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Musicians have ‘high hopes’ for after coronavirus

Outlook+Grim+performs+on+stage+at+one+of+their+last+performances+prior+to+the+stay+at+home+orders+on+Wednesday%2C+March+4+in+Austin.+Photo+credit%3A+Photo+Courtesy+of+Justice+Palmer
Outlook Grim performs on stage at one of their last performances prior to the stay at home orders on Wednesday, March 4 in Austin. Photo credit: Photo Courtesy of Justice Palmer

Ever since the world went virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic, local bands and music producers are being hit hard due to lack of gigs still they remain optimistic for what will come next for the local music industry.
Bars and restaurants have closed their doors for the foreseeable future, crossing out the option for local bands and artists to perform live anytime soon. Although live shows and producing music have been frozen in time, the individuals at the forefront of the local music industry remain hopeful for the future of music after the coronavirus gradually fades away.
Rob Hitchcock, San Marcos based music producer and studio owner, said it has been an extremely difficult time for musicians who were about to have their big break. Hitchcock said before shelter-in-place orders, many musicians were eager to work in his studio to practice their art from a different angle in the absence of a live audience.
“Because of the quarantine, it is going to affect our ability to do business (in the studio) and have people come in here and record in the immediate,” Hitchcock said. “But that doesn’t stop us from consulting with musicians now and getting a game plan together. (We are) exchanging music and exchanging ideas and getting ourselves prepared so that when the (stay home, work safe order) is lifted, we can come in ready to go.”
Hitchcock said throughout all the closures and the current situation that rudely greets the concert business, he remains optimistic for the future that awaits the music industry.
“I think as musicians, we have an obligation and a duty to make good art, try our best (to create) really good work that could outlive us,” Hitchcock said.
Many musicians of the past were inspired by current events of their day, such as Bob Dylan and The Beatles, who transformed tragedies into music to make sense of it themselves.
Hitchcock’s business partner and fellow music producer, Tony Browne, said although this is a negative time for musicians trying to find work, he believes this extra free-time gives musicians a chance to try new things creatively.
“Now is as good a time as any to take a snapshot of those feelings that you don’t normally get to experience that often,” Browne said. “I think it is as important as ever to get your art out there and get your reflections out there because that cements with the way people look back at the past.”
Browne said it may take a while for people to ease their way back into crowds but believes that musicians will shred their guitars and jam out to a crowd sooner rather than later.
“In terms of live performances, I think it is at a stand-still until further notice, but I think people really value the ability to get together. Especially with the spirit of live music, you can’t defeat that.” Browne said.
The bubble of excitement made up of new cities and more gigs quickly turned into a wave of a disappointment for locally-based bands who had just started their musical journey.
Outlook Grim, a band with Austin roots, formed in October 2019. Within three months, the band had earned close to 1,400 likes on their Facebook page. They had scheduled gigs for March 29 in Austin, April 12 in San Antonio and had plans later in the year to travel to Houston for a couple of shows making their way up North.
Justice Palmer, drummer for Outlook Grim, said bands who already have a massive online presence will not succumb to the coronavirus, it will be bands who are up and coming and trying to make a presence online that will suffer. Palmer said his band is thinking about releasing their new song early but are at a crossroads on where to find a studio and a way to release their song with everything shut down.
“We have to put out a song just to keep our name out there so that people don’t start snoozing on local musicians,” Palmer said, “I think that’s every local band, they just want to be seen and they want to be heard. They have something to say and it comes out as art.”
Palmer said many smaller bands that were starting to make a name will have to start from the ground up again.
“That is kind of terrifying,” Palmer said. “At the same time, I think local artists will come together and make something happen. You can’t kill music.”
While live shows and studio projects have come to a screeching halt amid the coronavirus, one thing rings true: music will never die.

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