In the fourth part of our series of interviews with bands during lockdown, Mark Glenister spoke with Sammy Robinson of Treeboy and Arc and asked him about dealing with lockdown, how it’s impacted the bands plans, and their plans once life returns to ‘normal’.
Firstly, how are you? How are the rest of the band as well?
Hey, we’re all doing pretty good at the moment. Obviously, it’s easy to focus on the negatives in a time like this and dwell on certain things. We’re just trying to stay positive and productive, knowing that there’s many people in worse situations than us worldwide and feeling lucky to be in the position of safety that we’re fortunately in
Do you have a daily routine, are you learning anything new as everyone else seems to be?
Definitely trying to keep a daily routine. Getting up early, having a coffee and taking the day from there. None of us have got set things that we do each day, but in general we’re just trying to keep writing music and catching up on life admin. It’s also been nice having some time to rest. Usually we all work full-time jobs alongside the band so often don’t have much free time to relax, so this has been nice in that sense.
Are you seeing this lockdown as a time to be creative? And has it changed the way you view the industry?
We’re definitely all trying to be creative and continue writing as much music as possible. Whether that’s writing music for Treeboy & Arc or just writing and recording random bits just for fun to keep busy. With regards to the industry changing, I think it definitely will change in so many ways, but I think currently it’s too up in the air to pin point anything specific. Nobody really knows what’s going on or when gigs will even start happening again, so we’re just taking it as it comes.
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?
It’s been difficult for us as we live across 3 different households. We feel that our music really needs all of the elements in it for it to be at it’s best, so it’s tricky for us to try and do any kind of live streams etc. We’ve made a couple of playlists like everybody seems to be doing, but that’s probably it for the moment.
Photo by Megan Mechelle Dalton
With the lockdown being extended, does that effect plans for tours, singles, albums?
Absolutely. We recorded our first album in the back end of 2019 and were very excited to get it released and tour it as much as possible. Obviously due to the current situation all of our plans have been put on hold and everything is pretty delayed. As I said before though, we’re aware that there’s many people in the same boat as us and also many people (not necessarily in the music world) who might be in bad situations right now. From a selfish point of view, yes we’re a bit frustrated that we can’t get the album out as soon as we would have liked to, but then again… it’s not the end of the world! Shit happens.
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?
Yeah definitely. All of us spend a vast amount of our free time at The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Whether that’s watching a gig or just hanging out, either way we miss it very much. Going to live gigs is our biggest intake of culture personally, so to have that taken away is pretty crap and can leave you feeling a bit uninspired and deflated. It’s for the better good right now though so I suppose we can suck it up and miss out on things for a while. We’re just looking forward to it all starting up again and being able to go to gigs nearly every night of the week.
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?
Absolutely. It’s nice to know that people still care, are still thinking of you and listening to your music. We’ve been getting occasional messages from people about a show they’d come to in the past or have seen clips of us playing live posted on social media by people and it definitely puts a smile on our faces for the day.
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 I 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 think that’s a difficult question. Yes, there’s lots of positive things happening across social media platforms at the moment and sometimes they’re great. However, often these things can also be coated with social pressure bringing great anxieties to many. Personally, we miss genuine face-to-face interaction with our pals and are looking forward to things returning to normal. At the same time, we hope there can be some lessons learned throughout this. It definitely seems to have made everyone in the UK realise how important the NHS is to our country, which we hope will be remembered when it comes to the next general election. Let’s vote for those who will fund and nurture our NHS, rather than just patronisingly clapping for it once a week. Obviously showing our appreciation to those key-workers right now is an amazing and important thing, we’re not trying to belittle that. We just hope that pride and faith in our NHS continues on after this pandemic is over.
Our next Bands in Lockdown interview with Will Atkins of Sleep Eaters will be published tomorrow (Saturday)