Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With Brazil's 'Crypta' May 25th, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #6
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Fernanda. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it. So, how have you been holding up during this global pandemic and lockdown?
Fernanda Lira: Let´s say I’ve been doing alright. And by doing alright, I don´t mean being hyper productive all the time, or learning something new, or transforming the quarantine into an opportunity to transform my life, except when I want to. Haha. But I mean I’m doing alright by respecting whatever comes during this tough period. There´s days I’m full power and get a lot of things done, write new music, study, do my yoga. There´s days I just wanna sit back and relax, watch a movie, and eat, bullshit. But there´s days I feel bad, anxious, down, worried about money, worried that someone in my family dies from the virus. And respecting this is the primordial, in my opinion. Taking care and being gentle to ourselves should be our priority. I just try to respect whatever I feel, honor it, but not push myself a lot into it, either if it´s a bad or a good feeling. I just leave things be.
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 wordwide 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?
Fernanda: Indeed I think no one was expecting that half a year would be kinda on hold because of a pandemic. I had three tours confirmed with my previous band that were cancelled, including my first show ever at Wacken, which was my all time dream as a metalhead, so it was a bummer on the beginning; but hey, lives first. I’d rather wait for a year til it´s gone then having our fans dead after risking watching us, no plan can be bigger than actually living to accomplish them. Anyways, now I’m taking the time to rest, take care of myself and produce new music, which I probably wouldn´t have if I was actually out there on the road. It´s still tough, but I’m just try and a take something good outta something terrible, so I’m not overwhelmingly frustrated.
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 two 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?
Fernanda: I´m not to judge anyone, because everyone has different backgrounds, needs, and opinions. But as for me, although I’m in a band and I depend on music to live, I still firmly believe lives come first. If we rush to have concerts again, another outbreak of the disease could be imminent, then lots of people would be sick again, then new quarantines would have to happen. So, I still think the safest and fastest way to put the virus threat out for good would be respecting the extreme conditions of social distancing til it is really safe. I know myself that my band´s concerts can wait, will have to. I wouldn´t risk my health, nor my bandmates, and fans´ health.
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? Do you think the fans even follow those rules?
Fernanda: Haha. To be honest, gathering hundreds of people inside a venue is already a violation of social distancing. We are not sure yet on how the virus is spread, but there´s so many speculations that say it can be easily spread through the air people breath, so honestly, breathing next to someone sick or crowd surfing above them could be equally risky. So, before expecting people not to mosh, I would first not even allow people to be this close to each other breathing the same air.
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?
Fernanda: In Brazil, the situation is I believe even worse for people who work in the music industry. Not only will things take more time here to get back to normal, because the government is very unprepared and unwilling to take care of the situation properly; suggesting people to go back to work even though we reached the peak of the disease being the second most infected country in the world and with over a thousand people dying every day, but it´s also not providing enough basic monetary support. It´s tough. I´ve been trying to help people who worked with us with a little money here and there, many of my friends are trying to work with something else in the meantime, like delivering food for apps and restaurants, but the reality is so tough. I was able to save money here and there over the last years, and now I can survive for a couple of months from it, but soon it will be over and I will have no option but look for another way of getting income, like delivering stuff, or finding something I can make from home, whatever, which I would never be ashamed of.
MPAP: Lzzy Hale, frontwoman for the 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?
Fernanda: I firmly believe that it´s gonna take a bigger toll on musicians. I don´t believe that bands will end or whatever, but I think people in this industry will have to find other ways to survive temporarily. This doesn´t mean it´s forever. I think people will have to adapt themselves temporarily, but it means that after this whole thing, the dynamics of the industry might be different, but slowly things will eventually get back to normal. Also, what I mean by dynamics being different, I think bands will also think of new strategies for unexpected shortages in the future, which will be a good thing. So, whatever happens in the future, bands can be ready.
MPAP: Well, that wraps things up. 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, Fernanda, for doing this interview.
Fernanda: Thank you! Hope you´re taking good care of yourself and hold on, it´s gonna pass!
MPAP: One last question before we bring this to a close. Are you prepared for the murder hornets? Geez, we are only halfway through the year, so far, can only imagine what’s next, right?
Fernanda: Let´s focus on one plague at a time, hahaha.