The mental health of musicians has suffered an enormous blow since the pandemic shutdown their livelihood almost overnight in March this year when COVID 19 meant that live performances where cancelled across the country. Mental Health Week happens this month from 10 to 18 October, and Blank GC wanted to know how our local musicians are faring. We asked some of our Gold Coast Music Award recipients the question:
How has listening to and creating music helped you through the COVID induced suspension of live music performance?
Julz Parker (Hussy Hicks): We spent a large portion of the lockdown period maintaining our sanity by recording music and having lots of campfire jams.
Casey Barnes: I definitely think that some of the most incredible music will come out of this entire COVID lockdown. It’s made you stop and reflect on a lot of things which has resulted in some really powerful songs being written. It’s also created new opportunities to collaborate and write with other writers based overseas thanks to Platforms like Zoom which has been great!
Olivia Dennis (DENNIS): Creating music during this time has been super helpful to encourage myself to make new goals and work even harder towards them. One for example has been to re-energise my live set, writing new material just gives you an even bigger itch to play live. Again listening to some of the new music that has been coming out of ISO has made me want to see new bands I didn’t even know about. Overall it has been keeping me driven and determined to give my art everything I’ve got.
Jeremy Marou (Busby Marou): Us musos live from weekend to weekend highs, highs from the adrenaline rush from what the stage offers. COVID has taken a huge chunk of our lives away, the music high part. If I’ve learnt anything from recent times it is my new appreciation of music, the sound of it, creating it, and performing it. Having the time to listen and appreciate music in these COVID times has gone to new level. Knowing with hope that soon we will be in the tour bus again. until then keeping sane by letting the creative juices flow and reminiscing the days of a pumping stage.
Paul A. George (Tijuana Cartel / Black Rabbit George): I’ve realised there’s no way my addiction to music will ever fade. It’s been the first real break from touring I’ve had for the last 15 years, and I’ve found even though the shows have stopped the music still gets made and I still get the excitement from creating whacky noises. I do really miss playing the live shows to people we love, but I think in this industry you have to learn to swing with the punches and do your best to enjoy the ride. Mentally this period has been tough for other reasons. I found music was the greatest escape, I also find immersing myself into something and seeing it through to the finish is helpful, whether it’s music or anything else. Music is endlessly cathartic, on the other side I find I can lose myself too much in there. So you got to be careful, don’t forget your friends and family.
Mark Gray (Eddie Ray): I am sad to say I haven’t played or created any music through this time, I have used this time to explore other creative projects but I can safely say listening to music and finding new music has been my absolute saviour. Finding peace in the great pause could only happen through turning off the noise of the world and listening to music.
Dana Lowrey (DVNA): I guess for those of us who listen and those of us who create, music is therapy. With the world in such an uncertain state, music for me was the one thing I was certain about. I was able to forget about what was happening on the outside and truly focus on something that makes me happy. I got to finish my record and connect with my listeners online a bit more.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing mental health issues, you can visit beyondblue.org.au for options, or call them straight away on 1300 22 4636.
Digital Artwork created by Amanda Gorman