During Covid-19, we’re seeing live music and gatherings as we know them come to a halt. For bands, this time can be incredibly frustrating when timing a new release and live performance. We corresponded with local post punk and garage rockers FEELS to see how they’re coping in this post-Covid world, hear how they stay inspired and active. The band has been kind enough to share their take on rehearsing during lockdown (they’ve been pretty productive!), live stream performances, the BLM movement and more.
mxdwn: How has your band been coping with quarantine? Are you rehearsing/making music together during this time or working on solo projects?
FEELS: Everything has been very “on pause” in the music world. Unfortunately it hasn’t been a very exciting or inspiring time to be making music… there’s just so much to process. With that being said, we’ve been getting all our ducks in a row to release three songs which we actually recorded on the eve of the lockdown. We also just got together to jam for the first time since March and it was such an amazing feeling. We wrote like five songs, haha!
mxdwn: Have you been performing via livestream either together or solo? What was the experience like?
FEELS: As a band we have not, but some of us have done solo ventures or with other musical projects. And people have been receptive! I think everyone is craving live music as much as the artists themselves do, so maybe we’ll do a livestream show at some point… but still, it’s such a different experience playing to a screen; from the performer’s perspective it’s really difficult to feel engaged and connected. Aspects come through but the energy of an audience is such a big part of the magic to us… you really have to use a lot of imagination to feel present at all virtually.
mxdwn: Any future plans to release new music or perform live in any capacity during quarantine?
FEELS: Keep a look out for Subversive Reaction coming out on our friend’s art label Deemed Printable sometime soon! We haven’t announced the release yet but will have details coming soon. And we’re definitely open to performing live/live stream, hopefully to coincide with the release.
mxdwn: What are some artists you’ve been inspired by recently?
Amy: I’ve been taking the time to appreciate some of the earlier, lesser known albums of Fleetwood Mac.
Laena: Today I got into Bridgitte Fontaine’s album Comme Á La Radio, Bad Brains s/t and Throbbing Gristle D.O.A.
Cole: Just discovered Syd Barett’s first solo album, The Madcap Laughs. I’ve never been the same since.
mxdwn: With nearly 13k followers on Instagram, what kind of DM requests are you getting from fans who want to connect during this time?
FEELS: Honestly we don’t get a lot of DM requests from fans but the ones we do get are mostly just to say hello and wish us well. Our fans are so thoughtful and lovely (and understanding that it might take us a week to see the DM and get back to them heh). We’ve not historically been very active on social media apart from when we’re on tour, so maybe people don’t really expect us to be. Our social media presence is only really used to circulate information about our live shows, new music releases, and to amplify social/environmental justice movements. We’d like to think that we connect with our fans through the music itself!
mxdwn: Have any band members been involved in the BLM protests? What are your thoughts on the Black Lives Matter Movement?
FEELS: We’ve all been actively protesting, posting resources, and donating money in various capacities since the movement was amplified by George Floyd’s death. It’s so crucial that we all take an active role in learning, listening and incorporating activism into our daily lives, and not just in this moment. White supremacy has got to go, period. Black lives are so, SO important! We’re very thankful to the BLM leaders and other BIPOC folx who have been so generous as to provide guidance for the rest of us to work to understand and support the fight as best we can.
mxdwn: What are your thoughts/feelings on how the LA live music scene can be rehabilitated during and post Covid-19?
FEELS: We just gotta make the most with what we’ve got! And please support NIVA and #saveourstages so that when the pandemic eases there will still be independent music venues for live shows to happen in again! The LA music scene is currently undergoing ideological transformations in regard to BIPOC presence as well as reevaluating outdated sexist rock & roll tropes that objectify women, celebrate toxic masculinity and have caused harm to many for decades. We basically see this as a moment of transformation, and hope that when live music happens again it will be a better space for everyone.
mxdwn: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
FEELS: Stay optimistic! Yes, so many ways in which the current systems are failing humanity are being exposed right now and it is hard to not feel totally overwhelmed. But it’s imperative that we stay positive to fight for what is right! We have a duty to reimagine a humane and just future that represents equality and respect for all life. And in doing that, find new ways to work together to save our environment before it’s too late.