We all heard about COVID-19, we all feel the effects of it and it’s undeniable that the music industry been particularly stunted by the virus. So we decided to help musicians, managers, labels…etc. in our own way: we share their stories and give you the opportunity to support them. This article is constantly updated. If you want to share your story, please contact us via e-mail at email@example.com.
Dean (bassist of the Nita Strauss band)
“March 12, 2020, I wrapped up all my guitar and bass lessons for the day at the Pasadena
School of Rock at around 6:15 pm. “Just enough time,” I thought. On my way out I said,
“See ya later” to my fellow instructors, I didn’t realize just how much later it would end up
being. I walked out the back door, got in my car and b-lined it to Brick by Brick in San Diego to see my former bosses and friends in Static-X. It was a 2-hour drive down the California
coastline, and worth every mile. This was right around the time the whole world was on the
fence about completely shutting down. I did feel a little “on edge” about going to a crowded
place while the world was being threatened so severely, but I knew in my head that this was
going to be the last possible time to go out for a while if this virus was going to be as bad as
they were projecting, and I needed my fix.
Let me first go back, if I may, to June 22 of 2019, the last night of a six week US tour
playing bass for Nita Strauss. While playing a show together in Houston, Texas, I got offered a last-minute opportunity to take a job as a driver for Static-X. Now I was just out on the road for a month and a half, circumnavigating the country, having the time of my life, doing what I love, and now I got offered to hop on a tour with several bands that I’ve looked up to for decades. I took the job even though it meant missing two very important memorial shows in NJ for a fallen brother in punk rock, J-Sin Trioxin, forcing my other band Darrow Chemical Company to scramble for a replacement last minute. This was a big opportunity, I had to say yes. That’s what they always tell you right.
I was offered the job just before soundcheck and had to let them know by the time it was
over. I honestly didn’t know what to do. I sat on the bus for a few minutes and asked everyone on my team what they thought. It was Nita who finally sealed my decision. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “I think this is a major opportunity for your career and you should take it!” So on a whim decision, I made in less than 2 hours, I played the show of my life and completed my second tour with the Nita Strauss band. I packed my bags, canceled my flight “home” to NJ and got off the Hurricane bus and climbed aboard the Static-X/Dope bus to sleep for the night and I’d take over driving the merch truck the next day. I’m not gonna lie, I went from a very close family-like setting to a much bigger tour with 31 strangers across 5 busses. My dream job seemed to have some nightmarish uncertainties. To be clear I was only hired to drive the merch truck venue to venue, then go to the hotel and sleep, but being the overachiever that I am, I made sure to be there for every single load in, merch count, soundcheck, load out, etc.
This was my opportunity to learn the ins and outs of a much bigger production than I was used to. Between the giant LED screens showcasing the ghost of Wayne night after night, the lighting fixtures setting us up for all the highs and low moods, making fully digital rigs punch you in the face or even just the use of teleprompters and in-ear systems way above my pay grade, I had lots to learn. I moved more bins and boxes of shirts in the blistering heat than I ever imagined possible, day in and day out, just to help out. Every single person on that tour was a workhorse, and I wanted to prove to myself that this life is where I belonged. I pestered the crew to help out anywhere I could ask questions along the way. I learned not only about the stage, but also who the crew and band we’re themselves, even their family. For instance, I had the pleasurable opportunity to tell both of Wayne Static’s parents “thank you” with tears in my eyes as they watched 1200 people sing his every word. I got to shoot the shit and hear stories about my idols like Peter Steele, Dimebag, Kirk Hammett and others alike, but most importantly, I came off that tour with 31 friends, a million memories, and future career opportunities.
I went through a whole lot in my personal life on that tour, and many of those road dogs
were right there for me. Just before bus call on July 22 about 2 in the morning in Illinois, I was prepping for a 15-hour drive to Denver, Colorado. I went to the front lounge just to re-up gas and toll money with the tour manager. Xero (static x singer) just happened to be there with the rest of the band, a rare post-show occurrence as mostly everyone hits the sack come bus call, and he asked me how I was holding up. To be clear, I didn’t know him at all before this tour. I told him I was holding it together, but struggling. He was so kind and real with me. At the end of our talk, he looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Keep your eyes on the windshield!” I knew exactly what he meant. I had to focus on the path I set for myself and continue with all the conviction I always do, no matter the pain, no matter the obstacle. I hopped off the bus and into my merch mobile. I set my playlist to his suggested album “Jackie Brown Soundtrack” (because my favorite bands, Type O Negative and NIN were too deep for where my mind needed to be right now) and drove straight on through the night. That lead me to jam the rest of the Tarantino collection and for over 5 hours, I was as cool John Travolta staring at what looked like the opening of the movie “Lost Highway.” I knew exactly where I was going and what to do.
The road was mine for the taking. That is why I made sure to see them one last time before the lockdown took place. This moment, these people, and our interactions, they changed me forever. The relationships we build within our community just like these everlasting memories are in jeopardy. These are scary times and everywhere you turn there are different guidelines and regulations. My hard work did pay off by the way. I was hired by the legendary band Prong as a guitar tech for a tour alongside the “Godfathers of Hardcore“ Agnostic Front, a whole other lifetime of memories I got to live across the US and Canada, directly because I moved those damn shirts and sweat my ass off doing it. That Static-X tour also lead to me living out in Los Angeles, instead of New Jersey, mainly because it ended here and that’s where life had me. On my own, Looking forward. Now while rebuilding myself on the west coast in the fall of 2019, I returned to my roots of inspiring the youth at the most wonderful institution on the planet, The
School of Rock in Pasadena. Why you may ask? Well, that’s because “School of Rock is a
growing, passionate community dedicated to enriching lives through performance-based music.” I became a part of 5 schools in the greater Los Angeles area, the largest franchise in the country as far as attendance went, but like many other times in my life, it was the family feeling that had me hooked.
