In today's Bands in Lockdown interview, Mark Glenister speaks with Katie and Greg from Sit Down, who recently released their Nice One EP, which you can listen to / buy here.
Firstly, how are you both?
K: Doing alright considering! We're in lockdown on other sides of town, but as it's just the two of us it's pretty easy to keep up to date with planning and writing and sending demos and such back and forth so all in all not so bad.
G: Yeah coping ok. We’ve always been quite good at working remotely together; most of the vocals for the new EP were recorded by Katie on an iPhone and sent across to me to mix.
Do you have a daily routine, are you learning anything new as everyone else seems to be?
K: I don't really have a routine as such, but I'm trying to do yoga or go out for a jog every day, so that's been good at keeping me sane. Although the days are starting to slip by pretty quickly now as it all starts to feel somewhat normal. I've been learning to play guitar online (although I'm too impatient and find it far more fun to just mess about without knowing what I'm doing and see what comes out. I've also been creating some fun simple synth tracks and experimenting with production.
G: I guess I’ve just been doing what I’d normally be doing, holing myself up in the studio and trying to make as much music as I can. But I do try and get out for a solid walk or cycle everyday, and a little morning meditation always helps to keep anxieties in check.
Are you seeing this lockdown as a time to be creative? And has it changed the way you view the industry?
K: It's a weird one because overall it's what most creatives dream of, right? Having endless time to just create without having to worry about working or trying to pay the bills etc. But with all this freedom comes the restrictions that make it so frustrating, like you can't just jam together on something and see what comes out, or get in the pit in a sweaty basement and experience music that transports you somewhere else. But at the same time there's something to be said for the fun of finding a way round the restrictions and just doing it anyway, which is why we dropped our new EP in the middle of lockdown which sounds like the worst idea imaginable haha.
G: I’ve often felt I work best when I have some limitations, like having work commitments or time constraints, as it gives me focus to try and use my time well. So in this current situation of endless free time, I’ve had to really remember to pace myself and not burn out trying to use every second to be creative, cause I know it’s just not a realistic expectation.
Photo by Bridie Florence
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? How has this impacted your side projects?
K: We've thought about it, and due to the nature of our sound there's no way we can really do like a 'stripped back' version of our songs, so we decided not to any livestreams or anything. But that's part of the reason we dropped our EP in the middle of this, so we can offer something new and hopefully exciting to fill the big void left by the lack of live music. We also followed it up with an Instagram chat about the record and Q&A which was really great fun. We only intended to do it for about 20 mins but we ended up staying online and chatting to people for like an hour and a half!
G: In terms of side projects, it’s always just been either of us making music by ourselves so not much has changed there. Before all of this we were trying to put together some gigs to perform some side project stuff, but like everything, that’s now been put on hold.
With the lockdown being extended, does that affect plans for tours, singles, albums?
K: We were lucky in a way that we'd only just started planning the EP when all this madness happened, so thankfully we didn't have to cancel that much. But while it's of course a terrifying time for everyone to live through, it is super scary to have essentially staked your entire life and future on something that could crumble at any second. It's another reason why we dropped this EP when we did though - with the future so uncertain, we could've ended up waiting forever, so we just thought fuck it.
G: Also, as it turns out, much of the EP is a lot more complex than anything we’ve done before, and will take a bit of time figure out how to play live properly, so the freedom of just releasing it and not having to worry about performing it anytime soon was actually quite refreshing.
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?
K: God yeah, of course. From playing so much ourselves I've kinda found myself going to less and less gigs over the years, but I tell you what, as soon as everything is back up and running again you can catch me at every and any gig under the sun.
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?
K: It may be a cliche thing to say, but it's a simple fact that without people giving us the time of day that they do, we'd be absolutely nothing haha. We're forever humbled and grateful for each and every person who interacts with us and listens to our music, and it can't be understated the impact just buying a t-shirt or a 99p download makes. Even just a passing comment or email from someone who says they see what we do and appreciate it, is unbelievably impactful to us and that support is genuinely just as affirming as someone buying merch. We're also making more of an effort to do the same for other bands and venues and spread the love, as we're all in this together.
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?
K: I definitely think there's a lot that should change in the way we perceive a lot of modern society after this. The fact that so many are finding themselves anxious for lockdown to be lifted and to 'go back to normal' say's it all really. Whether these changes will happen and will last is another matter that's somewhat out of our hands, but I know for sure that this experience has had a profound impact on the way I live my life, think about myself and just my general attitude. Without downplaying or disregarding the circumstances in which this time has come about, I am grateful for this time which has allowed us to slow down and take stock of what matters in life.
G: Yeah same here, it’s cliched but I’ve definitely learnt a lot about myself, as I think many people have. Spending all day with yourself with little to distract you really let’s you find out what’s going on in your head.
Next up: Mark Speaks with Talk Show (UK).