Concerts and shows have been canceled across the globe as music venues and bars closed because of COVID-19, leaving musicians searching for new ways to adapt.
Local musicians are now coping with their new situation. Some have been left to struggle for their next gig while others seek new positions to support themselves, doing everything from producing new music, working ordinary jobs and pushing their other talents to benefit them.
Postcards from the Moon set focus on future projects
Pop rock band Postcards from the Moon is taking the coronavirus as it comes. Some members are using the quarantine as an opportunity to better themselves and hone in on their craft.
The band originally began as vocalist Caleb Rangel’s solo artist venture, Cool Guy Project. The project slowly evolved into Postcards from the Moon with changes to lineup over the years. As of 2017, the quartet consist of vocalist Rangel, rhythm guitarist and violinist Rolando Valentin, lead guitarist Kyle Garcia and drummer Joseph Colõn.
Over the years, the band has performed with artists including Sleeping with Sirens, Waterparks, Falling in Reverse and Escape the Fate. In September 2019, they toured across the United States with Social Repose and Johnnie Guilbert.
This year, the band was focusing on creating new content and shooting music videos. Since the quarantine, plans for shooting future music videos have been halted.
The only show lined up for the band was headlining UTSA Underground, a music festival in the tunnels under the music building on campus, in May. Luckily, the festival is planning to move forward in an online format May 4 through May 8.
Garcia was solely a musician before the “Stay Home, Work Safe” orders.
“Everything was band and then I have a studio that I just opened so that was like my life,” Garcia said. “Quarantine hit and I’ve been stagnant. I was able to grab onto a couple construction jobs so I was able to keep somewhat busy and make a couple hundred bucks here and there but even that has slowed down.”
Garica, a self-proclaimed social butterfly, originally found himself struggling with the quarantine.
“The first couple weeks I was okay and I had my girlfriend but after that I was like the walls are closing in,” Garcia said. “It’s almost a flashback to being in high school where you can’t drive and you can’t see your friends. You can’t do anything. You’re literally just locked up in your room and you have your guitar. That’s the setting I’ve found myself in.”
While quarantine is keeping Garcia from working, he is using his free time as a chance to create as much as he can.
“I’ve mostly been in my room writing music,” Garcia said. “It’s one of the only things that makes me sane.”
His fellow bandmate, Valentin, a UTSA student and H-E-B stocker, is keeping busy with online classes and work. In his downtime, he is practicing his violin.
“I work on classical music, that’s how I was trained,” Valentin said. “I’ve been refining my skills. The quarantine has given me a lot of time to do that.”
Amid the chaos, Valentin says he seems to have found his footing.
The band is staying in touch through group chats. They have had a few zoom calls with fans as well.
Despite the pandemic, the band is remaining hopeful for the future.
“I know this is a really rough time but we’ll be able to get through this.” Valentin said.
Jaime Ramirez worried for jobs amid quarantine
For the last 20 years, local musician Jaime Ramirez has toured around the country, even performing at Madison Square Garden. After supporting himself for years through music, he has found himself struggling to find his next gig.
Ramirez has found himself concerned for the future post-quarantine. He currently works for a church as a piano accompanist and a part-time teacher at St. Mary’s Hall. During the summer, Ramirez works as a freelancer for local theaters and performs shows around San Antonio.
Since the “Stay Home, Work Safe” orders went into effect, all of his scheduled events have either been postponed or canceled.
“I just line up jobs months in advance and fill the calendar up so that I’m good,” Ramirez said. “I piece together things in a lot of different areas…Postponed might as well mean forever according to my bank account.”
Ramirez has worried postponed shows will not be happening at a later time this year.
“At this point, we all know it’s not going to happen,” Ramirez said. “Maybe some venues can spread people out but theater, I don’t know how that could fisably or exactly open this year because that’s hundreds of people sitting right next to each other.”
As of now, there are few freelance opportunities available for Ramirez. Normally, he tours during the summertime to support himself but shows across the United States have been canceled or postponed indefinitely because of COVID-19.
Ramirez plans on pushing his other talents and projects such as working to release a new album and teaching music online to keep himself afloat.
“I’m good through May but come June comes the fog where things slow down,” Ramirez said. “I’m just trying to save what I can now and strategize my online presence.”
He hopes he’s able to pick up studio work since he can produce and record from home.
Ramirez is concerned for other musicians and artists as they are all struggling during these tough times, he said.
Despite his doubts Ramirez is trying to be hopeful to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I’m normally pretty optimistic and I’m really just trying to hold on to that,” Ramirez said. “I believe humans are beautiful and creative and intelligent. Somehow, we always come up with something, we invent new ways. We’re very innovative and good ultimately, and with that we’ll rise to the top.”
Avnue seek to better themselves while at home
After years in other local bands, Avnue was working on building their name in the San Antonio music scene. However, the novel coronavirus has put a halt on their efforts.
The band consists of vocalist Zac Taylor, bassist Lauro Canales, guitarist Christian Garcia, lead guitarist Jacob Garcia and drummer Jessie Castillo.
“We were actually working on starting to play some shows and lining up some shows and it (the quarantine) definitely put a damper on all that,” Jacob Garcia said. “We can’t even technically practice together.”
Members of the band are taking advantage of the extra time on their hands by practicing their instruments and writing new material.
The pop-rock band is still staying in touch despite being away from each other through texting. They are able to record new music and ideas through programs such as GarageBand and send them to the rest of the band, said Garcia.
As for staying afloat financially, some members are fortunate to be working from home in banking positions while others are strictly musicians.
“I’m strictly a musician and photographer,” Castillo said. “I do my own detailing business so I do cars and all that. But other than that I didn’t really have a real job per se.”
The band is enjoying listening to other musicians to get them through the day including Paramore, Neck Deep, Movements and Knocked Loose. However, they are getting the itch to play together again.
They are concerned amid speculations of concerts not being able to return until 2021 but are remaining positive.
Members of the band are hopeful and ready to play shows as soon as they can. In the meantime, they are excited to work on new music and better themselves.
“We want to get all the ideas put together as soon as we can,” Canales said. “This quarantine definitely slowed us all down so much and I’m just trying to get back on my feet and put out the product that I’m looking to put out and jam out as hard as possible.”
The new writing may feature new emotions struck by the quarantine and being isolated. The band can possibly write about their new experiences and what they’re going through to make a connection with their audience, Garcia said.
“I think when it comes to writing aspects too I think what’s amazing is that why so many people enjoy music is because I believe it’s like a universal language,” Garcia said. “It strikes emotion in someone. Especially going through something like these challenging times where mental health is a huge thing.”
They have been working together to produce online content for their fanbase as they are limited in what they can do at the moment, Garcia said.
As music lovers, the band misses going to local shows and seeing other bands perform as well.
While the band is unable to play shows, they are working on new merchandise and are in the process of getting shirts printed to sell. Their music is available on online streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music.
“Being a local band, it takes some time for people to build that fanbase and to get people to even listen or look,” Garcia said. “It does suck but we’re trying to be as positive as we can be through it. And we’re just going to try to progress through it and push through it.”
Postcards from the Moon
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/underscored/1496438302