One factor I deemed to be an integral part of successfully navigating myself on
the west coast was getting my in-person clientele from the east-coast to sign up for lessons via Skype. Who would have known that I was ahead of the curve? I had taught online for a few years now on and off and had a pretty good system in place, but all my hardware and guitars were in NJ. I took various trips back and forth stuffing my suitcases, gig bags, and backpacks with all the gear I could fit and mailed what I could. This now normal “concept of online teaching” was hard at first for some clients to have faith in at first for various personal reasons, but they soon came to see that even though it may be different, it was still very effective and allows for even better scheduling options. I had to work with various hardware options to make the best possible product for the student at first, but it’s still great just phone to phone. Another important part was pushing the sales of digital products as all my merch still resides in NJ to this day. So between these mediums, I was seeing a steady growth in my business as well as my job. Like so many others I truly saw 2020 as “My Year.” So now as we entered the “Voluntary Stay at Home Order” in mid-March, School of Rock Corporate rolled out a complete rewrite of its business plan and best practices to 100% remote teaching in under 1 week, effectively minimizing (not eliminating) our loss of students. We did suffer a loss of enrollment as many students and their parents have been impacted in countless ways, but with a series of briefings and online meetings every few days, we maximized the amount fun and education available to our students in a time of need. It was so severely impressive to see the organization roll out. They chose Zoom as the platform for us to teach on, something I’ve never used before. This came with 1,000,000 more tricks to learn and navigate.
One of our largest hurdles at first glance was group engagement including our 4-7-year-olds in our “Little Wing and Rookies” programs, but we have such a supportive and great community of teachers. We’ve all worked so hard together sitting in on each other’s classes, giving pointers, collaborating on lesson plans, assembling slide shows for each other’s masterclasses, as well as acting as each other’s IT diagnosticians. We as a whole became closer and stronger. We had to, and we all knew it without ever having to say it outright. Sometimes you just get a great team, and that team has a run for the championship. Well, I thought I was well versed in teaching online, but I had no idea of the tools available to educators on real teaching platforms. This is the future no matter how we move forward, or so I have come to believe in lieu of the times. The accompaniment of technology to the plague era is something we should all be fortunate for and learn from.
I have been studying “disruptive companies” for the last few years to build my own
business and brand “Dean”. Even brainstorming about concert-goer’s phones while waiting for the band to take the stage, or for a “digital VIP” type access. School of Rock showed me how to take a punch, think outside the box and conquer. To be clear I was already teaching online but was completely unaware as to just how efficient it could be. The brick and mortar industry is at risk. Companies that have online options are the future. Now that’s not to say that companies don’t need a building or physical products anymore, but it seems like it’s going to take us a long time to recover back to where we were before this all started, especially considering the “live music scene.” 2020 has already been a year of several biblical plagues and I don’t see the world getting any more forgiving as time goes on. It seems that the best way to survive is to create value for your fellow man on digital platforms where ever you can, even for free if needed to grow brand awareness.
Fast forward to today, I kept on with my plan and after rebuilding myself over the last 8
months, and made a plan for my 12-year-old son to spend Spring Break with dad in Cali, but like everything else, we had to postpone the trip. We canceled it immediately at the word of a “voluntary quarantine” coming from governing officials in mid-march. I couldn’t risk sending him out here, or myself to the highly devastated New York Metropolitan area. As much as I just want to see his face in person and squeeze him and never let go, his mom and I just couldn’t. Touring taught me that the world was a lot smaller than I thought, but not now. That 3,000 miles separating me from my son, my Shepard, my best friend brings upon a depression that’s hard to keep back at times. So just like when on tour, we talk, we text, and we Zoom. It’s great because I can help him with his homework better than ever before.
The purpose of sharing these snapshots from my life is to express the importance of
connection and community right now. Those virtues can grow no matter the environment.
My School of Rock family stuck together. I haven’t seen a single employee in person since the day I stormed out the door for the love of Rock, but we hold regular meetings, we have a group text (that I labeled “The Greatest Team on the Planet”), and we just started a “happy hour” zoom meeting where we just hang with teachers from other schools as if we were out having dinner or at each other’s gigs. We share stories of the road, our new songs, our youtube videos…etc. I can’t wait to get back into the school with my melodic misfit family, but for now, we will rise together from this cloud looming overhead because we are stronger together. The future is here. The future is digital.
I do have to wonder just how many stories like these are going to be
missed out on and what the final aftermath will look like. I myself currently have 3 tours,
including Europe and South America, of which I’ve never been, that hang in the balance of this viral tsunami that has landed across all shores. I can look at this as a setback, or I can take this punch to the gut and lean into it with a haymaker. I chose to be inclusive, not divisive. I choose education and discipline to guide me through the times of uncertainty as they are normally presented, including my near future and beyond. My main takeaways from this “quarantine” are both negative and positive at times, but there is just too much negativity out there in the world.
I’m going to focus on the positive. I’m going to continue studying my online mentors such as Gary Vaynerchuck, Seth Godin, Charline Li, and bring my findings and studies to my students so we all know how to keep growing at this time. If I’m not mistaken, both Shakespeare and Newton constructed their greatest accomplishments while in quarantine during the plague, so imma give it a shot. I’m going to continue building my online presence as DeanMusicOfficial on all platforms. I’m going to make videos for Youtube, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. I use DeanMusicOfficial.com as my hub for all things relating to my plans. Lessons, consultations and digital products such as my solo album “Life Lessons” can be found at DeanMusicOfficial.bigcartel.com.
Please also visit here to schedule a free trial lesson for any of our group sessions. I am going to make sure to exercise every day, eat right, play guitar every day, write every day, talk to my son every day and stay connected until I see you on my next tour or maybe even in the classroom. In the words of Xero “Keep your eyes on the windshield.”
Marius (vocals) and Ben (guitars) of On Atlas’ Shoulders
“We started On Atlas’ Shoulders as an epic heavy metal project back in 2018. After completing the lineup with Leo and Björn, we immediately started writing our debut record “Invictus”. Scheduled for release in June 2020, we couldn’t wait to show the world what we had been working on. We had poured our heart and soul into the release, covering all steps of the process ourselves: songwriting, recording, mixing, mastering, even the logo design and all related artwork. We had planned to play as many shows as possible to support its release.
