This week, 9Bach would have brought their beautiful blend of folk and electronic music to WMC. We sat down with guitarrist Martin to catch up with what they're up to right now...
How have you continued to make music during lockdown?
We’re very lucky as Lisa (Lead Singer) and I (Guitarist) are married, so we’ve been able to get on with a few things in lockdown.
We’ve been doing weekly informal live streams, just three songs, on our Facebook page, for our fans, #GigsBach9Bach. We wanted to do it to a high standard, so we spent around six weeks researching the right equipment to ensure that the audio quality was as good as it could be. Then thought about the visual, as one camera angle is not that exciting for the viewer. Our two daughters aged 11 and 9, direct and operate the cameras, which they love doing. Their pocket money has gone up recently!
We’re not in favour of undervaluing music, but were conscious that lots of people had severe money worries, and at first we had concerns how/if the technology would work, so we did the streams for free, but asked people to donate to Refuge, the 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline.
It’s been great, and we’ve had a fantastic response, but it’s been very hard work, so we’re now doing the streams once a month, and are concentrating on writing new songs, which is also exciting...... watch this space!
What are the main challenges you’ve faced in being creative during this period?
It’s been a juggling act really, we’ve been trying to home school our daughters, we’ve done a bit of what the school have been asking, but tried out some more creative things, making nettle soup and crisps picked from the garden, making our own face cream, creative writing, painting, poetry, and their work on the live streams have been great learning!
Like many people we’ve also been trying to work out how to earn money, as all 9Bach’s gigs and festivals have been canceled, along with a lot of our other freelance work, Lisa’s also an actress, and I do community music work, so lots of pitching for projects. We’re also looking after Lisa’s parents who live five doors down from us, but musn’t leave their house, so logistically it’s a challenge! Also, to keep us all physically fit, we’ve been going on lot’s of long walks with our dogs (we’re very lucky as we live on the mountain). This also helps our metal health greatly, in these challenging times.
Which artists are you listening to at the moment?
Lot’s of Prince, he’s so upbeat, positive and fun! The Special first album still sounds incredible 41 years later, Harry Nilsson, PJ Harvey, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers (again upbeat, which the girls love, to keep everyone positive!) Boby Gentry, to name a few!
What makes Welsh folk music unique?
Wow, tough question! For those of us who sing in Cymraeg (Welsh) - the language. We also think that Welsh Folk music can be very inward looking, maybe down to the internal struggle that goes on with the language (that’s another story).
We feel that Welsh Folk is still to find it’s true strong voice, there doesn’t seem to be as big a pool of artists in Welsh Folk as there is in Scottish, Irish, and English Folk music, but we’re hoping that will change soon!
When you are able to start touring again, where are you most excited to play? (Aside from WMC, of course…)
WMC was the standout venue on our now canceled May/June tour (honestly!), and we were also excited to go to Denmark to play Tønder Festival. Hopefully everything can be rescheduled again soon - it’s really hard not being able to play to audiences.
WMC provides a number of opportunities for new folk musicians, young and old, to learn and develop their skills. What was the biggest lesson you learnt about performing folk when you started out?
As a musician of all styles the best thing I have learnt over the years talking with audiences, and collaborating with many musicians from all over the world, is that I don’t really see colour, race, boundaries, restrictions, I just see fellow human beings who love music, and want the world to be a better place.
There have been some terrible things going on lately, highlighting what has been going all the time. There seems to be a real worldwide movement for change, being driven by young people. I hope change does come, it’s long overdue!