During these unprecedented times, lockdown has meant that we are spending most of our time inside with only ourselves, or our very closest, for company. As it looks like the world won’t be returning to normality for the foreseeable future, we thought we would find out how our favourite bands are handling things, what they’re getting up to, and tips and advice they could share.
Kent progressive metal staples OHHMS are returning with their third record ‘Close’; an autobiographical approach that captures a purified sound of towering riffs and melancholic melody. We caught up with guitarist Marc to talk about his experiences during lockdown, before their new release hits our ears.
DP!: How are you managing lockdown?
Marc: Lockdown has been hard on pretty much everyone, all for different reasons. As I work in education, I’ve been working from home providing home learning for my class which has given me a purpose and somewhat of a routine. The days when I have what I call “lockdown doom” are usually weekend days where I’ve had no structure so I’m glad that I’ve been able to avoid this more often than not. My hobbies, which include Ohhms, are unfortunately social hobbies that require human contact which has caused them to all come unceremoniously grind to a halt. It’s tempting to lock yourself away and just loose yourself in TV, books and video games but I’ve found a simple walk the best cure for shaking off the lock down “doom”.
DP!: Are you on lockdown on your own, or are you with friends or family?
Marc: I am on lockdown with my partner Hannah. We’ve only been able to see family via apps like Zoom or at a distance. Seeing friends and family in real life is lovely but keeping a 2-metre distance is so strange.
DP!: How do you personally feel the government is handling it so far?
Marc: I hate to use their own term but this situation is unprecedented and there aren’t the rehearsed systems in place to instantly deal with this or even make informed decisions based on experience. I don’t feel I know enough to really make a confident claim that it’s been mishandled but I do think they were right to enforce lockdown. I feel that the change in slogan recently and the loosening of lockdown rules was a mistake. As someone who works in education, I feel that opening schools for the final term is ridiculous. I’ve seen what the new socially distanced classrooms are like at its soul destroying. Why put young people through that for the sake of a few weeks.
DP!: What have you been doing to keep yourself entertained?
Marc: As mentioned above, my usual entertainment is off the cards for the foreseeable. Entertainment wise during lockdown I’ve been getting stuck into some games on my PS4 that I’ve not had the time previously to commit to. The main one for me at the moment is ‘The Witcher 3’. I’m a bit late to the party but it’s so amazing that I thought to myself “why the fuck have I skipped on this before” as it slowly, but ever so pleasingly, engulfs my life.
DP!: Have you been using the time to write and/or record any new music?
Marc: We’ve all been contributing ideas into a ‘riff bank’ for when we return to rehearsals. The majority of our songs start life as a collection of riffs or a skeleton of a song that is fleshed out collaboratively in the rehearsal room. Being unable to work on the songs face to face the riff bank will hopefully give us lots of ideas to bounce around when we are finally allowed to be in the same room as each other .
DP!: Has the extra free time in lockdown (if any) allowed you to pursue other hobbies and interests? If so, what?
Marc: Unfortunately my hobbies are Ohhms and tabletop games. Both of which require face to face interaction. As mentioned, before I’ve been filling the escapism void by losing myself in RPG games on PS4. My favourites from lockdown have been ‘Lord of The Rings: Shadow of Mordor’, ‘Skyrim’ (for the umpteenth playthrough) and the incredible ‘Witcher 3’.
DP!: Have you been working in the meantime to help you through financially?
Marc: I’m very fortunate that my job as a class teacher has offered financial stability and has allowed me to carry on working from home albeit in a very distant home learning style. Many people I know who are self-employed or work in the entertainment/hospitality have had serious concerns about money and I count my blessings that I’m fortunate enough not to have to worry about money during lockdown.
DP!: Any tips or suggestions for others to keep themselves entertained?
Marc: It doesn’t work for everyone but I’ve kept myself busy with games, reading books, going for walks and writing music. I’ve always had to have something to fuel escapism. I’d find it really hard to cope if I wasn’t able to lose myself in something be that a book or a game!
DP!: Any advice for people who may be struggling mentally?
Marc: People deal with their mental health in so many different ways that’s there isn’t a hard and fast rule. But I think easy fixes are getting out from inside and getting fresh air, talking to someone over the phone or via video calls, listening to your favourite records or losing yourself in some escapism, like books or films. I WOULDN’T recommend anyone spends too long scrolling through social media, watching the news for more than is absolutely necessary and staying inside for more than 24 hours.
The band’s new album, ‘Close’, is out on June 26th via Holy Roar Records.