A few weeks into lockdown I had the pleasure of promoting Ella and Missing for a Friday evening live session that she organised called Isolation Station. There were fans missing going to live music gigs and artists missing performing them so to have a chance to watch a local talented band or musician play while sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine appealed to me!
The evening was a roaring success. With the likes of Fugitive Orchestra and Dutch Criminal Record playing from their living rooms as well as bands from Berlin, I had a lovely evening.
Catching up with Ella again (who helped to put together the Southsea Folk lockdown playlist), I felt it was a good time to ask her a few questions and so here they are!
Thanks to Ella for helping to put together a fabulous playlist that you can listen to now on Spotify! Why have I done this? Well, music has really got me through lockdown. Listening to old songs I love and also finding new bands and new songs. I thought about how music is a big part of our lives and it got me wondering about how other people have used music in their lockdown so I thought I would ask indies and creatives to share a song with me which could then be a positive thing for Southsea Folk readers, so here we are. Have a listen and see what you think?
Why did you want to set up a live evening with artists?
Missing’s main aim is to improve the local music scene and bring bands who might not have ordinarily had the opportunity to play in Portsmouth and to share their music with the local community, but most importantly to showcase some of the amazing local talent we’re lucky enough to have in Portsmouth.
Isolation Station (back a month or so ago now) came initially from the lack of shows that were happening and inspiration from other livestreams I’d watched. Lockdown doesn’t only affect me but has the biggest impact on the artists themselves who are missing out on playing and making an income, and also for people’s livelihoods and mental health.
I wanted to do something useful with my time, especially with having no actual shows to promote and give something that everyone could enjoy from their homes, that would also try to combat these issues. I think live music plays an important role in mental health, and not being able to go to shows and have that interaction is a real shame. Therefore, having a platform with the ability to livestream and connect artists with audiences, seemed like a great way to keep live music going, even just for one weekend.
It’s also great to see promoters and platforms continuing to give artists and fans the opportunity to still enjoy live music throughout lockdown (links at the bottom for upcoming livestreams). The magic of social media and livestreaming also meant that Portsmouth Psyched Fest could virtually go ahead and raise money to continue next year, which is a major part of the local scene and has really helped Portsmouth put its name on the map as a place artists want to come to and play.
Did you think it was well-received?
The main purpose of the livestream was to connect audiences with artists and provide a platform that artists could expose themselves, gain new fans and connect with other musicians. In this respect, I believe the livestream was received really well. Even if one person tuned in to one of the sets and enjoyed it, or they discovered a new band they liked, then I think it was a success. As well as this, it gave artists an opportunity to perform and do what they love to do, so I think they enjoyed being a part of it.
I believe lockdown has really brought together the local music scene and connected members of the community in ways that weren’t as visible before, which is great to see. I think livestreams and other things like Brutalist Records ‘Save Our Scene’ compilation have helped the scene to grow in a positive way whilst we’re unable to have physical shows, and I’m proud of how we’ve all pulled together.
I noticed you promoted a band Raw Kids from Germany so do you work with bands globally?
As I’ve only just started working on Missing this year, one of my aims was to bring bands to Portsmouth that myself, my friends and family like or would be well received in Portsmouth. This meant also bands from across the world. I’ve got friends who are musicians dotted around the globe, and I’d love to one day be able to be that connection that allows them to come and play in a town and a country they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to go to.
We have a great homegrown scene and lots of avid music fans in Portsmouth that are interested in seeing the scene expand and grow. It makes it feel all the more special when you get to see a band you love or discover a new band you grow to love in a place that is really special to you. Also, bringing bands from all across the world allows us to explore new genres, cultures, and work on diversity within the scene.
What things do you have coming up after lockdown?
Due to the uncertainty of when the live music scene will resurge and gigging will resume, to be honest, it’s been difficult to begin booking acts. We don’t know when venues will be reopening or when will travel restrictions will be lifted, so it’s been tricky to plan ahead. However, I have a few shows in the pipeline including a show with Glasgow’s Baby Strange in November (hopefully). Another local promoter Red Lantern Promotions and I had a show scheduled with Swim Deep which we were really looking forward to, so we’re looking to reschedule that bigger and better too! Also as I said, lockdown has connected the scene and community in a really positive way, so I’ve built new connections, so I am looking to collaborate and come up with new ways to improve our scene, diversify and bring issues, such as the underrepresentation of BIPOC artists, to light and come up with solutions to do better as a community.
I think the livestream festival also made me realise that Missing could be something more than just putting on shows, but a platform that I can amplify voices and collaborate with other promoters to be part of something bigger. For me personally, Missing has been a long time coming, and I am really excited to see how I can grow and create opportunities as time goes on which will happen when lockdown is lifted.
Any songs that have got you through lockdown?
My listening habits have gone wild during lockdown as I spend most of my days with music. It’s been a nice opportunity to discover new genres and artists, as well as rediscover some of my old favourites. I’ve recently really been enjoying a band called ‘Novel’, who I can listen to on repeat and never get bored. ‘Khruangbin’ have also kept me mellow and company on the sunnier days of lockdown. Two albums that have got me through lockdown too that I would highly recommend, are ‘925’ by ‘Sorry’ and ‘Every Bad’ by ‘Porridge Radio’. I saw Porridge Radio the week before lockdown at Pie & Vinyl and it sparked a crazy obsession with the album of theirs. Also, for me, it goes without saying Pulp too have helped me through lockdown 😊 so I think I’d say my lockdown anthem would probably be ‘Babies’.
Do you have a favourite genre? or wider taste in music?
Sounds a bit cliché, but not really. I listen to a wide range of genres and artists so hard to pinpoint. Currently, I love funk and soul and I love post-punk. It’s constantly changing. Hopefully that shows when I finally get back around to putting shows on after lockdown.
Who influenced you with music growing up?
My Mum and Step-Dad were definitely a big influence on my music taste growing up, especially when I was younger. I can remember spending a lot of days with my mum listening to all different records, with some stand outs being Macy Gray, The Human League, and The Beat. Lots of good memories. As I grew up my Dad and Step-Dad liked The Beatles and I had a soundtrack to my childhood, as well as Kings of Leon and The Jam. I think with their inspiration music became my passion and my interest continued to grow.
What would you say to a budding artist wanting to follow their musical dreams?
I would just say if you are a creative or an artist and you have a passion and that is what you want to do, then just do it and make a go out of it in any capacity that you can, because you don’t want to live a life wondering what could have been? It may seem scary at first, and I know for myself jumping into a scene that is already flourishing seemed daunting, but if you just do it then you will know and can decide if it is right for you. If any budding musicians would like to share their demos, songs or ideas, feel free to send over an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d love to listen and help where I can! If you believe in yourself, have the right intent and passion, it will show through.
Thanks to Southsea Folk for having me!
Ella Ash x
Find out more about Missing here
By Louise O’Brien
Here are a few links for you.