The quarantine was a really hard period for bands and artist. We talked to some bands from all over the world to see the real effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic in music.
Today we talk to Flush, a Rock’n’Roll band from Finland!
How can you describe the changes generated by the pandemic in the band’s activity?
The changes were significant. We had just finished the recording of our album the same week the first major lockdowns hit us and had until then had high hopes of promoting that album during summer festivals. Pretty soon we then realized that there will not be many festivals or other live music for a while. This meant we did not have to rush the album mixing and mastering, but we still knew it would probably land in a “weird” time where live promotion opportunities would be minimal. After summer, things started looking a little more positive and up until last week we had some shows in the calendar. Now things have taken a turn for the worse again and we have the first cancellations coming in, the first one being our album release party gig originally scheduled for Friday October 23rd.
During the big lockdown in Spring we also stopped rehearsing for a while as everyone hunkered down, but towards summer we then decided to start playing together again.
What daily activity did you miss the most during quarantine?
Obviously playing together, both for practice purposes as well as doing live shows. Playing together is the reason we have a band in the first place, and this period has greatly impacted the core of our existence. We also like to go out, party and see other bands, so we have obviously not been able to do that either. For a band with our resources and this kind of loud, noisy music, doing online live streams is not easy or feasible. You need a good venue, quality gear and knowledgeable personnel, which is not easy to come by with our resources. Hence, streaming shows were not really for us. We also do not do well acoustically.
Were there any pluses for this period without concerts?
I guess one would assume lots of songs were written, but in our case, not that much new material was created during the lockdown. There is some new material in the works now, but that is mostly from the last couple of months. The quarantine period really did not inspire to write that much. It was a pretty depressing time, and not the activating kind of depressing, more just a passivating time.
How does it feel to return to some normalcy?
It felt great to schedule some shows and start promoting things, but it did not last long. We are based in Finland, where we’ve managed to deal with the virus pretty well overall (our stats are among the best in Europe), but it also means aggressive measures are taken, especially on the entertainment sector. Now we are in another wave of lockdowns where most concerts are being cancelled due to shortened opening hours for bars and live venues. The return to normalcy was a great boost, but it only lasted a very short time.
What plans have you got for the rest of 2020?
Our debut album, ‘It Began as a Mistake’, comes out October 23rd and that is of course a big milestone, regardless of the release party happening or not. We’ll definitely promote and celebrate that, virtually if need be, and we have a few shows still scheduled for November. Time will tell if those happen. It is hard making longer term or bigger plans than that right now, but we will post all news on our website, so it’s worth checking that out.
Do you have any message for the bands or artists who are still in lockdown/quarantine?
Eventually this period will end, and we will have real music again. Let’s be responsible about how we return to that scene and do what we can to keep the few live venues, that we have left, alive. Also, let’s be ready to put on the best possible shows for the audiences. Most people are desperate to experience live music again.
What message do you have for the people who are going to read this interview?
Your favourite bands are most likely struggling and with them the whole industry. I would not worry about Spotify’s revenue streams, but we should all worry about the small and midsize venues that enable live music to still exist. Without clubs and live bars, there will not be rock music as we know it. The big corporations will find their way to make money of some artificial and commercial products that might resemble music, but genuine music, the actual art form, needs live venues. Please support your local and favourite artists, bands, and venues, in whatever way you can. Our society and culture need it.
Interview by Radu Mihai