However, as we all know, the pandemic hit. It disrupted everything, and we had to make a decision: postpone the album release and wait for a better timing in order to properly support it with gigs…etc., or release it despite not having had the chance to build a larger following yet. We decided to not let anything stop us and released our debut ‘Invictus’ in June 2020, in the wake of the pandemic. And simultaneously, we made a conscious decision: to put all the energy we had built up for the stage into songwriting and follow up our debut with an even stronger second full-length album. And now, months later, we are proud to be able to start releasing our first singles in anticipation of ‘Hyperion’, our second full-length, which will come to life in late spring 2021.
If anyone wants to support us and this second record that means so much to us, you can follow us on social media (e.g. Instagram), Spotify… Links to all our platforms, music, merch, and more can be found on www.onatlasshoulders.com.
Stay strong and rock on!”
John (vocals, guitars and drums) & Sophie (vocals and bass) of Hand of Kalliach
“Hails! We’re Hand of Kalliach, a husband-and-wife two-piece playing atmospheric celtic metal, hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland. We have not yet been able to play at any gigs due to COVID-19 restrictions, but hope to later in 2021! We started writing in summer 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, the project had been something we had wanted to do for some time and the restrictions served as a good prompt to do so. John has previously played a fair amount in metal bands in the UK, but our debut EP Shade Beyond which we released in December 2020 was the first release Sophie has ever been involved in.
Our writing is inspired by the mythology, landscape, and sometimes very dark history of Scotland, particularly the western Isle of Islay where half of John’s family is from. Islay is a bit of a nexus of cultures, from Scottish, Irish, and Norse heritage, and there is a huge amount there to inspire. The name ‘Kalliach’ is a play on the word for an old Scottish hag god of winter, called the ‘Cailleach’. In Celtic mythology, the legend goes that she lives at the bottom of a whirlpool of the coast of Islay, where John has a family. The story goes she emerges from the whirlpool to usher in winter but is also a creator deity that nurtures life. The dual nature of this sometimes benevolent, sometimes malevolent being was a key inspiration for our sound, which we’re describing as a mixture of Gaelic and Celtic overtones blended with a melo-death metal foundation. Whilst influenced by folk music, the tracks make minimal use of traditional instruments, instead of lifting rhythms, time signatures, and patterns from folk music and adapting them for distorted guitars. We’ve tried to do something quite different with it, so hopefully not something you’ve heard before!
The entire EP was recorded at home during the lockdown in Scotland during 2020, we probably spent four months on it from start to finish, but a lot of that time was mixing and mastering; the actual writing process took just a few days for some of the tracks. In the short time since we’ve launched, we have been overjoyed by the reception from fans, and it has been such validation to even see one listener enjoying and resonating with our music. All we can say is thank you, and if you like it and want to support, follow us on our various platforms for our next releases, which we’re working hard on already!”
“I’m Coldun – Vocalist, and player of some instruments of the band COLDUN.
Thank you for the opportunity to write something about the current situation with corona and the way that affects our music-life.
We are in good luck that this situation doesn’t affect us so bad as heard from many other sides.
The main reason is that COLDUN isn’t a classic rehearsal and live band.
We do our stuff at home and meet from time to time in the studio or elsewhere to talk and drink some beer. OK – that is getting lesser and harder than before, even to shoot some new band pics was hard to organize but most of our music-stuff work on through internet for example.
We only actually work on the publishing of the new album „Grand Sun Ritual“.
Most of the bands I know are pissed off by the current situation and I understand that completely. Nearly all gigs have been canceled and it’s not clear how the development will go on.
Also for clubs, tour-agencies and all who live from the live business will be hit very hard.
As a band, you can’t plan anything except writing and maybe recording new music. That’s whats COLDUN has done. We created a monster of an album in the last 7 years of writing, recording, deleting, re-recording, mixing, and mastering. Now it’s done and we are very happy with the result. Fans of deep, wide, and atmospheric metal music should give it an ear.
If you want to support us please check https://coldun.bandcamp.com
We are a completely independent band without any record label or something like this – so every sale of physical or digital media helps us directly!
Kargáist (vocalist, lyricist of Stillers Tod)
“I’m Kargáist, founder and singer of the Avantgarde Black Metal band Stillers Tod from South Germany. We just released our new album ‘Jupiter’ in the mid of the Corona crisis – for most of the bands out there this would have been bad timing to release a new album because they can’t go on tour to promote their new material. But in our case, the COVID-19 situation doesn’t affect us very much, because we never played live and don’t plan to do so in the near future. To us, the crisis even was an advantage for us: the first lockdown in Germany during spring gave me the time to write new songs for an upcoming split album; and now, in winter, we are in the middle of the second lockdown, which gives us the time to record these songs. I’m the kind of person who needs some isolation to be productive and creative, and I wasn’t as isolated as in 2020 for years – so it seems like the time for introvert artists like me has finally come.
What worries me more than our own situation is the situation for music in general: here, in Germany, many artists, clubs, roadies, and everyone else in the music business don’t get the financial support they would need, so I feel like many of the locations we love won’t survive the crisis. Although we are not a live band, we as musicians – and, of course, as fans – need the concerts, the festivals, and the clubs to get in touch with other creative minds, to connect, and to get inspiration. Without these places and events, we can’t have a strong music scene, and this affects everyone, from live bands to studio musicians and fans.
A positive effect could be that subculture music like Punk and Metal always profited in a creative way from crisis and difficult situations. We now live in a time of fear, danger, the rise of right-winged radicals, financial uncertainty – everything that inspired extreme music over the years. Plus, the breakdown of big parts of the music industry could create a situation where bands have to start from zero; looking back in the music history we see that situations like these often resulted in big underground movements where musicians supported each other, got creative in improvising and strengthened their networks. Look at the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the Bay Area Thrash Movement, or the Second Wave of Black Metal in Norway. I’m excited to see how the current situation will change the music scene and I hope that some of the changes will be positive.
