To mark the launch of today’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign with over 1,400 artists signing an open letter to the government help save the UK’s live music scene from catastrophe, radio DJ, Primal Scream bassist and Featured Artists Coalition Ambassador Simone Marie Butler writes for NME about why action is needed now to stop irreparable damage.
“To say it’s been a strange year so far really is an understatement of epic proportions. As we watched festival after tour after gig get pulled and optimistically rescheduled, we’ve battled with our Spring, Summer, Autumn and now probably Winter live music fixes being made absent from our diaries and lives. Glastonbury shifted into its first online digital identity as ‘Glasthomebury’ as we watched from our sofas. Who would’ve thought that as futuristic as 2020 sounded, it would bring with it such a devastating reality? The issue of our own mortality clearly supersedes anything else, but when it comes to every person whose financial security and income rely on any form of musical performance, the truth is, the live music industry is waiting at the box office window tentatively, to see if its name is on the guestlist for 2021.
“There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has been and continues to be a monstrous and invisible threat to us on so many levels. Livelihoods are crumbling, lives have been tragically lost and we are still not out of the woods. Not in this generation have we seen the likes of such a global catastrophe.”
“Clearly we must never lose sight that at the heart of this and most importantly, are the NHS frontline workers and those fighting for their lives. Those who don’t have the luxury right now to be angry about this as they’re too busy fighting for theirs or the lives of others. The incredible work our doctors and nurses are continuing to do under such ongoing constraints is something we are all in awe of.
“In the UK, job centre claimants have risen 126% to 2.8million since the start of the lockdown. The live music sector including venues, touring bands, crews, festivals, DJs, clubs, studios and many other areas is no different. Not just these sectors but every connecting industry which provides the framework and backdrop to the final piece.”
“Music is part of our cultural heritage. It’s part of our self expression, our vision, the fabric and soundtrack of our lives and experiences. It’s part of human connection. Let’s also remember the music industry is one of our biggest income revenues and exports.
“With that being said, we simply cannot afford to let the live industry go under.
“It may sound like I’m being over dramatic, but I can assure you after reading through documents, statistics, talking to Oliver Dowden (Secretary of State for arts and culture) about the crucial help needed, that the facts in the cold light of day are not pretty.
“The live music industry and all its surrounding counterparts are going to need urgent help if they are to survive and thrive come next year. The association of Independent festivals have concluded that around 90% of AIF organisers could risk going under by 2021 without any financial support from the government. That’s the bottom line and it’s a bleak reality.
“Based on impact surveys, 92% of AIF festival organisers have said that their firms are at risk without Government intervention, with the effects of COVID-19 likely to result in businesses collapsing under refund requests” (read the full article here)
“The Featured Artists Coalition – which sees supporters such as Johnny Marr and musicians from across the entire scope of music – is going to be instrumental in getting this vital help from the government, but we need the help of the public as well as established artists to speak up. We need to be unified in all areas of the music industry to get through this. This isn’t about focusing on small elements of the industry, it’s about the entire umbrella of the music industry as a collective, the bigger picture.”
“As some of the lockdown restraints start to lift, we are seeing shops open, a light suggestion of normality returning, yet this is not without risk. Music venues and festivals cannot operate at 30% like other retail outlets. We cannot social distance at a festival with thousands of people and that’s even without alcohol thrown into the mix.
“Just as schools and other businesses plan to re–open and need to be able to do that safely so does everything else. The live music industry will be the last to start their engine amidst this pandemic. There is talk of on site testing, temperature checks, etc… all of which needs to be throughly researched and have scientific and logistical backing.
“If you want to help make sure the live music industry in all its guises is still alive next year, then this is the time to come and support the campaign by FAC in conjunction with Music Venue Trust. We are calling on the public to shout as loud as they can about this. We have an entire list of bands and musicians who have given their names to the letter being sent to Oliver Dowden, but music is a two way exchange. We need you, the ones who shout and scream and come to see us play. The supporters of live music who know what a gift it is. This is your campaign as much yours as it is ours.”
“On July 2, we launch the #letthemusicplay campaign. We are calling on bands, musicians, DJs and all involved in live music to share this hashtag to create a collective public voice by posting a short sentence about why live music is so important to them. To share photos of live shows and memories with the hashtag on all social media platforms online.
“The FAC are constantly lobbying with MPs and politicians in the arts sector to tackle this current situation. Please visit their site for all up to date information. You don’t have to be an active campaigner but just to have your support would mean the world right now.
“The more of us that come together and unify, the greater the influence and opportunity there will be to instruct change. Music can bring us together and create life changing moments. I believe this is one of those moments.”
Today sees the launch of the #letthemusicplay campaign from @FeaturedArtists in conjunction with @musicvenuetrust The live music industry and all of the surrounding counterparts urgently needs gvmnt funding to keep it afloat right now. Let’s make this happen. X pic.twitter.com/j2ParnDfCO
— simone marie (@simonemarie4) July 2, 2020
I’ll be on @BBCNews this morning at 11.40am talking about the #letthemusicplay campaign being launched today.
Pls also follow @FeaturedArtists for continuing info and how to support. More news to come x pic.twitter.com/B57ubnHo3M
— simone marie (@simonemarie4) July 2, 2020
As told to Andrew Trendell. Read more on the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign here.
The post Primal Scream’s Simone Marie Butler on the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign: “We need you all to come together” appeared first on NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM.
System Of A Down’s Shavo Odadjian shares debut track from new band North Kingsley
Alongside the bassist, songwriter and director, the group features producer Saro Paparian and lyricist and vocalist Ray Hawthorne.
