Nashville Musician, Aaron Linkous, Confronts Uncertain Times Amid Coronavirus Crisis
By Frank Iacono
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, countless musicians across the country including Aaron Linkous, the founder and lead singer of the hard rock alternative band Everything Falls, are all facing a daunting often seemingly impossible task. Comply with the CDC-mandated stay-at-home COVID-19 guidelines and cancel previously scheduled gigs, concerts and festival appearances, meanwhile ensure they are able to pay the bills, stay on track with planned album releases and continue to play and entertain their fanbase.
As a result of this pandemic, artists like Everything Falls as well as the independent venues that house their shows, are working diligently and tirelessly to think of innovative ways to keep the lights on and the music playing — without the need for leaving the house.
In this edition of Music Player Magazine, we caught up with Aaron Linkous from Everything Falls and we discussed how COVID-19 and “stay-at-home” orders have affected him and his band.
MPM: How has this pandemic affected Everything Falls and how are you dealing with the ramifications as a band?
Aaron Linkous: Everything Falls was right in the middle of a band rebuild when this pandemic hit. We were truly hoping to be out playing shows by summer 2020, but now that timeline has been drastically pushed back. Instead, we have doubled down on our social media marketing efforts, and we’re working on some awesome content that we will showcase in the very near future.
MPM: Is there something you’ve been putting off for a long time, but are now doing with this extra time at home?
AL: Yes, with this added time at home, I’ve been working on my mixing and mastering skills. As a result, and I’m currently planning on releasing an acoustic album. The more we, as independent artists, can learn to do for ourselves, the lower our overhead is.
MPM: In a city like Nashville, that has a really big music scene and central business, what specific fallouts are you expecting due to the pandemic?
AL: Honestly, I think booking shows in the future is going to be tight. With all of the rescheduling for cancelled shows, we’re expecting that a lot of Nashville venues will be jam-packed for some time. We’ll definitely try to sneak in there and land as many gigs as we can, but we’re not really sure what to expect. We truly have to be prepared for anything. Additionally, we also have to be ready to move at a moment’s notice if, and when, an opportunity presents itself.
MPM: What financial impact has COVID-19 had on you and your band? Have you had to cancel or postpone any tours or festival appearances or postpone an album release because of COVID-19 and how will that affect you in the long term?
AL: As a band, Everything Falls has been pretty fortunate. COVID-19 hasn’t really hit us too hard from a monetary perspective. However, it definitely has slowed us down from a performance standpoint. Like so many other bands, we’ve totally altered our gig, touring and festival game plan. We were only one member away from completing the revamped band lineup, and we truly expected to be out playing live shows by now. Unfortunately, all of that got placed on hold and currently remains uncertain.
MPM: Have you been doing any live-streamed concerts during COVID-19 or do you plan to? A lot of artists have been doing them, do you think it’s a challenge to make them original and interesting?
AL: Yes, during COVID-19 I’ve conducted a few live-streamed sessions on Facebook Live and intend to do more in the very near future. Prior to going live, I developed a game plan and put a system in place to ensure optimal exposure and success. Getting that plan together included learning all about simulcasting and other skills that I felt would help make our live performances much more creative, engaging and appealing.
MPM: As a musician, have you found this quarantine to be a highly creative time period for writing and recording new music or has it been difficult to focus on creative endeavors?
AL: As a musician, I think this quarantine has definitely pushed me to learn a lot of skills that I previously never thought I needed to learn such as simulcasting, videography, mixing, mastering and etc. Consequently, this has made me a much stronger artist. Additionally, it’s also allowed me a lot of time to write and create new music. Most importantly, though, I feel I am more efficient at preparing new music and finding new creative ways to get it to market.
MPM: In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a newly formed Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) penned an open letter asking the US Congress to increase relief measures for artists. Were you among the over 700 musicians who signed it?
AL: No, I was not. In fact, this is actually the first that I’m hearing about it. I think it’s a pretty cool idea. I’m always open to new initiatives that involve musicians fighting for and expanding our rights.
MPM: What advice would you give to other musicians who are trying new creative ways to supplement their income?
AL: DIY, DIY, DIY!!! As mentioned, musicians have to find new ways to keep their overhead low, and the only way to consistently do that is to invest in yourself and learn the necessary skills. If there’s something holding you back, perhaps simulcasting, videography, recording, mixing, mastering or whatever, then stop paying someone else and learn to do it yourself. Not only will you feel more in control of your product, but you will become unstoppable. Equally, one of those newfound skills could lead to a full-time gig and provide you with supplemental money that you can simply reinvest back into your band.