The maddening energy that comes with being in a room packed with minds like yours, swaying to the beat of the music, and somehow allowing all senses of time and space to completely be lost, in the vibe of the room. Live events and the surreal levels of craze, that they bring to the table, are now all set to change. Experts in the industry have already shed their forecast on the scenes in the running. Live shows are set to take a big hit, and that’s for months, even post the lockdown being lifted. While the pandemic has changed our normal for a whole bounty of things, it comes as no surprise that that clubbing and live gigs post lockdown are sure to take a 360 degree turn.
An artist speaks
Selwyn Santmajor, is the founder and performer at Not The Acoustic Average - the only band in India which combines Live Music of Multiple Genres and Languages with Street Magic, Beat Boxing, Mimicry, Rapping and Memes. One of the 3 winners of the MTV Lockdown Stars National Event, he’s the right guy to make sense of the confusion that envelopes the future of live gigs post lockdown. Starting off four years ago as an unplugged artist, he has gone on to perform at a total of 500 shows to date.
He speaks of the transition from doing live events on stage, to now going digital. “The experience of performing for a crowd that’s live and in front of you, is completely different from the virtual aspect of it. Here comes the challenge of keeping the audience engaged whilst trying to get a check on their feedback in the ‘comments’ section, whilst watching them on a screen. Everyone’s got a different sense and taste of music, and it gets tough catering to the demands of the audience.”
This artist has performed for the big guys such as the Viviana Mall, Liberty Insurance and also different State Associations such as KDO (Kutch) and Bunts Sangha (Karnataka). He says his fondest moments of performing live pre-lockdown were seeing the audience having a good time, as he would jam into the night. “As an entertainer, my prime focus has been on getting people in the vibe. The size of the audience never acts as a deterrent and I think their reactions when I perform live, are what will remain priceless to me. I miss performing in front of the crowd, the appreciations post the gig, and the smiles that come with it.”
Getting creative during the lockdown
Well it’s not all blues for the artist, as he speaks of how there’s always a bright side. “The lockdown wasn’t futile as it came with tremendous amounts of time to practise, improve and learn. It gave me a chance to test myself, getting creative with the situation. So bam! I ended up combining skills and creating entertaining content, if I may say!”
“I had a plan in place from day 1: Post regular content, which mind you should be unique. With over 60 videos which are a mix of singing, guitar, beatboxing, mimicry, rapping, magic, art and more, something eventful came out of this. I’ve gotten myself booked for gigs for huge corporate crowds! Along with this, I’ve upped my skills to take my gigs to another level. Post lockdown of course.”
Artists have had their fair share of eventful moments during the lockdown. These will certainly serve as memories! Selwyn recounts when he took it upon himself to do something fun. “I knew a couple who were stuck in 2 different parts of the world during the lockdown and as luck would have it, it was their anniversary. I did a little gig where I started with the song Jaane Ja Dhundta Fir Raha wherein the husband followed with tum kaha, and the wife with mai yaha in suit. I don’t know if I entirely was up to their expectations, but well, definitely brightened up their day.”
Gigs post lockdown
Selwyn says that the first aspect of change that is needed, is that in the mentality of the artists. This when it comes to payment and talent. “Maintaining a steady flow of income for artists is very tough without the right content. I see a lot of artists going live on social media and asking for virtual tips via online payment apps. Few artists are getting virtual shows via their clients and some are taking online classes to generate income.” It’s each to his own and one is doing whatever it takes to float his boat.
“It might take 3 more months for things to settle in for artists, as our profession also depends on the crowd. Personally, I would not want my crowd to attend a gig until and unless we're all completely safe. Things will pick up for sure and once they do, it will only keep getting better because c’mon! People have spent a lot of their time holed up at home. They'll want to celebrate all their occasions as soon as things get better. This gives artists more opportunities to perform.”
What clubs will look like
Everyone’s enthusiastic to know the visuals of the post-lockdown world. Are clubs going to be a scary sight, with all the distancing in place? “Clubs will indeed take a hit and those that are more spaced out will definitely do better than the cramped ones. However, clubbing will not die. There are people who are dying to go out and party. Owners of clubs have already started coming up with attractive offers for the post lockdown world. Survival of the fittest is what will be seen, with regards to space, offers and safety measures.
Advice to artists
“The best strategy is to learn, practice and improve. Post quality content, build an audience that appreciates your work. Start giving online lessons based on your skill set, offer video services to make an occasion special by doing a unique mashup. Be creative, be unique and the demand will automatically increase.” says the artist, signing off.