Isolation can be very difficult and very negative but there are many ways to turn the tables in your favor. Whether it’s adding to your skill set, finishing some of the unfinished, taking time to learn something you never had the time for or many other things, many of us are in a situation with plenty of time to spare.
In this edition of Ask The Pros, we reached out to many friends of HASR for a post that we hope will create inspiration and creativity. We asked producers, guitarists and bass players for their thoughts on how to use this quarantine to your advantage.
(in randomized order)
DAN SWANO – (Edge Of Sanity / Bloodbath / Unisound)
My life hasn’t changed that much, to be honest, but there have been some corona related client delays and that resulted in some rare “me-time” in the studio, and I have used it to learn how to bake old master tapes and then transfer these old recording in the best possible way and improve my restoration skills.
Every time I go back and mess around with the stuff I recorded 30 years ago I learn some much and often find new software that I need to “fix the old stuff” that also brings my current work to new heights. This time it’s the UHE Satin that completely floored me with its ability to “mimic” Dolby and dbx noise reduction encoding in the box. I just love that sound!
JOCKE SKOG – (Producer)
Start some sort of online shop. Collaborations with other musicians online! If you’re reasonable nice person you should at least have someone to hang with. I’m doing a couple of all and it’s great fun and makes time fly!
CHRIS CANNELLA – (Deicide / Autumn’s End)
During all of this covid insanity it’s tough to keep it together and be productive. But that’s is the key; be productive. So many say what I wouldn’t do for some extra time to… whatever. I am currently 2400 miles away from my band mates so rehearsal isn’t exactly an option. What I say to all is to keep in contact daily with your band or work. Play your instrument every day with a sweat. I have been rehearsing songs every day to keep my chops up and we have all been emailing each other song ideas for new material to work on when we can all get together soon. Also take the time to analyze things in your playing that need work. I have been taking this time to do all the above and woodshed like I’m a kid again. But as I have said before and again be safe, make it fun, and be productive!
GUS G – (Firewind / Ex-Ozzy Osbourne)
There’s a lot of things you can do in quarantine and that’s definitely working on your playing skills, technique, etc. Narrow down what it is you want to work on, and start slowly with a metronome for a few minutes every day. Of course learning new licks isn’t much of use unless you put it in a musical context. Try to integrate them on jams over backing tracks, or even better, maybe make your own backing tracks and get creative!
CHRIS HANNAH – (Propagandhi)
“keep the pen moving as they say in the writing world. if you have the time and the means, keep the pen moving and in service of vanquishing the darkness. Fuck Trump. “
KEVIN JARDINE – (Uplift Studio / Slaves On Dope)
“It has not been an easy time for anyone during this crisis. Fortunately I have my studio in my house so I can work as much as I please. So far the key has been creating deadlines to write new music, revise mixes that are years old that I never had a chance to do and experiment with new plugins or micing techniques. There is no right or wrong way to handle it, but music is an outlet, get lost in it and enjoy what comes from it.”
KILLIAN DUARTE – (Abiotic /Mimesis /Lattermath)
“Try and take this time to practice things outside of your comfort zone, since performances are cancelled, take this time to get through the growing pains of a new concept or technique and come out of the lockdown with a new appreciation and skill.”
DAVE DAVIDSON – (Revocation / Gargoyl)
“Try to do a little transcribing every day. You’ll grow your musical vocabulary and strengthen your voice on the instrument if you can pickup riffs and licks by ear from your favorite artists. When learning to play these ideas also try to emulate the tone and dynamics of them, that way you’ll be working on developing your ear, technique and tone production all in one practice session.”
SCOTT HALLQUIST – (Ten Foot Pole)
“Man, i would suggest artists/creators use the extra time to get outside their own bubble. It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of listening to the same stuff every day, especially when commuting to work & other mundane tasks. So my suggestion would be to listen/ingest some art outside of your normal avenues. If you listen to punk rock, give some pop music a try. If you’re a hip hop fan, listen to some bluegrass. You never know what creative ideas you can pick up from different genres that you can then use in your own productions.”
GUILHERME MIRANDA – (Entombed AD)
It’s quarantine time and first things first, we have to be safe and stay home as much as we can. If I could give any suggestion concerning a cool guitar practice/studies at this time, would be to cover some ground and fill the holes from things you’ve let pass in the past. That kind of stuff that we always tend to think like : hhhmmm when I have time I will study that legato, or understand better music theory … Now we have enough time to come back and pay attention on all these little missing details to have a better understanding of our abilities, connect all we’ve learned and let music play though ourselves”.
KRISTIAN KOHLE KOHLMANNSLEHNER – (Kohlekeller Studio / URM)
“Do you remember THAT project you never found the time to do?
That one “if I just had the time to…” thing?
Do it now and let it become your Corona legacy! Enjoy!!”
GIACOMO GASTALDI – (Bloodshot Dawn / Darkend)
“I’d say to just try go outside your comfort zone as a playerFor example with some exercises like writing stuff for your instrument but without thinking about the guitar or bass or whatsoever and relearn what you’ve written without changing anything.”
LINDH – (Twilight Force)
“I think it’s really important to always stay hungry and keep learning new stuff, whatever that may be, and now is the perfect time. Try something new and use this opportunity wisely! I’ve started learning Houdini (a 3D animation and special effects application) with the intent to create FX for future music videos. It’s such a massive learning experience and I really feel like I’ve found a new passion in life.”
If something makes you happy – that will reflect on everything you do, including playing the guitar. It is also a good time to explore new ways of reaching people. I’ve started giving guitar lessons via Skype and I’ve set up a Twitch account where I stream video games and play some guitar. Don’t be afraid to do things out of your comfort zone, it might open new doors and set you on a completely new path in life!
MARCO MASTROBUONO – (Hour Of Penance / Kick Recording Studio)
“Don’t buy expensive gear during this period. You’ll be probably happy immediately, but scared to used too much money that you’ll need in the future. Use this period to study stuff that will help your music career / future. There are a lot of courses everywhere in the web and even the ones where you have to pay something can be very cheap and very helpful. Study how to prepare your tracks to send to a producer or a mixer engineer, how to make a solid midi and audio track that will save time and money. Download all the free trials available for every daw and study what’s better for you. You don’t need gear now, you need to study, and it will help you a lot after this period.”
FRANCESCO BUCCI – (Stormlord)
The quarantine was such an hard time for everyone, but also a moment to look after yourself and to spend some hours with music.
As and artist, I’ve used these days (at least, the part were I wasn’t smart workinkg) to improve my skills in home recording (and they are not that much, sadly…) and to experiment more with songwriting than with pure practice (I’m too lazy to play for hours to the beat of a metronome, I prefer to write music on cubase jumping from bass to guitar to VST… sometimes this involves a microphone for vocals too).
So in two months I’ve wrote about 7 songs very different from my style, maily punk and r’n’r stuff for my side project, and I’ve spent some time doing scouting and searching a contract for my traditional heavy metal band ScreaMachine (more news soon) and being involved in other projects like doing some live streaming interview to bands (Necrodeath, Elvenking, Hour Of Penance etc.) for the italian webzine www.metal.it