If you want to support us, simply buy our stuff at schattenpfade.de; but money is not the only possible support: also spreading our music, follow us on social media, and listening to our music on Bandcamp, YouTube and Spotify help us to get heard.”
Aeilko (lead vocals & guitar of Hardland)
“Paul and I started writing songs together for the first time around the year 2000. We never intended to start a band but after a decade of recording, they realized some of the songs kinda fit together. We recorded with a few befriended musicians. And after we had mixed the first 10 tracks we got so much positive feedback on our music that we had to release the first album of the project that we had started to call Hardland. Right away we received an overwhelming amount of positive reviews on our debut album that we decided to take it on the road. We found three extra guys (Eric, Marco, and Remi) to become the “band” Hardland. In 2017 we released our debut album, in 2019 our second one (In Control) and as a pre-release to that 2nd album, we released our EP The Nation’s Biggest Enemies, a three-track EP. All albums have been mastered at Abbey Road London by the legendary Sean Magee, known for his work (re)mastering The Beatles, Deep Purple, Rush, and…Hardland!
In 2019 and early 2020 Hardland was playing a lotta gigs, until March 15th the Dutch Government decided to start a “lockdown”. Concert-life came immediately to an end! Some guys in the band lost their jobs/business so they had to take care of that as well. Shortly after that, we had another even more serious thing to deal with: our lead singer Paul had a cerebral haemorrhage. Luckily he survived and has been working his butt off getting back on track.
I started writing new material to record as soon as Paul was going to be ready again. I also started to spend more time online, on all social media platforms to spread the word about Hardland.
Sometime during the summer, Paul started to continue the vocal lessons that he had before his medical issue and soon after that, we decided to record a Christmas song! We had done a version of Slade’s Christmas track during one of our shows earlier on. We wanted to re-record that track but wanted to make it our own, re-arrange it, add our sounds to it and make it a whole new track. It was recorded real fast and within a week we had it mixed and also mastered at Abbey Road again. It’s ready to be released, once we get clearance on the track from the official publishing agent of Slade. But these guys take their time to make up their minds.
We have another 6 or so songs that we’ve recorded the basic tracks for…they only need some final toning up with keyboards and perhaps some more vocal harmonies. Not sure yet when and in what shape these tracks will see the light of day. Maybe as a few singles / EP’s, or maybe as a complete album.
COVID-19 has affected us all a lot like it affected the whole world.
As we mentioned earlier, two guys lost their jobs/business. Although it didn’t happen because of COVID-19, one guy got hospitalized and the other two kinda made it through safe and sound. (knock on wood!)
Request for help: People who love 80’s style melodic alternative rock who like to help us, or just from the kindness of their hearts…they can help us most by going to our webshop and order our music or merch, or go to our Bandcamp or Spotify artist page. Please follow us as much as you can on all of our socials, subscribe to our (free) Official Artist Channel on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. All links to our streaming platforms and website/webshop…etc are to be found via:
If people like to contact us directly with questions, requests, or anything, they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People who would like to book us for future shows or festivals in 2021 (or later) are welcome to email us. We can’t wait to go out on the road and see all of your beautiful faces again in front of us.
As a last and final fun-fact: I have worked in the early ’90s and late ’90s with one of Hungary’s best guitar players, Szekeres Tamás! Brilliant musician and a really nice guy!”
Crown (guitarist of Desperation BLVD)
“Hi, my name is Crown, I play guitar in Desperation BLVD, a sleaze rock band from Italy. I also play in a metal band, Revoltons that I created almost 30 years ago. I recorded 5 albums and 2 demos with this group. I’m a guitar teacher and I love a lot of genres so I couldn’t stop on the metal area and I decided to form Desperation BLVD last year with my mate Hell, a fantastic drummer!
We recorded a 6 tracks EP with a lot of guests from both the Italian and the international rock/metal scene, including David Reece, Thomas Silver (Hardcore Superstar), Fabio D’Amore (Serenity), and others. It will be released on December 6th.
We are actually working with the Mighty Markus Eck at Metalmessage for the promotion of the EP and we are very happy with the guy! He is doing a super job!
How the lockdown afflicted me and my bandmates? It afflicted us a lot in all the possible ways because it is something beyond our control except for the fact that we decided to take the opportunity to create music. With the technology we can work from home and we are working on the first full length. We can’t wait for the end of this depressive age and to be able to tour with this fantastic new band!”
Kremena Nikolova (vocalist of Bendida)
“Hi, I am Kremena Nikolova – the lead singer of Bendida. Bendida is a symphonic fantasy female-fronted metal band from Bulgaria, Sofia. Our songs are based on mythology, fantasy, and fiction. Traditional Bulgarian Folklore has a discreet influence over the rhythmic. The symphonic elements come from the classical instruments in the band like violin, viola da gamba, french horn, piano, and acoustic guitar. The band unites talented people with professional academic education and solid experience in music. Rich vocal melodies in the compositions are often combined with choral parts.
Recently we had a new album promotion, this actually is our second studio album called ‘First of the Heroes’ (2020), it appeared three years later after our first album, ‘Goddess of the Moon’ (2017).
We had great plans to make a promo-tour after the official promotion of our new album ‘First of the Heroes’ but the things suddenly went wrong. We had two separate promo-concerts, one in Sofia, Bulgaria, and one gig in Bucharest, Romania as our album was produced by the Romanian label Psychosounds Music. We invited an Italian band from Rome as a special guest but they canceled their whole tour in Bulgaria two days before our concert. It was such a pity and yes, the reason was COVID-19.
If I have to be honest, we didn’t believe that things will become so serious and nobody expected such a huge ‘storm’ coming this way. Most of the people didn’t believe that the virus is much different than the standard flu.
We were lucky anyway because both of our promo concerts happened in a normal way, just a week later, all of the clubs were locked and the streets were empty. The biggest horror movie was a scary reality-show on the TV news every day… I would call it: ‘expect the unexpected’.
