‘It’s definitely highlighted how important bands, labels and independent music venues are to people’ – Don’t Worry step into the spotlight to discuss how these times are affecting the music industry.

Indie-rock up-and-comers Don’t Worry have outlined their blueprint for success by releasing a plethora of infectious tunes and carving their names into the road with their relentless touring of the UK and Europe. As they continue to step further into the spotlight, the band have continued to grow their diverse and loyal fan-base. Now, as we find ourselves in truly unprecedented times, we asked the band’s singers/guitarists – Ronan Kehoe and Samuel Watson – a few questions to discuss how these times are affecting musicians and find out a little more about how the landscape of the music industry will look moving forward. 

What have you been listening to recently to ease the boredom of being cooped up?

Sam – At the start of the lockdown I was listening to a lot of Neil Young, specifically the albums Tonight’s the Night and Zuma. I recently discovered John Prine, who sadly passed away from Covid-19 earlier this month. His first album is top to bottom gold, simple folk/country songs filled with wisdom, sweetness and humour. I’ve also been listening to the excellent new Thundercat album.

Ronan – I’ve been listening to more music than I was before now that I’ve had way more free time. The weather was really great for the first few weeks so I spent a lot of time in the garden listening to Supertramp, Frank Zappa, Sun Kil Moon, Kyuss, Modern Baseball, Roxy Music, and revisiting the 00s/10s indie boom. Oh, and K-Rose while playing GTA San Andreas! That Rod Stewart song Young Turks is solid gold too.

How have you found the extended period in isolation has impacted your creativity? Have you found it to be a blessing or a curse?

Sam – Even before all of this, motivation to create was pretty sporadic for me and I generally have to just take it as it comes. The pressure to “make the most” of this time has certainly exacerbated that. The past couple of weeks I’ve struggled to be creative in any meaningful way, but I can feel it coming back a bit now so hopefully, I can put that to good use. 

Ronan – I’m similar to Sam in that my creativity has always come in random bursts, usually when I’m trying to get to sleep. I don’t like the unnecessary pressure to be creative or to solve all your problems during the lockdown. But I have started to feel properly excited about new music again and I’ve written a few bits in the past couple of weeks. 

Have you taken to any social media platforms to deliver live performances during this time? If so, how did you find the reception?

Sam – We took part in one of Specialist Subject’s fantastic “Distant Together” Instagram shows at the end of March. It was strange but fun! I would definitely be open to doing more of that kind of thing. It’d be nice to watch so many artists I like to perform in that way. Like intimate and vulnerable in a different way. 

Ronan – I felt really good after that performance, it was totally new to me. I was surprised by how many people watched us. We’re actually doing the final “Distance Together” on the evening of May 19th, so tune in to @specialistsubject on Instagram! 

Do you think this time will see a rise in ‘DIY’ musicians stepping into the spotlight? Do you think this is a good thing for the industry?

Sam – I’m not really sure. It doesn’t look like this is going to be a great thing for the music industry as a whole. But I think it’s definitely highlighted how important bands, labels and independent music venues are to people. We have to use this to pull together and make sure these things that we love survive. 

Ronan – DIY musicians and labels have been working super hard during lockdown to find new creative ways to get their stuff out to people, but they always do that anyway. The big dogs will always get more spotlight, they cottoned onto the live stream gigs weeks after the DIY bands and only then was the press like “Oh wow look at this cool thing!”

How do you think this period will shape the music landscape for the years to come?

Sam – It’s going to be a while before live music is possible again and longer still I think before lots of people feel comfortable stepping into that environment again. With that being such a big part of what sustains the music industry, especially on the DIY/independent level, it’s definitely a scary prospect. A hope would be that what comes out of this is more support and protection for everyone involved in music at that level. But for now, everyone just needs to continue to remember how much the bands, labels and venues they love mean to them and support them in whatever way they can.

Ronan – Absolutely! If anyone lucky enough to still be getting paid can afford to buy music and merch from their favourite bands, now is a great time to do that. I guess it’ll be hard to book shows for a while because all the rescheduled and postponed dates will mean everything is clogged up? Hopefully, we don’t lose more venues due to financial troubles before then. In the long run, I don’t think it’ll change much about how the music industry works generally speaking. 

What is the first thing you are going to do when this is all over?

Sam – Go out for a slap-up meal followed by the pub.

Ronan – I really miss going out to eat good food too, so definitely that. Ramen first. Obviously, I wanna see my friends in person loads as soon as it’s safe to do that. Online video chats are great but it’s just not the same thing is it.  

Have you got a message for any of your fans that might be reading this? Any means by which they can support yourselves/the band at this time?

Sam – Any support at all is obviously appreciated. We have merch and music available in many forms and for pretty cheap at the moment. We haven’t been super busy of late but are aiming to make a second record as soon as possible. Any money will go directly into the pot to help make that happen!

Ronan – Yeah I think the creative ball has started to properly roll again now if we’re lucky we’ll record an album this year. I’m sure we’ll put some things together before that to fill the gap too. You can buy our debut album Who Cares Anyway? on vinyl, as well as t-shirts at dontworry.limitedrun.com – and if you use the code “STAYINDOORS” you can get 30% off your whole order right now! 

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