MUTED - Musicians Under Lockdown Plymouth 2020

Greenbeanz Photography

MUTED - Musicians Under Lockdown | November / December 2020

Simon Dobson – Trumpet Player / Composer / Conductor
ABOVE : Simon Dobson – Trumpet Player / Composer / Conductor

The concept was simple, a collection of photographs of musicians at home, during lockdown. On their doorstep, in their garden, or through a window at their homes. A short interview including links to the featured musicians own or bands bandcamp, social media, etc.

The project was created to highlight how hard the ongoing lockdown and the wider pandemic restrictions on performing are for local musicians.


Photographing Musicians During LockdownABOVE : Shoot in progress. (Rubber lens hood used to eliminate reflections when shooting tight to window glass)

(This all took place at a distance with a long lens, with me outside the properties, wearing a mask and respecting social distancing guidelines at all times.)

After prompting from a few participants, (and demand from fans), the plan has now expanded to include the idea of publishing the work as a book. Filled with both the photographs shared across social media, some extra images from those shoots, and live shots of many participants that I have photographed over the years, along with musicians pandemic experiences, as a legacy piece.

A book of local musicians and their lockdown stories.

It will also be a fantastic fund raising tool for charities that are struggling at this time. Once the costs are met, ALL profits will go to MIND and LIVEWIRE. (50/50)

The idea is to show the solidarity and connections between the musical family/community here in the Westcountry and to keep the cultural and mental health benefits of live music alive in the hearts and minds of fans and decision makers across the region.

It is my job as a photographer, film maker and writer to document and highlight the cultural gems that makes this city and the wider region shine, and It is my hope that as well as supporting the community of musicians, (of which I am happy to be a part), that the project can act as a catalyst for change.

I have been banging on about the importance of live music for many years now, and more than ever, it is very important to not lose sight of how the people who bring their ideas from their hearts and heads, to a stage near us, are being affected in these difficult times. For some it will be their primary source of income, but for many more it will be a lifelong mission, supplemented by other work, in which their performances provide much needed relief and mental health therapy and support for both players and audiences alike.

Fans can support them by following the links and buying music directly, remembering all the great nights out they have given them, and by not forgetting to support the local venues that will be their second homes again, when the situation changes.

I have shared a sample selection of images and interview excerpts below.

I have now finished sharing the photographs and stories on facebook, instagram and on the Greenbeanz Commercial Website, but you can still like and share the project with fellow musicians, friends and family.

You can see the entire project on Facebook here(best for the musicians interviews and links) - https://www.facebook.com/media/set?vanity=GreenbeanzPhotography&set=a.3596922447039156

See the pictures here on instagram -https://www.instagram.com/greenbeanzphotography/

And in a gallery here on the Greenbeanz Photography Website - https://www.greenbeanzphotography.com/p779095252

You can also support the 'MUTED' project by following it's progress and buying the book

GoFundMe/Kickstarter links will appear here, on Greenbeanz Photography's Facebook page and here on the Projects own web address - www.mutedmusiciansunderlockdown.com

and coming to the exhibition (when restrictions allow it to be staged)

 


Electronic Pioneer 'Blessed Pangolin' in Plymouth during lockdownABOVE : Blessed Pangolin

HOW HAS LOCKDOWN AFFECTED YOU AS A MUSICIAN?

“My creative gears have seized up a lot. There hasn’t been a great deal to get excited about, so that’s had an effect on motivation. It can feel like you’re creating in a particularly cavernous echo chamber, especially as a solo artist. There are projects on the horizon now, thankfully, but it has been a very grey period of time “

Elani Evangelou Singer SongwriterABOVE : Elani Evangelou – Singer/Songwriter - Solo Artist – One Fourth of 'The Trees'

WHAT DOES PLAYING MUSIC IN THE REAL WORLD IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE MEAN TO YOU?

I’ve played a lot of gigs in my life, most of them have been in covers or function bands. I’ve played big festival sets and I’ve played in 20 capacity rooms, and every time you get a different type of enjoyment from it. For me, the most magical memories come from those tiny gigs where I’m playing solo, because those are usually the rare times when I feel the urge to share music that I’ve written with people. Those moments mean the world to me, because when you get it just right, nothing compares to that feeling of connection to an audience, no matter the size of the room.


Adam punk bass player with Murphy the CatABOVE : Adam – Bass Player with The Bus Station Loonies, Guitar Player with Secrets and Lies, Bass Player with Modernlife

WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON AND WERE ANY OF THEM SHAPED OR STOPPED BY THE CURRENT CRISIS?

The Bus Station Loonies - gigs booked for the spring/summer, including a short tour of Scotland and something special/different for the band’s 25th birthday, obviously had to be cancelled.