Our whole spring tour got canceled and even several festivals planned for the summer and autumn. We couldn’t even meet each other for the ordinary rehearsals. Thank goddess my bandmates are great musicians and they are always in good condition for music. We made two of those popular homemade videos with all of us performing at home, and we shared the final results with our friends and fans. In case if you are curious about it, check out the videos on Bendida YouTube channel.
Even if the period was too difficult for all of the musicians and artists (and for all people in general of course) we are very glad that we managed to release a new official video for the song called ‘Civilization’ and in this video, we invited our precious friends from Sveta Paraskeva – academic choir and they took part in the video. They also recorded choral parts in our album.
Our biggest success of the band during this period was our whole videography and an acoustic live with the choir played on the Bulgarian National Television. It was a great honor for us.
In the near future, we plan to make another video now for the song ‘Vampires’ Ball’ (recorded feat Janika Gross from Haggard). So far we have a lyric video for this song.
I wish you great health and good luck!”
Philipp Wyssen (vocalist of Calarook)
“Ahoy! I am Phip, vocalist from the band Calarook. We are a pirate metal band from Switzerland, which started in 2014. On September 11th 2020, we will release our debut album ‘Surrender Or Die’. This is my first and only band so far. Besides a full-time job as an electronic engineer, one band is more than enough. Especially when you are at the beginning and a DIY band where I do most of the management.
The coronavirus reached Switzerland sometime in February. Then everything went very fast. More and more infected were reported. No one took it seriously at this point. Me neither, to be honest. I still went to a few concerts. Then the government had made the first actions. From this point, most people in Switzerland took it seriously. Including me. Most of us still had to work, but with protection rules. Social life was dead for a few months. Now we returned to a life similar to normal. There are still some restrictions, but we can already do many things again if we pay attention.
For us, as a band, it was and still is a difficult time. During the critical phase, we had no rehearsals at all. We have not seen each other for approximately 2 months. Because of the album release, we had not planned many shows. Only one show has been canceled so far. But since in our region the cases are getting more again, the restrictions have become more. We planned a show to celebrate the release of our album. Now we have to check if it is still possible and under what circumstances.
If you want to support us, order merchandise directly from our homepage. There you can also order our album. We ship worldwide. This is the easiest way to support us at this time and even have some new music to discover. Two music videos are already online, where you can listen to it.
Stay safe everyone and look for each other. Let us hope this weird time will end soon and we can party together live at concerts!”
Jake Ronkainen (guitarist & vocalist of Velvet Ocean)
“Velvet Ocean is an alternative melodic metal band from Oulu, Northern Finland. The story of the band began a couple of years ago as a co-writing project of the main singer Riitu and guitarist Jake. As songs kept popping up the project soon evolved into a studio project with both session musicians and later band members joining in. Early in the pre-production stage Oulu symphonic orchestra cello players Arto Alikoski and Harri Österman joined as well as the established Finnish keyboard player Marco Sneck (Kalmah, Poisonblack, etc.). The recorded album, later given the name “Purposes and Promises” was passed to Fascination Street Studios´ Johan Örnborg
and Jens Bogren for mixing and mastering, respectively.
We believe that music is a connection between one’s emotions and the outside world and that’s why our songs tell stories about things that have been going on in our personal lives. The musical style of the Velvet Ocean is basically derived from all the music we have ever heard and drawn influences also from other genres than metal music. It is somewhat reminiscent of other contemporary melodic metal bands with female vocals but adds a twist of pop and grunge as well as distinctive drum beats and acoustic instruments. Velvet Ocean’s debut album “Purposes and Promises” was released on 7 Feb 2020 through Helsinki Records and is distributed by Warner Music Finland.
After releasing the debut we were of course planning to start promoting the album through live gigs that were, unfortunately, all canceled. Instead, we did attend the DarkStream festival that was organized in Germany at the beginning of summer. We have also used the extra time to write more music as well as shot and edited video material. Right now we are planning recordings of the next single with Helsinki Records’ Maki Kolehmainen as a producer.
In this situation, people could best help us by getting to know our music in streaming services and if they like it, check out our social media pages and perhaps follow and comment something. Our physical CD is also available in Record Shop X with global delivery.”
Teemu Kautonen (singer & songwriter of Welkins Boreal)
“My name is Teemu and I am the main songwriter in the Finnish gothic metal band Welkins Boreal. I have previously (in the 1990s) played in bands such as Darkwoods My Betrothed, Furthest Shore, Nattvindens Gråt, and Wizzard.
We have released one full-length album (‘Phantoms of Yesteryear’, 2019) and released a new EP called ‘Ashes’ 11 September 2020.
The debut album showcases how Welkins Boreal is a direct continuation to Nattvindens Gråt: it contains completely new versions of nine songs that were originally released on the Nattvindens Gråt albums ‘Chaos Without Theory’ (1996) and ‘Subuniverses’ (2000). I had long wanted to redo some of the best songs from those albums because I felt that the ideas were so good that they deserved a better implementation than our capabilities and resources allowed back in the day.
The new EP contains three brand new songs recorded in Finland’s legendary Astia Studio – using a fully analog signal chain and no computers!
The COVID-19 situation in Finland has been easier than in many other countries. There was a peak time in March-May when schools, restaurants, and many shops were closed, and people were required to work from home. In our case, we almost had to postpone the EP recordings because the province where I live was closed down due to being the corona hotspot of the country. Luckily the embargo was lifted just on time for us to drive up to the studio for the dates we had originally booked. Otherwise, the situation has not affected us as much as some other bands because we have our day jobs and our subsistence is not dependent on music.
Check out ‘Phantoms of Yesteryear’, available in all streaming services, Bandcamp and our website, if you are into some catchy rocking metal with a gothic, atmospheric touch (Sentenced meets Ghost has been used to describe it). Also, keep an eye out for the new EP 11 September 2020!”