North Kingsley released their first song, ‘Like That?’, earlier today (August 7). “Are you gonna die like that?” they ask on the chorus. “Fade away until you snap/Are you gonna die like that?” Watch a lyric video for the track below now.
The track will feature on the band’s first three-track collection, which is titled ‘Vol. 1’ and will be released next week (August 14) on Odadjian’s own 22 Red Media.
In a press release, Odadjian said: “We’re giving you songs you can marinade on, instead of 12 songs all at once. There’s going to be a clip for every song, something visually for you to vibe on. I directed videos for System, I do stage production visuals for the band so that’s important to me.
“Saro has an incredible eye for creating new things visually and I act almost how a producer would on that and we are going to drop merch with every release, so it’s more than just music.”
He continued to say that North Kingsley’s sound is “right in the middle” of metal and hip-hop. “The kick and the hi-hats and the snare sounds punk,” he added. “To me punk rock isn’t a style of music, it’s something you live. It’s a lifestyle and it means going against the grain and I heard that there, and we are putting it all together to create something exciting and new for today.”
Meanwhile, System Of A Down’s drummer John Dolmayan said in June that the band were “very unlikely to make new music”.
“There’s egos involved and, quite frankly, wisdom isn’t always something you achieve in older age – sometimes you achieve stubbornness, and we just can’t get out of our own way on that one,” he said. “But I would like to say that it is a band issue. I know that certain members of my band have been blamed in the past, but at the end of the day it takes four people to make the music we make and it takes four people not to make it.”
However, the band are planning to play live next year. This week, they were announced as one of the headliners for Download 2021 alongside Kiss and Biffy Clyro.
Watch Bob Vylan’s strobe-heavy new video for ‘England’s Ending’
Bob Vylan have shared a new video for their track ‘England’s Ending’ – scroll down the page to watch it now.
- Read more: Bob Vylan – ‘We Live Here’ review: anarchic London punks that the music industry deemed “too extreme”
The song appears on the duo’s EP ‘We Live Here’, which was released on June 5, 2020 and follows 2019’s ‘Dread’.
In a video on Instagram, frontman Bobby Vylan explained the song was about “the privatisation of the NHS and the inaccessibility of affordable housing”, among other topics.
“It talks about the hustling mentality of people in this country, having to work multiple jobs just to survive, having to have side-hustles,” he explained. “Being trapped on this hamster wheel with this promise that ‘Everything’s sorted, don’t worry, everything’s going to be fine, you just stay on this hamster wheel and eventually you’ll get somewhere’ and then growing frustrated with that and being on that wheel and realising, ‘Fuck, I’m not getting anywhere’. I think so many people feel like that.”
He added: “It just seems like the country is ending. You wake up and you read the news and it just seems like, ‘Rah, England is ending’.”
“The country is in dire need of a fucking spanking, mate,” Bobby Vylan says at the start of the track. “A good overhaul – get the fucking dinosaurs out.” Watch the strobe-heavy video for ‘England’s Ending’ above now.
Earlier this year, Bob Vylan said they had been told by multiple music industry figures that ‘We Live Here’ was “too extreme”. Speaking to NME, frontman Vylan explained the opposition they had faced.
“If I was to meet this much resistance doing anything else and something that wasn’t so based around social commentary, then I don’t know if I would continue,” he said. “Because I’d start to think maybe that what I’m doing is wrong.”
He continued: “We were told by one PR agency that they wouldn’t work with the song because of the track ‘Pulled Pork’. In their opinion, it encouraged violence against the police, and whether it does or does not is up to the listener.
“But they were adamant that there were only a ‘few bad apples in the force’ – but that negates the fact that the whole system is built on racism and oppression. If there are only a few bad apples, where are the good apples? If they’re stood by watching, then they’re not good apples.”
Live Nation CEO says 2021 will see a “robust outdoor summer season” for live music
The CEO of Live Nation has said he expects a “robust outdoor summer season” for live music next year.
- Read more: The beat goes on: how the UK dance scene’s DJs, clubs and festivals are fighting for survival
The coronavirus pandemic has forced festivals around the world to cancel their 2020 editions, with fears over their futures if they can’t safely return in 2021.
Writing in a memo shared with the promotion company’s investors, Michael Rapino said there were positive signs for next year’s summer events already. “Importantly, we remain confident that fans will return to live events when it is safe to do so,” he wrote. “Our strongest indicator of demand is that fans are holding on to their tickets, even when given the option of a refund.”
The message stated that “86 percent” of fans were holding on to their tickets for shows that had been rescheduled, “demonstrating their continued desire to attend concerts in the future despite the current uncertainty”.
Rapino also pointed to the ticket sales for two UK festivals next year as further indicators of a strong 2021 festival run. “Our expectations for a robust outdoor summer season in 2021 are also reinforced by the two-thirds of fans keeping their tickets for canceled festivals so they can go to next year’s show, along with strong early ticket sales for festivals in the UK next summer,” he said. “For example, Download and Isle of Wight are pacing well ahead of last year.”
The Live Nation boss’ comments come after other industry figures have been more cautious about live music’s return. Last month (July 17), Lollapalooza co-founder Marc Geiger said he didn’t think gigs and festivals would return until 2022.
“It’s going to take that long before, what I call, the germaphobic economy is slowly killed off and replaced by the claustrophobia economy – that’s when people want to get out and go out to dinner and have their lives, go to festivals and shows,” he said.
Meanwhile, UK festivals welcomed the news last month (July 29) that the government would give the emergency funding to help weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.
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