Secrets and Lies - have been quite productive! We recorded our set at a charity event just before lockdown, which sounded good enough to release as a live (official bootleg) record, so we put that together, did a bit of promotion and released it. We also managed to get together for a few rehearsals between lockdown - not our full line up, but we used that as an excuse to experiment with some different arrangements. We’ve also got enough, demos and ideas to start working on a new record when we are able to.


Modernlife – it was a shame that we hadn’t played much and were just starting to gain a bit of momentum before we had to stop. We’ve been keeping our hands in though, getting together for practices between lockdowns, as well as swapping ideas and recording demos etc.

Bass player Billi at home during lockdownABOVE : Billi – Bass Player with Butt Plug Babies and Drummer with Krustation

HOW HAS LOCKDOWN AFFECTED YOU AS A MUSICIAN?

It's stopped almost everything for me. I didn't realise how much I relied on gigs to keep me mentally sane and to keep me busy, until they were taken away. I quite literally feel muted. But, myself and my closest are clean of Covid and thank f*ck for that!

Jon Fazal – Singer/SongwriterABOVE : Jon Fazal – Singer/Songwriter

WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON AND WERE ANY OF THEM SHAPED OR STOPPED BY THE CURRENT CRISIS?

I put an EP out at the start of the first lockdown called News From Nowhere. I wrote the tracks before the pandemic but they're quite solitary songs and I think it kind of makes sense as a lockdown record. It's on Spotify or there are CDs available from Bandcamp (jonfazal.bandcamp.com).

The solo music I've been making since then has been more collaborative. I'm working on a new EP which some great musicians have contributed to remotely by sending ideas and recordings back and forth. I've been contributing to other people's music in this way too.

Me and my friend Melanie also recorded a split-screen video in the summer (https://youtu.be/GSpjC75oAYI) and I'm working on a music video with my band Bear Paw for a new single which is coming out next year.

Besides this, I've been busking a fair amount and I've also joined Plymouth's awesome Great Sea Choir.

Jonathan Stafford – Vocals, Guitar, Keys with Haunt The WoodsABOVE : Jonathan Stafford – Vocals, Guitar, Keys with Haunt The Woods

WHAT DOES PLAYING MUSIC IN THE REAL WORLD IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE MEAN TO YOU?

Playing a gig to an audience is the ultimate commune with others. It is exciting, revitalising, pure connection. People coming together for a shared experience. There is nothing like it, that release of energy and creative fever.

It is like spiritual equilibrium.

We will definitely be returning to live performance at the earliest opportunity and have begun work on a second record during lockdow

Alex Christaki – Pianist/Composer/Music Teacher/PhotographerABOVE : Alex Christaki – Pianist/Composer/Music Teacher/Photographer Entrepreneur Extraordinaire and one half of the Half Quartet

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH AND WHY LIVE MUSIC IS SO IMPORTANT IN ADDRESSING THAT FOR BOTH PERFORMERS AND THOSE ATTENDING SHOWS?

Music heals and saves lives. Music Loves You

Andy Boddington – Guitarist with Black Friday – One half of two piece 'Dew Barf'ABOVE : Andy Boddington – Guitarist with Black Friday – One half of two piece 'Dew Barf'

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH AND WHY LIVE MUSIC IS SO IMPORTANT IN ADDRESSING THAT FOR BOTH PERFORMERS AND THOSE ATTENDING SHOWS?

I always think "Mental Health" should be clarified with "good" and "bad". I think the things that give us good mental health are underrated and often overlooked. For instance, people write stories about the negative aspects of many things and rarely the positive - you are unlikely to read a story in the press about what a great time some people had in a pub , with continual belly laughs and all the rest of it.

Laughing is very good for the soul. I would hazard a guess that for every positive story there's 20 negative ones or more in the press. Yet the number of good times being had versus trouble and badness are maybe 1,000 to every one, or more. This creates dissonance (people have a distorted view on a situation) and dissonance is a mental health issue.

Therefore, I'd say a lot of bad mental health issues such as anxiety are due to people thinking something bad is going to happen based on dissonance garnered by the press putting emphasis on the negative aspects of good things, and ignoring the positives. I think the mental health positives of gigging are off the scale for both the musicians and punters.

Mike 'Mad Dog' Mathieson -Mad Dog Mcrea and Landlord of The White Thorn with GoatsABOVE : Mike 'Mad Dog' Mathieson -Mad Dog Mcrea and Landlord of The White Thorn

WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON AND WERE ANY OF THEM SHAPED OR STOPPED BY THE CURRENT CRISIS?

