Interview: How is The Coronavirus Pandemic Affecting The Independent Music Scene? We Speak to Stephen Evens

Since the Coronavirus lockdown began we’ve been keeping in touch with bands, venues and labels from the UK independent music scene and beyond to find out how they are being affected.  This week we caught up with Stephen EvEns, whose new single ‘Dustbin Man‘ was recently premiered on Joyzine.

How have you been affected by the virus and the restrictions that have been put in place to contain it?

Like everyone else, I’m stuck at indoors for the foreseeable. Most of my income streams have been cut off or severely depleted. But at the moment that is not what is important, because we are all equally screwed. This is all about survival, being there for each other and helping each other as much as we can during the crisis, however remote we are to each other.

On the plus side, my wife and I finally get to see each other for more than a few hours at a time. The dog thinks that it’s Christmas.

Has there been any support available to bands to help with the impact of these changes?

What support has there ever been for bands in this country? I feel that most people see it as a glorified hobby, the fruits of which are to be consumed freely like roll after roll of hoarded bog paper. So, no change really. I think Sir Thomas Beecham summed it up by saying “The English don’t care much for music, but they love the noise it makes”.

Have you been doing anything to keep in touch with fans that haven’t been able to attend live shows?

I’ve popped my head out on social media to ask people if there is anything I can come up with to keep them amused and they’ve been kind enough to suggest things. So I’ve been beavering away trying to come up with the goods.

I have been approached by a few online promoters to do shows, along with some old musical sparring partners.  I have a gig this Thursday at Quarantini https://thepubhub.me/QUARANTINI I’m on at 8pm supporting Lara Smiles and Happy Science. Not sure what I’m going to do yet or in what corner of the house to do it.

What can music fans do to support their favourite artists at this time?

I guess the same as we can do for them, which is to engage.  Follow the various goings on happening on the internet, get involved with whatever their favourite pop group is up to. I have made a conscious decision not to ask for any donations from people. We are all in the same boat and I think for now people have more financially important things to worry about.  I will be sharing some exclusive Coronovrius Era material online to keep my follower(s) entertained and hope that once this is over that they buy a physical record or a piece of merchandise to help keep the Stephen Evens pop machine rolling for another few years.

I wrote a little article for a music magazine the other day talking about how musicians would be coping during this time. This is a great opportunity to make something great out of an otherwise dark time. We have our instruments and our voices and little hand held robots to record our noises which will then communicate all of that to the outside world for us. It seems inevitable that we will see one of the most creative periods of our times.

Interview by Paul Maps

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