By Alice Butterlin

Most of the world has been in lockdown for over a month now due to the COVID-19 crisis. A moment frozen in time, when people are faced with solitude, grief or anxiety and see their daily lives shift for the better or the worse. In this time of extreme uncertainty, we can also take the time to reflect, create and enjoy the passing of these strange elastic days. We thought it would be interesting to ask musicians around the globe how their creative process has changed during the quarantine and if it has been an inspiring or rather daunting experience… with a quick snapshot of themselves in lockdown. Meet Amy Love and Georgia South from London-based band Nova Twins who you may remember from our issue 83. Having developed a form of punk 2.0, their music is ferocious, electric, blending elements of rap and grime with heavy metal riffs. A powerful duo who had just started touring when the news of global quarantine broke. Find out how they are keeping themselves healthy and occupied these days.

How has your daily life changed since lockdown began?

Amy – We had just released our debut album and started the first leg of our tour. After seven days the world was going into lockdown and we had to turn the van back, as the country we were touring in (France) was closing down. A week later after we’d returned home, the UK also went into isolation. Our whole year of touring and work just stopped in a blink of an eye. It was such a hard adjustment for us, going from a super busy schedule living out of suitcase to staying inside and never going out. We had to work through our feelings of disappointment, as it felt like so much work had gone into building towards 2020 and then all that activity went down the pan. We have now adjusted and been able to look at a silver lining, as it’s really refreshing to stop and reflect on the simpler things in life. You gain a new perspective. We have learnt to work with each other in different ways, whilst getting to know / interact with our audience in a new manner.

Georgia – Yeah, like Amy said it was a big adjustment going from being on tour to being told we can’t go anywhere at all… We were anxious about the future, frustrated and disappointed about cancellation after cancellation, hating not being able to plan ahead but now we’ve settled into the reality of it all. We are just buckling down, writing new tunes, taking care of ourselves and staying inside! It’s actually been nice being able to stay in one place and chill out for a bit as usually it feels like we’re on the move 24/7!

Have you had to rethink the way you create?

Amy – Yes, we send each other the song ideas we’ve made via Logic back and forth. We edit ourselves in pictures together, haha, and use Zoom and House Party a lot! We are usually together 24/7 in everything we do, so it took us a while to find our swing but I think we are starting to get the hang of it now!

Georgia – We usually write together in one room but now we get excitement from surprising each other with song ideas, building on tracks we’ve sent back and forth! Very thankful for apps like House Party, FaceTime and Zoom, as it definitely takes the edge off isolation. You can see each other and still connect with the people we work with (kind of) face to face!

Did you realize anything in particular during this time?

Georgia – It felt like a unifying time in a strange way, as obviously it’s the most isolated we’ve ever been. It’s been comforting speaking to other musicians, who have either really massive or small fanbases, hearing that they share the same concerns and worries as us, too. We’re all missing out on festivals and live income in similar ways. We don’t feel like we’re being left behind or missing out on some excitement, as nothing is happening and it is completely out of our control! It’s best just to relax and not panic as we’re all in it together. It’s also nice clapping and banging pots for the NHS every week. You end up shouting over the fence to neighbors that you might not usually chat to that often. We’re also now FaceTiming our friends more instead of just a text! In a really backwards way, we’re all probably getting more social, as we really appreciate the interactions we have with people, when we do talk to them and less likely to take them for granted.

Amy – When you are an artist it becomes your life. Well… I can’t speak for everyone but that was the case for us. You give it everything you’ve got and it means the world to you because it is you. Your time and energy goes into making sure you can keep up with it all, meaning you get very little time to yourself. Quite often you forget about your own wellbeing, neglecting personal needs and thinking about other pleasures, like visiting friends and family, taking time to understand personal growth by making sure you are happy with the direction you are going in. This time will force us all to face ourselves. Hopefully, you like what you find and if you don’t, you have time to work on it.

Do you feel more inspired or paralyzed by the lockdown?

Amy – I felt numb at the beginning and didn’t want to do anything. I felt bad about it at the time but actually doing nothing for a few weeks was good for me. I feel motivated now and I’m enjoying writing with Georgia again but also, I’m thinking ahead. Even though it’s all uncertain, I feel ready to take it on.

Georgia – Yeah, the first few weeks I didn’t do much at all but it was nice not feeling guilty for delving into Netflix or only getting out of bed to pee… We definitely needed time to recharge and it was nice not having any pressure from each other to race ahead. We started writing again when we wanted to write. Unsurprisingly that was at the same time (we are twins after all, haha) and we have had many motivational chats about our dreams and plans for the future.

Have you started or returned to any activities that you do not normally have time to do?

Georgia – I started jogging, which I never do! I used to be so active and love sports so I’ve been channelling that and trying to get fit again! I’ve started playing Tekken 7 on Xbox and I’m destroying everyone at home on it. Also cooking more and trying to get rid of my spots, so I can have the glowy skin I dream of!

Amy – Like everyone I’m cooking so much, learning new recipes and baking a lot of banana bread. I’m also playing a lot of guitar, which is helpful, as I kind of learnt whilst starting the band with G. Now I have time to jam and create rubbish that is not for anyone but me. So basically, not doing that many things out the box, ha!

What do you think you’ll take away from this shutdown?

Amy –  I will let you know once it is all over!

Georgia – Hopefully a good fitness and skincare routine lol.

Are you worried?

Amy – Yes, I think we all are, as we don’t know what the industry is going to look like after. I fear many businesses won’t be able to get back up and running because of this situation. I’m not sure what it will look like for bands and live venues in particular. We just have to learn how to adapt fast and make sure we all support each other, in this time of need.

Georgia – The most worrying thing is there not being a clear end to it. There is no way to plan anything, or think we only have this much longer to hold out for. It’s devastating for all the self-employed people and businesses who will suffer the most. I feel quite numb at the moment whilst also eerily optimistic but deep down I know things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. My optimism comes from assuming that if bands can’t tour for an X amount of years, then the industry and artists will adapt and evolve and we will unify in a way that we’ve never seen.

How do you see life after this crisis?

Georgia – I think people will continue to hold a lot of meetings at home, instead of going into offices all the time, as they will want to travel less. I hope this happens, as I’d hate to see the environment suffer even worse with everyone going back to normal… A lot of people have lost their jobs, it would be nice to see new jobs open to help with taking care of the environment, instead of ones that kill it. Hopefully everyone will be a lot kinder to each other and appreciate the time they spend with others. I’d like to think people will meet up and not want be on their phones, as they will be so enriched by each other’s company instead.

Amy – I dread to think but I’m hoping that at the very least it will bring people closer together, as we felt a divide after Brexit and Boris getting in. There was a lot of tension and right-wing opinions seemed to be getting louder. This has forced the nation to look and work on the current situation together. I hope this makes a lot of people realize that when it comes down to it, we are all the same. Race, religion, gender doesn’t come in to it.

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