Carlo “Karlo” Loglisci (frontman of The BlackLava)
“Hello to all readers of MyTouche Blog! I’m Carlo “Karlo” Loglisci and I’m the singer of the rock band The Blacklava. We 4 of the band are Italians, precisely from Turin. Turin was one of the Italian cities together with Milan with the highest number of Covid-19 cases.
Now the situation is returning to normal, but there have been very intense moments. Both my drummer and my bass player work in the hospital and have experienced the situation very closely and still struggle to talk about it today. My drummer Diego’s department has been turned into a Covid-19 department and as you can imagine nobody was ready for what happened. We like The Blacklava have been very touched and we have decided to turn our emotions into music and for me, it is the only way to be able to express my feelings since I was a child!
We created everything with the help of technology, I created the guitar and voice base and Francesco created the arrangement. But it was not enough, through social networks we asked our fans who wanted to participate in our video give a visual contribution. It was all very touching and stimulating! We got about 100 videos in which everyone tells the lyrics of our song adding his new daily life! If I think back to the past months it seems to tell a film… I didn’t think that over time we would get used to it!
From June 15 in Italy, it is allowed to return to play live but at the moment there are very few events scheduled because the rules for playing are very strict. We hope that in the future we can return to play freely!
If you want to support Covid-19 through us the Blacklava, you can go to our Spotify channel. We also leave you with another initiative that has been active for 1 year on our Spotify channel. We have created a Playlist called New Rock Hits, where we insert the songs that we like both from famous but above all from emerging groups! The playlist is having moderate success and we are happy to give space to emerging bands like us! Supporting us is the only way to create a community of artists! Greetings to all and thanks for the attention you have given us!”
Mirko Witche (guitarist of Witche’s Brew)
“Hi, I am Mirko Witche, the guitarist for Witche’s Brew, thanks for having us here! We’ve been around since 2007 so we’re not exactly a new band, in 2008 we recorded a live EP entitled ‘Pentatonicspeedfreaks’, it wasn’t until 2010 that we recorded our first full length album ‘White Trash Sideshow’ followed in 2012 by our second album ‘Supersonic Speedfreaks’ this time with special guests such as Nik Turner from Hawkwind, Frederick Martin Grice from Delirium amongst others. Our third album ‘Against The Grain’ came out in 2015. We’ve been kinda busy touring all over Europe after that and before we could manage to go back to the recording room we had to make a few adjustments to the band lineup. Since we now feel that we’ve reached what we where looking for we decided that it was time to go get back to business but this time with a different attitude. With the new lineup we where fortunate enough to cross paths with Pietro Foresti who is in my opinion the best rock producer on the market today, our manager Andrea Dulio who is also the number one in the business, scored us a deal with Universal Music Group.
As you all know the entire music business came to a halt with the advent of the COVID-19, as a rock band, it has put us back a bit, our single came out with in early June, our video ‘Find a Way’ has been released on VEVO with a few months delay, our second single and video are scheduled for mid September and the new album shortly after, so as you can see, everything is only delayed but nothing has been permanently canceled. Same thing with gigs and concerts, it’s only a matter of time before everything is back to normal and we’re looking forward to get back on the road.”
King Aleister Satan (frontman of King Satan & Saturnian Mist)
“Hi, I’m King Aleister Satan a.k.a. fra. Zetekh. I am a vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/songwriter in industrial metal band KING SATAN and black metal band SATURNIAN MIST. Saturnian Mist has been a little bit inactive for a couple of years because of my work with King Satan, which got out of the hand in a good way rather fast, so with SM, there hasn’t been any major setbacks. But with King Satan, we had several canceled shows and one bigger scale European Tour was canceled even before it was announced and no idea of rescheduling possibilities since we were not the only one band. We just released our second album and we managed to do album release tour at least right before this, but it’s a bummer, of course, that rest of the plans were canceled pretty much, especially now that we had good heat behind us after the release of our second album.
And of course, we feel it in our bank accounts, but it is happening of course to everybody and we are not a Nightwish scale band, so not really complaining. It’s like Gandalf told Frodo in the Lord of the Rings, paraphrasing now, that we have to do the best with the time given to us because we have no other option. We started working a new album way before it was planned before, but why not, we don’t want to stop the band activities because of this but use the given time as an advantage.
You can support us best by buying our merchandise from our official merchandise shop http://www.morbidnorth.com/king-satan because now we are lacking our live show sales, and of course streaming our music, buying our albums in Bandcamp or buying the actual CD. It would help and mean a lot to us.
I hope this scourge will end soon and when the world will be re-opened, it will be a brave new one instead of repeating errors of the past. All the best for everyone and now if ever is a good time to reflect yourself and your views for the world!”
You can support the band on the following links:
Konstantin Raab (lead singer of VARUS)
“Greetings to all! This is Konstantin, lead singer, keyboard player and flutist of Symphonic Folk Metal group VARUS. When the current crisis started, we were just short before finishing our second album „A New Dawn“. It‘s been a very uncertain time and still is of course. However, for not so widely known bands, album releases are quite a huge task and there‘s usually no better promotion than playing to a bunch of people that have never heard you but fall in love with your music at a live show. Most album sales are usually after your gig, so that‘s something we can‘t expect from the rest of the year, as it seems. We‘ve still got some hope for a few shows in autumn but no one can tell how the situation will evolve.
However, we‘ve decided to not be frightened by the whole thing and continued to work on the album. Of course, there have been plans to postpone, the whole release, but already being in the making for about 4-5 years, we came to the conclusion that it‘s now or never. No virus is going to stop us from bringing our music out to fans and soon-to-become fans. That‘s been a very important fact for us: music is the best ‘cure’ for people being stuck at home and becoming nuts after a certain time of isolation. It can give the listener a good feeling and calm you down. At least, that‘s what I personally feel, when listening to music but it depends on the musical style of course.
Our upcoming release covers themes like liberty, revolution, freedom and bidding farewell to old times. Now these are all quite romantic, idealistic thinkings and that‘s the thoughts we‘d like to give the listener.
Apart from that, we‘re sad all the live shows have been cancelled, with a few remaining in autumn. There were some amazing, unique concerts planned, three open air festivals, one even outside of our home country, Germany. We were especially looking forward to that one.
