――Tell us any artists’ activities concerning Brexit. Any thoughts/productive stories?
Post-Brexit it looks a bit of a mess at the moment for the creative industries in the UK. The Conservatives prioritised the fishing Industry which has a much smaller economic contribution than the arts. They did it because it wins votes and appeals to nationalism and borders and England as a maritime power like in the past which is all a total fantasy. Music and the arts are not popular with the right wing press.In England now they are creating a culture war between liberal/intellectual or left wing people and the people who voted Brexit. Just another divide and rule tactic.I understand why people voted Brexit. I don’t agree with Brexit but 40 years of privatisation and financialisation have left a lot of people worse off particularly those in the areas where industry and manufacturing were. This is the area I came from. On a personal level because of new import duties the sales for the labels to Europe have dried up in January and now to get vinyl manufactured it can take up to 5 months since most of the pressing plants are in Europe. So many challenges..! Also I don’t perform much but reading about the new visa requirements and taxes on bringing your equipment or instruments into European countries it is obviously going to severely affect performers which is really sad. We will come through but I hope with new networked possibilities away from major labels/publishers and monopoly platforms control of the music industry.
――What about influence of COVID-19 on the music/art scene? For example, how does it affect performance venues, space like Cafe Oto etc. or performers? How can artists struggle & thrive for this era?
Everything is shut here. The government left it too late to shut down last year and then opened up again too early. Next I think they will use Brexit as an excuse for their incompetence with Covid. They will blame the UK’s mess on Europe. As for the artists, people are helping each other as much as possible. Bits of work are shared around and generally it has felt positive that artists and good organisations like Cafe Oto are trying to support each other. They are doing their Takuroku releases where music is being commissioned and released whilst in lockdown with 50% of all money going directly to the artists. Bandcamps rise over the last year means you can pay direct to artists too which has been a good thing.
――Does the UK government support artists enough?
No they don’t!
――If there are any advancements, movements from artists’ side.
I hear of formative blockchain decentralised music networks that are starting. I think one called Audials which might point toward a better further for musicians.