Back in the first lockdown my family and I started a weekly Sunday lockdown session on Facebook live which was very successful and we raised around £8000 for local charities. It was totally out of my comfort zone and to fill the weekly slots without the comfort of my usual band around me I had to explore a lot of old & new influences plus songs from my past which was both cathartic and a bit nostalgic.

Most of our gigs a have been rescheduled to 2021 so we are looking forward to getting into shape for what should be a very exciting summer for everyone! It’s unfortunate that the live music experience thrives on gatherings of people usually in confined spaces which is what makes it feel so special, but I understand and appreciate the difficulties in letting these events take place during a pandemic.


ODD STEP DEPLOYMENT UNIT at HOMEABOVE : ODD STEP DEPLOYMENT UNIT

DO YOU PLAN TO RETURN TO PLAYING LIVE MUSIC WHEN THAT IS SIMPLER, AND ARE THERE ANY VENUES/FESTIVALS/EVENTS YOU REALLY ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING AGAIN?

SL: If there was a way to perform to an audience wearing hazmat suits I would do it. I am looking forward to playing in any venue that's willing to host us. There's an intensity to the acoustic tunnel of the Underground that I've always really been into and now they've got a projector system there I know we could do something pretty serious.
It'd be great to play Supernormal and play some drifting sunny pastorals.

LD: a simple resounding yes, I can’t wait to play again and see other bands perform.
I’ll play anywhere that’ll have us

Rob C – Singer/ Songwriter/Guitarist at home during lockdownABOVE : Rob C – Singer/ Songwriter/Guitarist/ MC/ Percussionist/ All round clever B*astard

The Wireless – C-Force – Radio Radio – Sha Gov

WHAT DOES PLAYING MUSIC IN THE REAL WORLD IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE MEAN TO YOU?

Personally, it’s not my primary motivation for making music. Sometimes it can be exhilarating and uplifting and you feel that you are walking on air for a while after the gig. Sometimes I’m fairly ambivalent about it. Other times I wonder why I bother, but that feeling so far has always given way to a feeling of determination that I need to work a bit more at it.

Play better, sing better, write better songs, learn more etc. It’s good to doubt yourself – if you’re not satisfied it means that you are still striving to express yourself more eloquently.

Christopher Muirhead – Musician– Aches/Imperfect Orchestra/ Writer/ FilmmakerABOVE : Christopher Muirhead – Musician– Aches/Imperfect Orchestra/ Writer/ Filmmaker

DO YOU PLAN TO RETURN TO PLAYING LIVE MUSIC WHEN THAT IS SIMPLER, AND ARE THERE ANY VENUES/FESTIVALS/EVENTS YOU REALLY ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING AGAIN?

We have been thinking a lot about how things may well be different in the future and how to innovate so that some semblance of a normal gig can return, even if the vaccine and other measures are not enough to eradicate the need for any distancing.

I am personally interested in trying new things, and will definitely try and be involved in how we put on gigs next year. My dream gig would probably be Supersonic Festival with Aches, and playing a score to Apocalypse Now with Imperfect Orchestra at Palace Theatre; but at this point I will play your Gran's shed for a pint of Doombar and some pistachios.

Julian Issacs – Auntie Pus – The Punk BalladierABOVE : Julian Issacs – Auntie Pus – The Punk Balladier


How has the lockdown affected you as a musician,and what does playing music in the real world in front of an audience mean to you?

"Obviously one can substitute the occasional live stream, but performing to live audiences is my life blood - a drug I crave in its absence...I have done some interesting collaborations with other local musicians but they probably would have happened anyway. They just got completed more quickly because we all had more time on our hands."

Morwenna Boyne: Violinist - Sagwah, Multi-InstrumentalistABOVE : Morwenna Boyne: Violinist - Sagwah, Multi-Instrumentalist - MoMo, Event Manager - Jelley Events, and formerly with Old Tom’s.

HOW HAS LOCKDOWN AFFECTED YOU AS A MUSICIAN?

At the beginning part of lock down I was very demotivated by the inability to put on events and play gigs as I was used to spending most weekends doing, so this was a big switch up. Regardless this passed and it forced a relook at what music meant to me, approaching practice and projects in new ways. Music returned to being a significantly more personal thing for me, as I’m sure you can only expect in an isolation!

Luke Scott Dumper – Solo Singer/SongwriterABOVE : Luke Scott Dumper – Solo Singer/Songwriter, One half of Nu-folk Duo 'Widow's Peak', Banjo player and chief second shouty b*st*rd in Black Friday

DO YOU PLAN TO RETURN TO PLAYING LIVE MUSIC WHEN THAT IS SIMPLER, AND ARE THERE ANY VENUES/FESTIVALS/EVENTS YOU REALLY ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING AGAIN?