So the best way to support us, is to follow us on the common social media channels, listen to our music. Have a listen to the titletrack of our upcoming album:
If you like what you‘ve just heard, pre-order/pre-save our upcoming album through Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify and many more – this is our landing page.
We‘d be glad to count you as one of our loyal fellows and our music giving you motivation or just feeling epic. Have a good time, even during the circumstances! Let‘s all make the best out of it!”
Kyriakos “Charlie” Tsiolis (vocalist of Aftermath)
“We released our second album last year called ‘There is Something Wrong’. It was a follow up to our debut called ‘Eyes of Tomorrow’. It only took 25 years between releases. We broke up in 1996 and reformed in 2015. I personally never thought the band would get back together, but in 2014 we were asked to do the Headbangers Open Air festival in Hamburg, Germany that was taking place in the summer of 2015. We were also reissuing our debut and some other material in 2015, so I reached out to the guys. I wasn’t sure how they would react. Our drummer Ray Schmidt was in. We had kept in touch over the years and he was excited to play overseas. Getting ahold of our guitarist Steve Sacco was going to be harder since we had not spoken since 1998. I tracked him down. We were the original three members of the band. It needed to be all three of us or there would be no reunion. We got together to rehearse, and it felt like not a single day had gone by since our last one. It felt natural and it was actually fun to play the old material. We decided to write one new song and that led to the album. George Lagis joing the band on bass right before we went in to record the album.
‘There is Something Wrong’ is a concept album based on the research I have been doing and the realities I have uncovered: I always questioned and challenged authority for as long I can remember. You can hear it in all my lyrics. I always questioned things – the official stories never made sense to me. Several years ago I really started reading and researching in order to understand why things didn’t add up. I remember thinking, ‘why hasn’t there ever been a period of peace on this planet?’ I mean think about it – through human history people are always at war against each other. Has there ever been a period without a single war somewhere in the world? That question led to a search for knowledge and truth.
Ironically, the concept of our record deals with the exact scenario we are living through right now.
We decided to record the John Lennon classic Give Peace a Chance this past fall. Coming off the last record we felt it was necessary to provide a positive message to the world as well. When we recorded the song we felt we needed to include a kid in the chorus as a symbol of hope for the future. Just prior to the release it looked like the United States was getting ready to go to war with Iran. The message and timing for this song was perfect. Luckily, the war didn’t happen. By the time we finally released the song we were at the very beginning of the entire Covid-19 crisis (I won’t go into my feelings on this, you can listen to our album and quickly figure out my view). Give Peace a Chance’s message was written as a response to the war in Vietnam, but it actually can apply to peace in general. Love for other humans is what Lennon really intended to be the point of the song. We believe that releasing it today is just as important as it was back then. While the war isn’t with a conventional enemy or army, we are in a crisis, and if it goes on for much longer will have devastating psychological and economic results for millions. That desperation can lead to violence amongst each other. We want this song to be a message of peace in that situation. We made a cool video for the song. Check it out on YouTube and leave some comments!
We are currently working on some new material during this time. Unlike many other bands the impact hasn’t been as bad. I mean we weren’t forced to push back a release date or cancel a tour. It would really suck to be in that position.”
Ronald Stiefel (rhythm guitarist of Misanthropia)
“Hi, I‘m Ron, the rhythm guitarist of the Melodic Heavy Metal band Misanthropia. My buddies Volker Pusch (vocals, bass), Edwin Stübner (lead guitars), and Markus Tretter (drums) and I play together in Misanthropia since 2004.
As everyone in the band has a regular full-time job, the band is just a hobby. Which is actually good as far as the COVID-19 crisis concerns because we don‘t rely on the band for our daily income.
Since November 2019 we were working on our third album Into the Darkness which we planned to release in April or May this year. Of course, the lockdown throws us back quite a bit as we cannot continue the vocal recordings to finish the album. And we are unable to plan our release show as we don‘t know when concerts will be allowed again and – even worse – we don‘t if our preferred location for the release will survive the crisis.
To be honest, it‘s been quite tough for an underground band like us before the crisis to get some gigs because many clubs were closed over the past years. Now many of the few remaining clubs may not survive the shutdown, which will make it even harder to get gigs in the future. And to make things worse, hundreds of shows that have been canceled during the crisis were postponed and will be rescheduled to some time after the shutdown is over. So many postponed shows in fewer locations – there are some hard times coming.
On the other hand, as major events are banned for a long time with some luck smaller shows may be allowed sooner. If this happens perhaps people re-discover the local shows instead of just attending festivals or stadium shows.
So if you want to support us, join us on Facebook and check out our music on Spotify or Bandcamp.
So let‘s hope these crazy times will be over soon and keep the rock rollin‘!”
Ron Merz (guitarist, bassist, vocalist of BLOODRED)
“My name is Ron and I am the main man behind the blackened death project BLOODRED. I have been making music under this name since 2009 and released the first EP ‘The Lost Ones’ in 2014. The album ‘Nemesis’ was added two years later. The second album ‘The Raven’s Shadow’ is currently due for release on May 18th. The preparations are in full swing and I am currently very busy…
BLOODRED is a one-man project because I just haven’t found the right fellow musicians yet. It also means that there are no live shows and so I am not so affected by the cancellation of the events in this direction as is the case with other bands. Since touring is essential for the livelihood of most bands today (unfortunately you don’t make any more money from album sales), this is a huge blow for the music scene as a whole and the smaller bands in particular. I am very concerned about how this will change the scene in the mid- and long-term because many musicians will now be able to live even less from their own art.
