Like many artists, Saskatoon band in ‘holding pattern’ due to COVID-19 health orders
SASKATOON -- In a world of self-isolation and public health restrictions, a local band is taking advantage of the situation by laying down new tracks for an upcoming record.
"My brother and I haven't been able to get together and jam so we've gone straight to using the internet like everyone else," said Murray Cuthbertson, bassist for local thrash band Untimely Demise.
"He's sending me my homework assignments and I'm diligently working away on the bass trying to get everything up to speed."
In response to the shows cancelled and the income lost over the presence of COVID-19, SaskMusic set up a COVID-19 emergency financial relief fund for local artists and venues.
On its website the provincial organization said it stands behind in artists and venues and understands the difficult decision to postpone or cancel concerts to slow down the risk of infection of COVID-19.
The relief fund is targeted to assist artists who lost income between March 12 to April 30. Up to 50 per cent of an artist’s loss can be applied for, to a total of $1,000 per application.
Cutherbertson said he’s filed applications for himself and his brother Matthew. Matthew is a guitar instructor not working at the moment in light of physical distancing requirements by the provincial and federal governments.
Untimely Demise, like many other local acts, was scheduled to play a show during JUNOfest.
But all those shows and bookings came crashing down the morning before the opening concerts, leaving people like Cuthbertson with a pile of merchandise and transportation costs for bringing band members in from Alberta.
"Many of us were surprised, we had half our band in from Alberta and they came in a few days early and we did all our rehearsals, pumped up for the show and the morning before the show we got word the Junos were cancelled and that was devastating," Cuthbertson said, adding the band did have a contract with Junos organizers to have some expenses covered, but that fell through amid COVID-19.
"Right now it's chaos with JUNOFest, they didn't expect this so we're not counting on getting money from them."
Untimely Demise was also getting things ready for a few shows in Alberta where they were set to support Flotsam & Jetsam, but those are cancelled as well.
"We have a plan and we're just basically in a holding pattern, working on the things that we can and just hoping everyone gets better," Cuthbertson said.
"Once things cool down we're going to get back out to Alberta and work with (our drummer) Brian and then most of the stuff we've been doing from home already."
The band is releasing videos of some of their new material on their Facebook page.