Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With São Paulo, Brasil's 'Armored Dawn' July 23rd, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #31
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Timo. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it.
Timo Kaarkoski: It's always a pleasure, so no need to thank.
MPAP: So, how have you been holding up during this global pandemic and lockdown?
Timo: Worst year ever. I'm pretty convinced, none of us ever, even in our worst nightmares, was expecting something like this actually to happen, other than perhaps in some Hollywood production. The year 2020 was supposed to be a great year for Armored Dawn as well, with shows booked in every corner of the globe, but… well, shit happens.
MPAP: 2020, the year when almost every concert or music festival has been postponed or canceled until 2021. And 2020 was supposed to be the year of some big reunions. Everyone was excited to see the Rage Against The Machine and the My Chemical Romance tours. So, let's back up and go over the first five months of 2020, the beginning of a new decade. There was the possibility of World War III happening. There were deadly bushfires in Australia. Then we had the acquittals in the Trump impeachment trials. Prince Harry and Meghan decided to step away from the royal family, and NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and his daughter, along with seven others, unfortunately, died in a helicopter crash in California. The deadly worldwide COVID-19 virus. And then, get this, we even had the Pentagon officially releasing UFO videos. So, what did you have planned for the year before all this madness began? Before all the toilet paper hoarding?
Timo: We were supposed to be spending a good part of 2020 touring in support of our album Viking Zombie, but that plan, of course, went to hell. Oh well, now I have more free time to hang around the house and play with the kitties… And I am talking about real kitties, and not about women… lol.
MPAP: This coronavirus has been devastating to everyone around the globe. By mid-March, the coronavirus pandemic had brought the multibillion-dollar concert industry to a screeching halt. Now months later, Sammy Hagar, from The Circle, ex Van Halen, says concerts can't wait for a COVID-19 vaccine. Of course, every band wants their fans to be safe, but when your only source of a major income is concerts, it hurts when you have to postpone or cancel a tour. A vaccine could take 12 to 18 months. Do you think he's right for saying concerts can't wait any longer?
Timo: Sammy Hagar was supposed to play here in Sao Paulo with his band in April, I think, but that, of course, was canceled. I think he's right. Lots of people are suffering, as there are no shows. Not just us musicians, but everyone else who works in the background. Managers, promoters, merchandise people, all the guys from the road crew of the bands, equipment rental companies. Yes, I do realize this is a serious virus, but for example here in Brazil, during the whole time, we have been using subways and buses, loaded with people and that's supposed to be safe, so why it would be any more dangerous to be close to others in shows. Lots of rock clubs are not going to reopen when all this is open. The longer it takes to be able to get back into normal life, the worse the situation gets.
MPAP: The experts warn there will be no moshing or crowd surfing when concerts finally return. (Laughing) Who are these experts, and obviously they have never attended a metal music show, right? They say moshing, and crowd surfing are violations of social distancing and must be absolutely prohibited during this pandemic. What are your thoughts? Can you have a metal show with no moshing and crowd surfing?
Timo: There have been some drive-in shows with people sitting in their cars, watching the show. I wanna see how a moshpit works out with cars. But seriously, I'm sure a danger of breaking some bones in a moshpit is a lot bigger than the possibility of getting a COVID-19 virus.
MPAP: Do you think the fans will even follow those rules?
Timo: Hmmmm, no.
MPAP: With the exception of a megaband like Metallica, or even Iron Maiden, the coronavirus is hitting most musicians pretty hard, what have you or your band been doing to get through this crisis?
Timo: I'm quite sure in 2021 there's going to be a lot of new music released, as all these talented musicians are stuck in their homes for months. That's what we have been doing as well. As we are unable to tour in support of Viking Zombie, we decided to start working on new songs for the next album. We do still plan to tour as soon as possible, and we are in no hurry to release the next album, but at least when the time is right, it's already been recorded.
MPAP: Lzzy Hale, frontwoman for the American rock band Halestorm, recently posted on her social media, saying, 'most bands won't make it out of this.' Do you agree with this? Do you think some bands will go out of business like a lot of restaurants are during this pandemic?
Timo: Good question. I'm not really sure what will happen, as a lot of musicians surely feel like quitting music and moving on to something more guaranteed, but at the same time, all businesses are suffering so much because of this, I don't know if there are any work opportunities in other areas. After all, millions of people around the world lost their jobs as more and more companies keep closing their doors, many forever… but, knowing how we, musicians are, most of us just can't stop. Playing music is in our souls. It's what we were born to do, and for a lot of us, that's all we actually can do, so I'm optimistic most of us will be back.
MPAP: We hope this all ends soon, and we can all get back to a venue and watch some good live music while having an overpriced beer. We hope you stay safe and stay healthy. On behalf of myself, and Metal Pulp And Paper, thank you, Timo, for doing this interview.
Timo: Humble, thank you very much for all the readers. Stay safe, keep supporting local bands, and keep the metal flame alive!