Usually at this time of year we are all looking back at a year jam packed with a whirlwind of events from tiny gigs to giant sold out music festivals. We would be discussing whose gigs were the best, share hilarious stories from wild weekends while keeping a beady eye on tour schedules for the upcoming year….This year has been a little different, for obvious reasons, and the impact on the music industry has been disastrous. Times are bleak, but as always, we can look to the newcomers in the scene to give us some hope for the upcoming year.
I spoke to three immensely talented emerging artists: Babe Club, FJ Law and Mollie Coddled about their experiences from the last year, the impact of coronavirus on their careers and what they think the next wave of fresh talent could do to get noticed…
Hey everyone, thanks so much for agreeing to speak with us about this! Firstly, can you sum up the impact coronavirus has had on your music momentum?
BABE CLUB: Earlier this year we felt like we had this momentum building up, people had started to reach out to us online and we were feeling that and recognising it and then COVID hit, and it was gone. We released our debut EP ‘Remember This Feeling’ and we had some shows around that release which were cancelled, which was really disappointing. But we’ve been enjoying promoting the EP online.
FJ LAW: I think for me it might be a bit different to the others because I hadn’t actually launched as FJ Law before the lockdowns came in… But I’ve been able to be really productive and prepare for my debut release, ‘Friends’. I, like everyone, was forced to stay home and just be with my speakers, my laptop, my microphone and just actually get this project off the ground.
MOLLIE CODDLED: So, at the start of this year I was starting to get more onto the local music scene in Leeds and I was getting on the radar of some of the local promoters, I was looking forward to some larger support slots later this year but then nothing went ahead in the end which was really disappointing. Once the lockdown hit I started putting more time into my EP and growing my online following; a few of my songs have been featured on Spotify playlists and that might not have happened if COVID didn’t happen, so it’s a different kind of momentum now.
What were your experiences like during the lockdowns, when the entire world seem to have drawn to a halt?
BC: It’s been kind of tough to get into being creative again after everything stopped. For those first few months we were just checking in to see what was happening because we didn’t know how long it was going to last. We were fortunate enough to be in a position where we could just take it a day at a time and do things like bake bread. It did take us a while to really start understanding that this wasn’t going to just go away before we got back into our creativity.
FJL: I knew that I didn’t want to just release one song and have nothing else to back it up with, so the lockdowns gave me all this time to start stacking up songs. I’m really good at starting things but not so good at finishing them, so I was grateful for the time to really knuckle down.
MC: I feel like there was a lot of hesitation around releasing music during the lockdowns but I think they’ve been beneficial for me because everything’s been so pared back. People are listening to music more but not just as background noise, I feel like the lockdowns enabled people to gain other people’s attention more. Also, personally, the lockdowns helped me as it provided more time to work on my sound; I produce all my music so it does take time to get things polished.
There is a real sense of anxiety surrounding people’s futures in music right now, what advice do you have for people just starting out in their musical career or trying to catch a break in times like these?
BC: I think that everything is so digital now so I would really say just put your music out there and start connecting with people online. I’ve discovered quite a few bands from ads on Instagram as well as things like playlists. There are loads of social media accounts that actively want to support new artists, so do some internet digging and submit your songs to those blogs!
FJL: It’s a tough pill to swallow that events like BBC Introducing or The Great Escape music festival didn’t happen in the UK this year ‘cos networking is just such a massive part of the game that you have to play… But I would say this is a great time to be experimental. Funnily enough, you’ve got no boundaries within the four walls of your bedroom because you can make what you want on your computer with the bare minimums of equipment. Also it’s a great time to experiment with how you engage with people online.
MC: Try to connect with people from your genre, try to collaborate with them and make an effort to connect with your fanbase. Ask people for advice as well, like people on a similar level to you, find out what they are doing and copy it! I also use SubmitHub which is great as instead of you having to find your audience, it sort of brings them to you through its algorithm. Generally, I don’t think there is a particular art to it, but do it because you love it – not because you want to become a famous musician.
Thanks to all of you for speaking with us!
At the time of writing, the new tier four restrictions have been announced for London, placing yet more intolerable strain on the music industry and night time sector. COVID19 (and all the restrictions that come with it) may be with us for a little while longer…but as always we can rely on music, new and old, to keep us going, remind us of better times and that things can, and will, get better.
You can check out all three artists featured in this article via their social media pages, and keep an eye (or ear) out for their new music releases in the coming year.