Part three of our series of interviews with bands during lockdown, Mark Glenister spoke with Oli Southgate of Heavy Lungs at a socially safe distance, and asked him about dealing with lockdown, how it’s impacted the bands plans, and plans once life returns to ‘normal’.
Firstly, how are you? How are the rest of the band as well?
Everyone is doing well. I think everyone is taking it easy and using this time to reset a bit, which is healthy.
Do you have a daily routine, are you learning anything new as everyone else seems to be?
My daily routine is usually waking up early, watching Frasier, listening to The Doors, eating and going on my bike or skateboarding at the moment. I'd like to say I’m mastering Mandarin Chinese or something but no, I’ve been learning songs and how to cook certain things but that's it.
Are you seeing this lockdown as a time to be creative? And has it changed the way you view the industry?
Well, I think we all are as much as we want to, but as always there's a pressure from social media or basically wealthy/healthy people to be creative and spend all day making amazing things but, if you feel like shit on occasion then you should do whatever makes you feel better. Personally, I feel guilty some days for not recording a load of demos but then other days I make up for it, so, who cares.
As a band are you doing anything for the fans? A lot of online gigs and Q&As seem to be the norm for a lot of bands, how easy or difficult is that for you as a group?
I've been doing some guitar lesson videos for people on Instagram, and we've done a couple of live streams, but I just don't think our music lends itself to acoustic renditions. Maybe we'll make something else for people.
Photo by Ania Shrimpton
With the lockdown being extended, does that effect plans for tours, singles, albums?
Yeah, the majority of our schedule is either postponed or cancelled. We're still planning to record at some point but that’ll have to wait for a bit.
As a fan I know how much I miss going to gigs, for the music and for the social aspect, is this something that you miss as well?
Absolutely. We all love going to gigs almost as much as playing them. It's a ritual, it's ceremonial, especially with friends. I miss the feeling of seeing a band you love kill it on stage. Nothing's particularly mind blowing about being stuck at home. I miss being have my mind blown by someone's trumpet solo or something.
How important are your fans at this time, I know and I speak from experience, a lot of merch is being purchased to help bands, and I know you have a great connection with fans generally so are they an important aspect of getting through this?
Our fans are great, it's so nice to have conversations with people all over the world who dig us and our music. And buying merch from bands and from record shops is so important. It's hard enough selling records and merch if you're independent, let alone in a pandemic!
Despite horrors of this pandemic, the lockdown seems to have a created a lot of really positive community action, and for once social media is being used mainly in a positive manner – Do you want life to return to normal once this is over, or would you like people to be using this time to evaluate their lives and start be part of communities and positive social change?
I don't think life will go back to the 'normal' we had before, because it was never really working in the first place. The socialist ideals that were put down by the conservatives have now been picked up and ran with to an extent, and it goes to show as a society we can change and do more for our communities and people around us. So, yeah, I really hope the changes are for the good. Positive social change won't come on social media though, I don't know about other people but I’m sick of my phone at the moment, and this false sense of connection I have with it. I'm much more into someone saying hello to me on my way to Aldi.
Our next Bands in Lockdown interview with Sammy Robinson of Treeboy and Arc will be published on Friday.