By Layla Maguire
COVID-19 has pushed musicians across the globe back to where they started: performing in their bedroom.
This time last year, gigs and concerts were among the main events to look forward to and became a regular weekend outing for many, particularly in the small music venues of Glasgow. The loss of this during the pandemic has struck a chord for both musicians and fans, who can no longer experience the surreal atmosphere of live music.
Pleasure Heads, a four-piece indie rock band from Falkirk are one of many bands feeling the effects of not being able to perform.
Alan Sharp, the band’s bass player, discussed some of their biggest achievements before the pandemic struck.
“We played with the band Vida last year at the Liquid Rooms and supported Neon Waltz a few times. Neon Waltz has been a supporting act for Noel Gallagher more than once, so we were playing with big bands.”
When the pandemic forced Scotland into a strict lockdown, the main songwriter in the band, Ross Coulter, never found it difficult to continue writing songs as his passion for music made it a simple hobby during isolation.
“We’ve done quite a lot during it all, probably due to the fear of not having enough when all this is over. We’ve got eight songs and demos done already”, Alan stated.
Having to turn to technology to share their music, the band decided against live streaming online after their first attempts.
“We’ve been offered a few live streams but we’ve said no because we don’t want to put something out that is poor quality. There’s quite a lot of them where the audio is behind the video and the video is grainy.”
Technology was also an obstacle for 21-year-old singer songwriter from Glasgow, Paul Clark, during lockdown.
“I started with a band as a side project and we found it hard trying to do everything online, so I’ve taken a back-step from that and continued just to write for myself.”
What started as a set-back turned out to be a benefit to Paul, as the time he had to himself allowed him to learn new skills. Pre-lockdown, he primarily performed acoustically and was heavily assisted with producing the tracks, but he is now equipped with the skills to be more independent early on in his career.
He has shown no signs of allowing COVID-19 to get in the way of his music, as he has already planned ahead to a project for Christmas this year, named “12 Days of Paulmas”. From 12th-24th December, he will be producing a cover of a Christmas song each day.
Pleasure Heads also intend to record more songs and are driven by the possibility of being back on stage by next year, with plans of playing with Neon Waltz again at the start of 2021.
Molly Gribble, the lead singer of an indie band from Glasgow named Fuzzy Lop, has also continued writing and rehearsing songs with the band despite the setbacks the pandemic has caused.
“We have a gig booked for January that has been postponed three times and it’s probably not going to happen.”
She explained that a large part of being a musician during the pandemic is optimism that there may be a gig in the future, which is enough motivation for them to continue doing what they love.
Although the negative impacts of the pandemic have not discouraged musicians from pursuing the craft, Molly believes that further support from the government and recognition for the music industry is required. With £4.5billion being added to the economy by the music industry in 2019 and 210,000 jobs being provided across the country, the government must provide the support for musicians that they deserve rather than encouraging them to retrain in a different field.
“The industry had to fight just to get £50million for the entire music industry which is ridiculous. If all these venues shut down, there’s going to be nowhere for us to go anymore.”
To give musicians the opportunity to reach their potential in the industry and make sure that gigs, concerts and festivals start up after the pandemic, take a look at what you can do to help.