MUSIC FEATURE: Standing By The Scene – Doing Your Bit To Support Music Through COVID-19 (Part Three)
Everything’s a bit weird right now isn’t? We at Bring The Noise UK hope you’re all being safe and looking after each other. Speaking of looking after people, now’s the time we could really look after the bands we love. Touring is a lifeline for all our favourite bands and it’s been taken away from them in a way that no one could ever have prepared for.
So how can we all help the artists whose music has helped us through our hard times and been a soundtrack to the best night of our lives, now that they need us? Well, if you’ve got a little to spare, and only if you actually do, there’s a range of incredible limited edition merch out there. Here’s how you can help…
PART THREE – LIMITED EDITION MERCH
In the music industry, merchandise is often seen as the most vital income stream for any artist. In the past we have seen bands such as While She Sleeps printing t-shirts, proclaiming that band merch is the most direct way of supporting an artist and shedding some clarity on the situation, in the age of music streaming dominating physical and digital sales. But now in light of the recent COVID-19 crisis, it seems bands and festivals alike are taking direct action in the wake of mass postponements and cancellations, and generally the drastic depletion of monetary income for the industry as a whole, through releasing limited edition merchandise, with profits being donated to a whole host of worthy causes.
Scheduled to take place at Donnington Park between June 12th-14th 2020, Download Festival has been one in a long line of festivals forced to cancel this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, this hasn’t stopped the UK rock festival from releasing a special edition charity t-shirts featuring the iconic Download Dog, in order to support the NHS Charities Together Urgent Appeal in their frontline fight against COVID-19.
Pick up one of the limited edition t-shirts HERE.
On the other side of the globe, US hardcore punks Beartooth are enforcing the “stay home and save lives” message with their line of merch. Dubbed the “stay at home kit”, the bundle of Beartooth goodies includes a mystery hoodie, fleece blanket, deck of cards, bottle opener and a tote bag. All proceeds of these kits will be donated to MusiCares, a charity set up to provide a safety net of critical assistance for music people, whose livelihoods have been lost during the virus’ devastating spread.
Get your hands on a Beartooth “stay at home kit” HERE.
ICE NINE KILLS
Another band making merch in the midst of the outbreak are Boston based outfit Ice Nine Kills. The release of a very special, limited edition t-shirt will help to raise funds for various musicians and their subsequent touring crew, whose income has been directly impacted by the disease. A portion of proceeds will be donated to both Sweet Relief, a charity set up to heal musicians in need, and again the magnificent MusiCares.
Pick up some Ice Nine Kills limited edition merch HERE.
Deftones have had to reschedule their Australia and New Zealand tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so they are selling the merch range intended for the tour through their online store, with profits from sales going to their road crew.
Pick up some Deftones merch HERE.
Heavy metal five piece Pantera have pulled together in times of need to curate a social distancing themed tee. Putting their own space-keeping precautions to good use, the merch offering from Pantera sees the band reinforcing social restrictions, as well as basing the design of the t-shirt around their record Vulgar Display Of Power. However, this time around the artwork printed on the clothing features not only a face mask, but some surgical gloves too. Similarly supporting MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, the group are giving away forty percent of net proceeds generated from the sales of the shirt to the worthy charitable cause.
Check out the t-shirt HERE.
We also asked some of those who have been affected how you can help the music industry right now…
James Monteith, TesseracT
“As with many bands, COVID-19 has messed up our touring plans. We were due to head to South America for the first time; the dates were selling really well and it looked set to be awesome. We were about to announce a summer tour too, which is no more. We are lucky in the sense that we’re off cycle, so this hasn’t affected a major campaign, but we’ve obviously taken a financial hit as a result. One plus about being at home is that we’re putting as much time as we can into writing a new album. Tesseract started as a home studio project, so we’re kind of in our comfort zone in lockdown! This isn’t the case for many bands though, so if you do want to support your fave artists, please go check out their merch pages.”
Check out TesseracT‘s merch store HERE.
Vlad Matveikov, Small Pond Records
“We closed before the official government order—we had to move five tours, three releases, one festival, cut off our main source of income and start working intensely on different funding avenues: Arts Council, Youth Music, Brighton & Hove Council, amongst other entities to look for loans, grants and financial life lines of any sort.
“We are living through a very intense and uncertain time for anyone who works independently in the music sector – while many people post updates of them having time to read, pick up a new hobby, or generally relax in this weird time, for us this has been probably the most intense and stressful time since we opened. Everyday we fight against the elements, and against uncertainty and it’s our ass on the line. This pandemic has profoundly affected every aspect of what we do.
“I think it’s a bit of a ¨shit or get off the pot situaiton¨ – if you like the idea of indie music rather than the realities of what it means, this is gonna show real quick (I live in Brighton, surrounded by these types of folks).
