Independent artists still rock it, global pandemic or not


Let’s say your livelihood, your career, and your dreams depended on meeting as many people as possible in crowded places night after night. What happens when a global pandemic puts an end to this?

That was the question facing independent musicians in Israel when Covid hit the country, bringing the local music industry to a screeching halt as shows were canceled, venues closed and music tours became a distant memory. memory.

The past few months have been difficult for the arts community, with many musicians, sound technicians, stagehands and others finding themselves out of work.

And yet, the local indie music scene is still alive, albeit in a slightly different way.

With shows out of the question at the moment, many artists are busy creating new material, and some aren’t waiting for the pandemic to pass before releasing it.

“There were the stages where it all started where people were like, ‘Okay, we’re going to postpone the release of the album or the single for a while and wait until it’s possible to do a show and debut properly,'” explains presenter Chen Litvak. and editor of a radio program on the alternative channel KZradio.

“Recently, we’ve seen that this whole thing of waiting for it to be over before going out is over,” she says. “Nobody commits to a date, to a place anymore. It’s just become impossible to do these things with any kind of knowledge.

The second wave

The biggest independent release during the pandemic was HaGal HaSheni (The Second Wave), a double album with around 100 participants which was orchestrated by musician Roy Rieck.

“It started at the start of the first confinement. I had intended to follow my wife to her doctorate at Princeton and the plans were almost canceled with the start of the confinement. Like everyone else, I was disappointed by the situation,” says Rieck.

A member of indie band Acollective, now on hiatus, Rieck began turning to people he had worked with over the years.

“I’ve always had this desire to create a project, to get people to collaborate. The idea was to create from home, but together. I asked everyone to send me something. Everyone sent an idea, a beat they created, a text they wrote,” he says.

“I started turning them into a package passing between everyone; each person received an idea that someone else raised. It is a kind of documentation of this period in all its aspects, of the pandemic, of the protests, of the implications for our livelihoods and our private lives,” he adds.

The result is a truly collaborative venture featuring high-profile and lesser-known independent artists, which is now available on YouTube and Spotify.

music for emergencies

Another project that created a snapshot of these corona times is Tunes for Emergencies, a smaller-scale collaboration between mostly female indie artists brought together by vocalist Noam Sadan, known professionally as Nomke.

“I think when the first lockdown started a lot of us just found ourselves with a lot of free time and also without much ability to earn a living, so that made us stop all the projects we had. until then and figure out how to do things differently,” she says.

Doing things differently, she notes, included artists producing their songs on their own, without a producer, or cutting costs by renting recording studios together. “We tried to be as creative as possible and to create with what are called corona budgets,” she says.

The results were also unique to corona.

“I think as artists our filter is to create and write about what happens to us and what concerns us. You end up with songs that were written in a very specific time period,” says Sadan. “These are not summer hits.”

try to break in

While existing artists are finding these pandemic times quite difficult, new ones trying to break through are facing other challenges.

“We started working just when the situation started to deteriorate and when it became clearer what was going on,” says Yael Copeland of shiny new band Borito.

“The upside, as much as you can call it, of this period is that there’s social media and that’s how we communicate with the public and we really focus on that,” he explains. -she.

Borito has released two singles and a debut album is coming out soon.

“You can still create content and do special things,” Copeland notes. “You can insist on continuing to create culture independently.”

Even so, people in the music industry are struggling.

“You can see the other side of many independent artists, whether it’s those who have gone high-tech and retrained, or those who are trying to make a living and survive,” notes radio presenter Litvak. “People have just found themselves out of work these months.”

She thinks the real test will be when things reopen. “There was the short respite when things were open and you could see the crowd was there.”


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