I’m very curious to see how the release of the new album will go in these times. Many bands have postponed the release of new albums for understandable reasons (after all, you can’t tour right afterward). However, I stick to the date and hope that BLOODRED will benefit from the fewer new releases. On the other hand, it remains to be seen to what extent people in the economically uncertain situation (many expect a major recession) are willing to spend money on music from an underground band…
However, I am really convinced of the new album and hope that this will also be recognized by the fans. I believe that BLOODRED has developed very well without losing its own identity. The songwriting is just more mature and coherent. The production of the album is also a very positive development, because this time it sounds even more powerful but also more open, leaving space for many small details. The artwork rounds off the whole thing in an excellent way. So you can hear and see that at least I’ve done my best. Let us hope that this does not completely disappear in the coronavirus crisis.
Personally, I am also concerned about economic worries just mentioned. With the unemployment rate rising and the economy acting very cautiously, it is uncertain how things will go in the future. That is actually the biggest impact for me of COVID-19 that I can currently see… And so it’s not that different from the bands that now have to do without their tours.
So finally I really would appreciate the support of the readers by buying, listening, and download the new album ‘The Raven‘ Shadow’! You can find all info about it on our website. The album will be available on Bandcamp and all know digital platforms. In addition, of course, it helps us a lot if you tell your family, friends, or colleagues about Bloodred. Let’s get through this together!”
Christian “Waxe” Wagner (vocalist & guitarist of Eisenhauer)
“We play true classic heavy metal. Our heroically charged to the point of bursting, doomy and typically Teutonic Heavy Rock with a continuous, catchy, and melodic metal edge captivates with the seal of approval ‘Real Handmade’. All the music we listen to for decades influenced us. Everything we hear has its own kind of darkness. We are children of the ’80s and are mostly on the NWOBHM, early heavy metal, thrash metal, and hardcore. Some of our all-time favorites are Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Dio, Mercyful Fate, Cro-Mags, Danzig and Slayer. I always bow down before big, dark, and soulful voices like Ronnie James Dio, Glenn Danzig, Eric Wagner, Jim Morrison, and Johnny Cash. In addition to music, I love historical novels e.g. by Giles Kristian and early horror literature e.g. by H.P. Lovecraft.
Our strongest inspiration is this feeling of heavy metal that we have, not to give up, keep fighting, to believe in yourself and your music, and to pursue your goal. Through the music, we try to handle our demons and keep the flame burning. And that we would like to pass on. And you can feel that! There is a lot of passion in every note, every word and the complete cover artwork.
Eisenhauer stands for timeless and unadulterated heavy metal in its purest form. We carry the heroic sagas of a generation believed lost to the campfires of our time. We are serious musicians, who know exactly what they want to hear as fans – without looking at degraded images or wandering along worn-out retro sound paths.
I write all the lyrics, so they are very important to me. The words give the music the opportunity to create even more intense images. The topic ‘Never Surrender’ is still a recurrent theme in all of our lyrics. Believe in what you do and do it with your heart. Germanic-Nordic mythology, a close relationship with nature and our ancestral world also plays a major role for me. I like to bring new stories and topics in an old guise. ‘Blessed Be The Hunter’ – blessed be love, life, passion, and death. Let the steel sing!
In 2012 we released our first self-produced album ‘Never Surrender’. With the help of friends, we released the EP ‘Horse Of Hell’ in 2015. For ‘Horse of Hell’ we have received many positive reviews and attention worldwide. We are currently promoting our new album ‘Blessed be the Hunter”‘ which will be released on the cult label Rafchild Records in early June.
We usually try to play live as much as possible. Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, it is impossible to play and plan concerts. We can’t rehearse as a band, but I use the time and write new songs again.
You can support our band by visiting our Facebook page and watching our videos. Our first lyric video for ‘Blessed Be The Hunter’ will be on YouTube soon. It would be a pleasure for us if you would discover Eisenhauer’s music for yourself.
Of course, you can support us by buying our stuff. You can find our first two releases “Never Surrender” and “Horse Of Hell” on Bandcamp and on all digital streaming services. These can also be ordered as CD or vinyl (only “Horse Of Hell”) such as patches and t-shirts on our Facebook page. You can preorder the new album “Blessed Be The Hunter” (CD or Vinyl) from May 1st, 2020 directly on the website of our label.
Keep your iron head up and stay healthy!”
Maurice Scholz (guitarist of Black Lilium)
“My name is Maurice Scholz and I’m from Schleswig Holstein, Germany. I’m one of the guitarists from Black Lilium and I also play guitar in a band called Surfyction that will go public this year. I’m making music for roughly 10 years now.
First, let me say that I personally think that the safety of the people comes first regardless of how that affects anyone’s individual lifestyle. The current situation is something we have to accept and all we can do is patiently wait and stay calm.
That said coronavirus definitely changed our plans for this year. We were in the middle of preparing for live gigs. Black Lilium as well as Surfyction. Now everything is set on hold. Luckily Black Lilium is self-financed and neither of us makes a living out of it so we don’t have any obligations but it’s a huge damper in the progress we’d have made this year. But of course, there are things we still can do. We now focus on songwriting and a music video is also in planing.
For now, the best thing you can do to support us is simply liking and sharing our social media stuff and to listen to our songs on a streaming platform of your choice. You can find links to everything on blacklilium.de
As for Surfyction, if possible we are planning on recording a song this year. With that release, we’ll be making our first step. Stay tuned!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about us and I hope you’ll have a fantastic day wherever you are. Stay safe!”
Tom Perrett (RUADH)
“I am Tom Perrett, responsible for atmospheric Celtic black metal project Ruadh, I have played in too many musical projects in the past to really merit mentioning all of them.
I am just about to release the Sophomore Ruadh Album and recently started pre-orders for “The Rock of the Clyde” and we had some shows planned this year which have sadly fallen away because of the ongoing issues with COVID-19.
The effect this has on Ruadh is massive, we had big plans that unfortunately have to be re-evaluated. Financially this puts a huge strain on the project as well and it makes things harder for the future but we will persevere and work through these difficult times to bring Ruadh to as many of you as we can.
Promoters looking to book Ruadh when all of this is over can send proposals to email@example.com.
People looking to support us in this crazy time can share the music from Spotify, Deezer, Apple tunes and so on as well as picking up digital copies of the albums and physical merch available exclusively via ruadh.bandcamp.com.”