Ah pal of course...let me know when ha ha!. I'm gonna go hibernate. Bring it on I say, can't wait. It shall be epic.

Ben Turner- Former drummer with 'Tribute to NothingABOVE : Ben Turner- Former drummer with 'Tribute to Nothing', Former drummer with 'Damerels', Current General Manager at Underground and The Junction, Sound Engineer, Booker and Promoter, former manager White Rabbit, former owner Jack Cham's, former manager Tiki Bar .

WHAT DOES FACILITATING BANDS PLAYING MUSIC IN THE REAL WORLD IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE MEAN TO YOU?

Everything. That is pretty much the only answer I can give to that. I can’t imagine doing or being involved in anything else to be honest. I first got involved when I was 14 years old – I have been doing this for 30 years and can’t imagine a better or more fun way to earn a living.

Gary Johnson - Vocalist for Jurassik Punk and Alternative Attitude / Drummer for MentalityABOVE : Gary Johnson - Vocalist for Jurassik Punk and Alternative Attitude / Drummer for Mentality

WHAT DOES PLAYING MUSIC IN THE REAL WORLD IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE MEAN TO YOU?

It’s the best feeling. Connecting with others, sharing an interest in punk/alternative music with a message that can include myself beliefs, morals and views etc.

Performing is a safe healthy drug and counselling session for my own well-being.

To me it is all about entertainment.

I find especially when I am performing as a lead singer, I can connect with the crowd, have some banter whilst having and giving back a feel good factor in appreciation to anyone who takes the effort of taking time out to see any band I play in.

That is priceless.

You can find more photographs from gigs here - Greenbeanz Photography on Facebook

Greenbeanz for Event Photography in Plymouth

Greenbeanz Photography is available to shoot your gig or event you can book here

 


MUSIC BLOG ARCHIVE

Plymouth Punx Picnic 2019 | 05 -08 SEPTEMBER 2019

Underground 5 Years | 03 AUGUST 2019 | Live Music Photography | October Drift

The Eyelids | 'Suffer' EP | Music Release Artwork & Photography | Rockabilly and Garage Rock Music Cornwall

Windjammer at Calstock Arts | The Old Chapel | Friday 14 June 2019 | Folk Music Cornwall

Pavilions Introduces | Haunt The Woods | Saturday 16 March 2019 | Plymouth Pavilions

Steve Strong | 'Turbo Island' LP Launch | Underground | Plymouth | 17 January 2018

Donn Letts | 01 June 2018 | The Junction | Plymouth

Noble Jacks | 14th April 2018 | The Junction | Plymouth

Trampolene | Himalayas, Sophie and the Giants, The Haze | The Junction | Plymouth

Jack Cookson | 'Chamfer' EP Launch | Underground | Plymouth | Thursday 05 April 2018

Bad Manners | Thursday 29 March 2018 | Plymouth

Haunt The Woods | Saturday 24 March 2018 | Carnglaze Caverns

Album Artwork and Music Promo Photography | Kate Ferguson| Sweet Confusion

The Trees | Monday 23 October| The Bread and Roses

Plymouth Punx Picnic 2017 | Sunday 17 September| Thistle Park

Seth Lakeman at Freedom Community Festival | 04/06/17 | Plymouth Live Music Photography

Damerels, Tripper, Quiet Man, Paul Armer and Bad Credentials at Underground Plymouth | 02/06/17

King Colobus, Waxx and Warhorns at The Junction Plymouth | 02/06/17

The Selecter at Plymouth Hub | | 29/02/16 | Music Photography in Plymouth

Souls of Misfortune at Voodoo Lounge | 12/08/15 | Music Photography in Plymouth

Worried Shoes | November 2014 - May 2016 | The band that meant it | Music Photography

The Ramonas at Underground | 16/03/16 | Music Photography in Plymouth | Rocket to Ruin Tour

The English Beat | 07/10/16 | Music Photography in Cornwall | Zone Night Club, Redruth

Blinded by the Sound | 23-25 September 2016 | Multi Venue Exhibition of Live Music Photography

Black Friday | Port Eliot Festival & Promotional Shoot | Music Photography across the UK

Anarchy In Plymouth | 12/08/15 | The Sex Pistols Experience, London Calling and Broken Hearts

Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club | 24/03/16 | Music Photography in the UK | Plymouth University

Looe Music Festival |18-20 September 2015| Music Photography in the United Kingdom

MTV Live and Local | 24/07/16 | Music Photography in Plymouth | The Hoe Plymouth

Why I love to shoot The Cleaners | Cleaning up with a dirty mop | Photographing Punk Rock

The Westcountry Blues | Devon and Cornwall is the UK's South | Blues Music Photography