For musicians, the last six months have been impossible. As a studio with over 5,000 musicians regularly using our services, we have seen the car crash effects of covid on the London music scene. Many people have been asking us what we are seeing at the coalface of the music industry.
For creative people, used to working in a band environment, it has been almost impossible to get by. Bands have got out of the habit of simply being in a room and playing together.Many have simply not returned because they have ‘nothing to rehearse for’. No gigs and no one to play to.
What we are now seeing is band and artists who are using the hiatus as an opportunity. I was talking to one band on Friday in reception. They were saying that they are using the current times to renovate their set, to write new material and to get some really good quality recordings of the material.
Another band asked me to have a listen to some new music they’ve written and give a critical appraisal. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the song writing and arrangements they’d come up with. I’d always thought they were a great live band, with amazing idea’s, but they have moved up a level with their new material.
I said this and they replied that they’d always been under pressure to ‘knock numbers into shape quickly so they could be gigged, whereas now we can actually concentrate on getting them right”. One thing I was really impressed with was that they’d put some serious work into the backing vocals and harmonies. They are a band I like a lot and I’ve seen them a couple of times in the last year. It is clear to me that the extra time in the rehearsal room is really paying dividends. They also said that they’d rediscovered the enthusiasm for playing together that had waned slightly after a couple of years of pretty intensive gigging. They said that they’d decided the money was better spent in the studio than in the pub, especially as the pub has no music currently!
They want to be prepared so that when the circuit opens up again, they will be ready and that the people who pay good money to see them will be hear some stand out material. I also discussed what they would be doing with the music they’ve recorded. They told me that as so few people are actually recording band related material at the moment, they have had some great opportunities to get it played on the radio, that would have simply not happened a year ago. They’ve been active on social media and have had a great response there as well. As people are bored at the moment, there is a receptive audience, and they reported that they’d had far more uploads of some new material than they were expecting. They also reported a swift trade on the merch that they sell on their website, driven by the new material.
We’ve also seen some rather good use of social media by a few of the other bands coming through. This helps to raise profile and remind fans that you are still there. Why not consider doing a few live clips etc to keep the engagement going.
Of course, we are entering a new world, no one really knows when things will be ‘back to normal’ whatever that may be. But we are a creative community and there isn’t a better time to get your material to be as good as it can be, without the usual distractions. I am putting the time to good use and tomorrow will be the second rehearsal since lockdown lifted.