“Donate, buy a record, buy a ticket to a show in autumn even though you are not sure if it’s happening, or just comment and share on the post to show that you are there. Help spread the word and don’t just copy and paste, verbalise it in your own way so you think and feel what is going on as you spread that message.
“You are not going to the pub or movies, take that money and put it to good use. I dunno, maybe instead of being a dickhead and hoard-buying an 18 pack of bog roll buy an LP? In the famous words of Ricky: “it’s not rocket appliances!”
“The solidarity, support and connection in independent music networks is heart warming, and for many it is the only thing between where we are and total despair. But I fear that this alone is not enough to get us through it, and unless the government steps in to save this Titanic situation from sinking, I think a lot of us are finished. I just hope that this metaphorical Titanic has enough life boats for everyone, and not just the select few.”
Check out the Small Pond Records store HERE.
Michael Leo Valeri, Brand of Sacrifice
“COVID-19 continues to reshape the music industry in a monumental way. Our tour with Rings of Saturn in Europe lost three shows and we all had to fly out last minute to get home due to travel restrictions, but BoS is definitely considered one of the lucky bands who didn’t have it too bad on the touring front. And now we’re all seeing tons of tour cancellations, venues and crew members out of work indefinitely, booking agents scrambling, and the data shows a downward trend when it comes to streaming numbers, since I’m assuming listeners are focusing more than ever on public health and worrying about their own jobs and lives – which is completely fair. So we’re in a tough spot, tougher than usual, but metal and extreme music is a tight knit community and I think it’s good to focus on the positives. We’re seeing bands getting creative to connect with fans, using live streaming to chat or air podcasts (like ours, ‘BOSPOD’ which you can find on Spotify, etc) and even ‘play shows’ which I think is a great start. It’s important to emphasize this point: if you can, because we know this is bigger than just the music industry – do your best to support your favourite bands whether that’s through purchasing merch or albums, or even just sending some positive vibes. I personally find a lot of comfort in the kind and encouraging messages we get from our supporters, and I know they’re going through a lot too. So I’m a firm believer that when this all blows over, the industry as a whole will come back even stronger, but in the interim we have to try to stick together as we have a long way to go.”
Check out Brand of Sacrifice‘s merch store HERE.
Ethan Harrison, Great American Ghost
“I feel like this narrative has been told again and again in our industry, in just the short time that it has taken to basically level us as a whole. It can’t be understated how much all of us need people’s support more than ever. Buy merch, follow on Spotify, do all the things that you can to support art you love. I also would be remiss to not mention the complete and total mismanagement of this crisis by the people at the top of our systems. The people that were put in place to lead our society were worrying about their own bottom lines and re-elections, rather than worrying about every other person on the planet and how this would affect them. I am worried for my industry but I worry more for the countless people that are in harm’s way because of criminal negligence. Go buy your favourite bands’ t-shirts, but also make your voice heard if you feel disgust the way I feel.”
Check out Great American Ghost‘s BandCamp HERE.
“COVID-19 has affected us in pretty much in every way it possibly can. We’ve had to cancel tours and postpone our debut album release. To top it off we’re unable to get in a room and practice at present. Unfortunately, I (Scott/guitar) have just moved to a smaller flat and don’t have any real space to set up and be creative which is very frustrating.
“I guess an obvious way to help is for fans to buy merch and physical copies of records. It’s a tricky one to approach as a band. The severity of the situation makes you feel guilty to ask for people’s money at such a difficult time. I guess sharing our music on social media is free and a lovely thing to do.
“There are a few ideas we’ve got floating about for what we can do next. I think Annie may be having a crack at doing a stripped back solo version of one of our tracks…I still have no idea how it will work! I might be doing some guitar run-throughs of tracks (if i can make the space in my small flat), for those that like to geek over that sort of stuff.
“We’d like to echo everyone else’s advice at this time: stay in as much as you can. Try to avoiding drinking too much through boredom, as that ends up having it’s toll…eurgh…not that I would be talking from experience or anything…I guess try making the most of this free time, think back to all those times when you were so stressed and busy and what you would yearn for, if you had the time at home to do things.”
Check out CLT DRP‘s BandCamp HERE.
Trey Pemberto, Creeping Death
“We were in the middle of a tour with The Acacia Strain, Rotting Out, Chamber and Fuming Mouth when things got shut down. Luckily for us the last normal show was in Austin on March 11th and we had a week off to meet back up with the tour package in Salt Lake City on March 20th. So when shit hit the fan we were already home in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Our homies in Fuming Mouth, Chamber, and The Acacia Strain weren’t as fortunate and had to make a cross country drive home amongst all the fear and panic, so big shout out to all of them for making it back safe. Since we had about three weeks of tour left, plus a tour with Hatebreed coming up, we stocked up on merch right before everything went down, and as you can imagine we still have a major surplus. If anyone is kind enough to help us out, please visit our merch store. All of our current stock of inventory is currently up, and we’re the ones operating and shipping it so the money is going directly to the band. Thank you to all our fans we didn’t get to see yet, we’ll be back once this thing is over! And to Bring The Noise for letting us be a part of this as well.”
