With tour canceled, LA punk band connects with fans virtually to survive

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Dylan Slocum and members of Spanish Love Songs. Credit: John Oakes.

Nightclubs are closed, music festivals cancelled, travel restricted. That all means tours for bands have come to a screeching halt. For smaller bands that were planning to open for big acts or go on their first major tour, they are losing a lot of their income. 

Dylan Slocum is the lead singer of Spanish Love Songs, an LA punk band. They just released an album called “Brave Faces Everyone,” and were planning on touring through the summer. But now that tour isn’t happening. 

Slocum says that touring is the main way musicians in 2020 make money. He adds, “Even beyond us, there’s our crew, there’s the venue staff, there’s agents, there’s managers, there’s all the way down to the bartenders and door people (security). So there’s a lot of people who are at work -- almost overnight.” 

He says musicians are trying to raise money, including using GoFundMe, and taking advances on tours that might be postponed so they can pay their crew. 

His band is trying to connect with fans by putting up extra content behind a paywall. He says many people are providing live-stream concerts, putting up demos/covers/one-on-one songwriting and recording lessons.

“It feels weird asking for money at a time like this. But four-fifths of us lost our jobs heading into this album cycle. And it’s not like we can just go get a bartending job at the moment. So it’s about getting creative and trying to use the skills that we do have, and try to survive that way. And try to pay that back, so the artists who usually work for us that we can’t hire to do t-shirts, well maybe we can throw them some money as well,” he says. “And try to keep everybody afloat. I think overall there’s been a lot of solidarity.” 

He’s been thinking about everyone else in other industries too, and he’s upset about what they have to deal with now.  

“I think mostly I’m angry more than anything. Just because a lot of really vulnerable people are going to be in trouble, and they didn’t need to be, which is frustrating,” he says. 

He continues, “The way that we’ve handled the response, or the way that we don’t have access to free testing or even any health care, and just the spread of misinformation -- it’s a terrifying time. And when you have this many vulnerable people who we’ve told it’s their fault they're vulnerable, and then they die from something like this, it’s an incredibly frustrating and scary thing to be thinking about.”

--Written by Amy Ta, produced by Rosalie Atkinson