We spoke to Syd.31, about Covid-19. Although the interview is tongue in cheek, the subject is serious. Please scroll down to the bottom for links to websites able to help artists, people in debt, where to get advice, and many other seriously important help sites for you all. Please support each other and do what you can to keep artists going.
DM - Dr Madge KM - Kara Wolf Q. As a lover of all things apocalyptic, are you loving it right now?? KW- No! I hate it. This is not the apocalypse I wanted. I wanted to be a warlord stealing guzzaline, but instead we get a plague like thing. On the plus side, I get to play video games constantly. DM - Ha, I’ve been asked this loads recently. Mad Max and Fallout has always been a form of escapism for me, but mixed with real world fascination. In the real apocalypse, I’d rather be drab and dull and not stand out, although aggressive peacocking is defo a defensive measure to scare people off.
Q. People are asking when should we start dressing like Mad Max villains, what’s your take? Personally I say until the washing machine gives out which actually seems to be any day now.
KW - People should always dress like Mad Max villains - it looks cooler. Also - turn your washing machine into a War Rig DM- Pffft. If you aren't doing it already, you're a poser. Only joking. Most of the aesthetic for our apocalypse will be more like The Road or Threads. Just anything to try and keep us warm and dry and not stand out too much. Also, something with lots of pockets too. In modern collapsing societies, in places we often call ‘Failed States’ there is an element of people dressing utterly over the top and ridiculous, bright pink wigs, with army boots and Kalashnkovs. Its a way of saying ‘I fucking dare you to say something, becasue I’m crazy and dont give a fuck! Please, give me ANY excuse to just fucking kill you’. The battles in Liberia in the early 2000s was a good example of that. Look at the soldiers in pink wigs, or wedding dresses turning up to attack. Terrifying and Mad Max for real.
Q. How is the lock down affecting you? KW - Not much has changed as I’m not out much unless its at gigs or day-to-day things. I was surviving before due to benefits and mental health. This is just another page in life that we are all going to have to deal with and get through. DM - Quite a mixed feeling to be honest. I’ve planned for this for years, so I'm confident in the steps I’ve taken, even if people took the piss at the time. It started for real in 2016 when populists took hold - I knew they would strip away all our ‘spare’ capacity to help and cope with system shocks and mixed in with a refusal to see whats actually happening. I’ve got quite a good stockpile for several months of food and goods I’ve built it up over the years. Its made me quite calm; But I’m feeling devastated about the impact its going to have on all our long term health, including mine. No one is going to come out of this without being affected; But now is the time for us to talk more about it, and its important to ask, so I really appreciate you doing that.
Q. Any tips for mental health in these difficult times? KW - Try and stay around your close ones, if thats possible. Finish projects that you hadn't, take, up a new hobby and try and keep yourself exercised. Just try and see the positives - dont believe everything you see on facebook, in fact, try and take a break away from it - play lots of games instead. Lots of them. DM - This is all going to be the new normal and its unlikely things will ever be the same again. Talking to each other, play, chat, flirt, share shit memes and good songs. Just be there as best as you can for everyone.
Q. What can artists do right now and what can fans do to support artists? KW - For artists, stream live acoustic stuff, although thats not possible for Syd31. People can buy merch or records, as a lot of people have lost income. DM - Pretty much what Kara said. I’m so fortunate that I still have a day job and income - music is a hobby for me. There are countless people who took a big chance to do music full time and through no fault of their own, its all come to a sudden stop. We can encourage people to buy merch, especially digital albums, so they can still keep physical stock for when we can all gig again. But musicians are going to have to do something radical - sign on, claim as much in bens and support as possible. Do that delivery driving job, look what jobs are there that can match your talents, even if its wharehouse work (there is a huge demand for this work right now) Dont fuck about and think there is a rock and roll solution to this - there isnt. I’ve added some links to help at the bottom of this.
