BRING OUT YOUR DEAD: MATT IH – ARGESK

How has lockdown been for you on a personal level? 

As a natural introvert, I’ve welcomed the break from the stress and bustle of normal day-to-day life. I miss my friends and family, and playing with the band, but at the start of this year I felt totally burnt out due to an overload of negativity in my personal and work life. Lockdown has given me the break I feel I desperately needed. I have been working from home over the past few months, but I feel that my work/life balance is much better than it was before and I’m getting much more time to do the things I enjoy. I’m also away from screaming kids on public transport, which is nice.

Have you been able to be creative? 

Yes, in fact, through collaboration with Dillon we now have the preliminary forms of five new songs for the next release. My writing has mainly been guitar-based (although I’ve jotted lyrics down here and there), so these songs will need to be practiced together with the full band to put flesh on the bones. While preserving the melodic core of ‘Realm’, these songs include a wider range of influences, channeling the rage and despair that the pandemic has engendered. I’d describe it as epic, fast, mournful, but ultimately triumphant. One thing I have struggled with is the inability to practice harsh vocals. Living in a flat, there’s essentially no way I can do it without disturbing the neighbours. This both robs me of the catharsis that screaming provides and means I’ll be out of practice once lockdown is over. I’m confident I’ll be able to get back to where I was, though.

What do you think the short-term and long-term impacts of the pandemic will be on your art? 

In the short term, being unable to gig and promote our album in a live setting has been frustrating. I feel that although we and Clobber have done a great job promoting it online, not being able to bring the music to a live audience is limiting. However, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of great shows waiting for us after lockdown – audiences are hungry to hear the material live and we’re primed and ready to bring it to them. I don’t think there will be a long-term impact on us as a band, if I’m honest. It’s slowed us down a bit in terms of working on new material, but we have plenty to get on with once we’re able to come together to practice.

Are you hopeful about the future generally? 

On a personal level, yes. The band is growing, I feel I’m improving as a musician and that the music Argesk is writing as a band is improving too. I’m also lucky to be living with my wonderful partner and my physical and mental health have both improved over the past few months due to the break from the bustle of normal day-to-day life. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep the progress I’ve made with exercising and be able to work from home at least some of the time in future. In terms of this country and the future of the planet in general, I’m not hopeful at all. I feel we’re in a political hellscape at the moment and I can’t help but think that the economic impact of the virus is going to make life very difficult for people in the coming months and years. The environment is monumentally fucked and I can’t see that improving any time soon, with the people currently in power. For now, we can only change what we can and exact what joy we can from our brief existence.

What can fans and/or promoters do to support you in the coming months and years?

The fans have been great during the pandemic, engaging with us online and being extremely supportive of the album. I’ve got in contact with some people virtually in the wake of the album’s release who I hope to meet when this is all over. Their support means a lot to us all and really encourages us when times are difficult.

Promoters – if you have any shows you would like us to play once lockdown is over, get in touch. We’re itching to play and it would be great to have something to look forward to!

BACK TO BRING OUT YOUR DEAD

NEXT INTERVIEW: NRE – AND NOW THE OWLS ARE SMILING

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