or live shows we can do right now. We always are writing ideas.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

UNVEIL THE STRENGTH: I think I went to a Three Days Grace/ Breaking Benjamin Show. I really miss live music. I’ll watch anything from Slayer to Chris Stapleton.

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

UNVEIL THE STRENGTH: We aren’t opposed to it however our guitar player is in London, so we have to wait until things open up.

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

UNVEIL THE STRENGTH: Yeah, I do. We have survived grunge and disco. We have more technology than we have ever had in my life so I would like to be optimistic and say we will figure it out. As far as venues and bands I don’t know. Everyone will take a hit from this but metal fans are loyal and resilient.

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

UNVEIL THE STRENGTH: Yeah. Head to our store and grab a piece of merch. One piece of merch is the equivalent of 8000 Streams.