Q. It’s like watching the fall of the Roman Empire all over again right? What do you think will be the next few dominoes that could fall so to speak? KW - On an extreme scale, the entirety of our society - its pretty fragile, as this virus has exposed it to be. No society can last forever in the same way, look at the Egyptians, the Mayans, their arrogance was their downfall. DM - Ah, history geek alert. Yes there are a lot of comparisons to the Fall of the Western Roman Empire. It wasnt barbarian hordes that did it in for them. Most of the Barbarians were masses of people fleeing wars in Eastern Europe. They came to stay, to settle and to become Roman too Quite often this was agreed, often after some bloodshed. What really led to the Roman collapse, is that people stopped believing in being Roman, they lost faith in the institutions. The last Western Roman emperor was forced into early retirement as no one cared about him or a central government anymore. Instead, we had local kings and lords and the feudal system developed. People lost faith in being Roman as the government wasnt able to protect, care for its citizens nor inspire anyone. The outcome is there in the archaeological records - buildings became smaller as the economy shrunk, culture and arts suffered from lack of funding and investments and the elites lived separate lives in their local tax exiles (regional grand estates and castles). Farms couldnt harvest as they couldnt get the labour and manpower, countless businesses went bust. And plagues happened - and no one trusted the government. Sound familiar? .
Q. In your track Leviathan you quote Hobbes in saying “Man is wolf to another man” have you seen that nasty side already take hold in the streets and how should people prepare for the eventual rise of nasty warboys and raider scum do you think? KW - Well, Im a wolf to everyone else already! The nasty side I’m seeing is people’s arrogance - them going out, them buying all the stuff and not thinking of others. I’d initially say they are like monkeys, but I’d say more like cavemen, what with their primal behaviour. DM - People are scared and we are without any real effective leadership. This always results in people behaving in the worst way. Its instinct. Its what happens when society starts to collapse. This is the very early stages of the collapse and its easily reversed and stopped. We just need leadership. The Blitz Spirit is a lie and always has been. My dad told me how people really behaved in Hull with constant air raids. History records back that up too. Now we have things like my Mum’s elderly pal having his shopping robbed from him while still in the supermarket because “I’ve got kids and need it more than you do”. And no-one did fucking anything to help.
Q. Top 5 tips for surviving the pre-wasteland? KW - Food, shelter, axe, fire and my War Motorbike. Those are my five tips. I could say more, but I think it would not go down well. DM- 01 - Dont keep calm and carry on. Carrying on as normal is what got us into this mess. Instead do something new - build networks, organise local help, stick up for each other and be VERY vocal. We can never go back to the old ways. 02 - Recognise that you are going to feel scared, helpless and very down. That's ok, don't blame yourself. Its a broken system that got us in this mess and not your fault. 03 - A little love goes a long way. I woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. A friend saw I was online and straight away asked if I was ok. I’ll never forget moments like that, it meant the world to me 04 Keep your mind active, and your spiritual side engaged. Whether you believe in a god(s) or not, it doesnt matter - let your spirit free in your art, words and all the deeds you do. Go and suck at some art - find your voice and keep getting better. 05) Get help and advice - there are tonnes of credible sources of information and help online.
Currently the Citizens Advice Bureau and Musicians Union are my favourites as they offer lots of helpful links and information. Please, if you do one thing today, click on the CAB link. See - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you/ There are lots of other resources too and thanks to the Musicians Union for sharing them. Here are a selection of my favourites Music Minds Matter is a free 24/7 helpine run by Help Musicians UK for everyone in the music industry. Call them on 0808 802 8008 or visit their website. https://www.musicmindsmatter.org.uk/
Music Support also runs a helpline for anyone in the music industry struggling with ill mental health and/or addiction. It operates 9:00 am - 9:00 pm on weekdays, and 10:00 am - 8:00 pm on weekends. Call them on 0800 030 6789 or find out more on their website https://www.musicsupport.org/
The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) connects performing artists and musicians with free specialist health support. You can get in touch by phone, email or at one of their regular clinics in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff, Liverpool & Belfast. Check out their website for details. http://www.bapam.org.uk/contact.html
You can also contact Mind for urgent help and support. Plus advice on how to support others. Visit their website. https://www.mind.org.uk/ Thanks for speaking to us. Keep safe And keep looking after each other Syd.31..
Elektro Vox: For help with debt please contact.. www.stepchange.org
For information and advice regarding Covid-19 please go to..
Kara of Syd.31 has new music out with her band Kara and the Wolves.
Thank you for reading, I leave you with a touching piece of art.. Be safe <3