Check out Creeping Death‘s merch store HERE.
Jamie Graham, Viscera
“We released our album and on the same day, began the Faces of Death tour (with Decapitated, Beyond creation, Lorna Shore and Ingested) with various rumours of a possible imminent lockdown coming…sure enough, eight days in, we were told that borders were starting to close; the tour stopped there and then. Then we started seeing tours cancelled left, right and centre along with a load of album releases going back and festivals cancelling. It’s definitely hit the industry hard. Though it looks like a lot of bands are using it as a time to write new material, which is basically what we are doing!”
Stream or purchase Viscera‘s debut album Obsidian HERE.
Erik Olson, Lord Dying
“The coronavirus forced the cancellation of the most successful tour we’ve ever been on. It was definitely a bummer but its been rescheduled for August and we can’t wait to get back at it. Also our fans are amazing, we put our left over merch up on our Big Cartel store and it was pretty much sold out before we even got home! If people want to support bands they like during this crisis, go to their merch store or BandCamp and help them out. Pretty much every touring band has been affected by this. Stay safe and take care of each other.”
Check out Lord Dying‘s BandCamp HERE.
“Obviously the coronavirus pandemic is doing serious damage to everyone’s livelihoods at the moment, and we’d just like to say massive respect to all the people out there working in the health sector helping to save peoples’ lives during this chaos. But yeah, being in a touring band is pretty hard at the moment, obviously tours are being cancelled or postponed left right and centre, merchandise companies are closing up due to lockdown, so the unfortunate truth for bands at our level is we’re all in for a pretty rough time. Now more than ever is the time for the whole scene to unite, bands need to support each other, share each other’s content, and lift each other when one falls. To all the fans in the scene, get on Spotify and iTunes, keep on streaming and sharing the bands you love, follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, subscribe to them on YouTube! Only together can we keep our scene alive until we all finally get back on the road! Stay safe and healthy x”
Check out Ingested‘s merch store HERE.
Wild Cat Strike
“We had a UK and EU tour booked for April in order to support our upcoming EP release which we were really looking forward to, especially our first shows in Sweden and Holland. Hopefully next year!
“The best way to support any band at the minute is by buying music or merch, but there are lots of non-monetary means too. To quote the “Guide to Supporting Bands in the Streaming Age” by Specialist Subject Records: Listen to small artists, set up some playlists for songs you like, turn off autoplay (by not using it, you’re choosing what to listen to and who to support), try listening to your mates’ playlists, look through related artists, listen to what’s come out recently on labels you like, check out what blogs are recommending.
“Our EP Mustard Coloured Years is out 17th of April on Small Pond Records. The label is really struggling at the minute and so could do with all the help they can get via their Go Fund Me page.”
“This whole situation has meant we’ve had to find new ways on working on new music together. Lots of WAV files getting sent back and forth. The Whatsapp group has become a godsend for us. Being able to talk everyday means we don’t miss each other to much. We’re even meeting up in a four way video call for a drink or two.
“The best thing any fan can do at this time is keep playing the music and keep showing love and support. Spotify playlists and sharing with friends goes a long way. Also merch helps up-and-coming bands like ourselves get by while we aren’t able to play shows.”
“While we’re all cooped up inside we are working on some demos to put out for people to enjoy. Hopefully doing little things like this can go some way to helping people stay in good spirits and keep everyone together in overcoming these difficult times.
“On behalf of MiG 15 we wish for everyone to stay safe and well in these hard times. Music is a healer. Keep singing, keep dancing, and we will see you all on the other side.”
Check out MiG 15‘s BandCamp HERE.
“We are glad Glamour & Gloom has seen the light of day. COVID-19 affected almost every plan we made for this release. There were radio interviews cancelled, our album release tour had to be postponed and we had to cancel all our release parties that were planned to celebrate our new album. Nonetheless, we managed to adapt and pull some other strings to keep on track as much as possible. Luckily we could release it due to the fact that a lot of bands postponing whole releases.
“On 18th March we played a two hour concert live stream for the first time ever via EMP, which saw more than 6000 people attend in total. We got a lot of great feedback from all over the world. People were so happy to get some variety while everyone is sitting at home. At the moment we are planning another live stream concert together with the Backstage Club in Munich, to make a donation to local crew and clubs. More news here soon.”
Check out TENSIDE‘s merch HERE.
Listen to our Lockdown Spotify Playlist below!
Thank you to the bands and labels that contributed towards this feature.
Written by: Katie Conway-Flood and Calum McMillan