In the spirit of collaboration and best practice sharing, I thought it would be interesting to share perspectives from our fellow creatives to see how folks are getting along as we all craft new ways to practice our craft. For more on my LIVING ONLINE series, click here.
First, an intro to SIRSY:
Tell us a little about yourselves. How long have you been doing music together? I think the first time I saw you was at Revolution Hall in Troy NY several years ago…or was that Red Square in Albany? My memory is going!
Sirsy is an indie pop rock duo that’s chock full of soul and sass. I am the lead singer and drummer and I play bass on a sampler keyboard that I play with my drumstick. My other half is my husband Rich who plays guitar and then bass on a keyboard he plays with his feet. We both play piano and we thought about the bass in that way. So, there are not loops that we play along to, it’s all live. And that’s how we’re able to sound like a full band with just the two of us.
Pre-COVID, what would a normal schedule be like for you?
Pre-covid we played 250 (or more) shows per year all over the US and in Canada. (We still need Alaska, but otherwise we’ve played all over the US!) Rich has done the math, and we were averaging about 60,000 miles per year in our little white van “Axl Roads”.
What would you say your proudest moment has been as a band?
We end every live stream with this statement: “Take care of each other”. It’s something our fans have taught us to do in our lives and in our music. I was diagnosed with my second cancer while we were on tour in Tulsa, OK a few years ago. (My doctor called with biopsy results.) I think for me, I am most proud of the way we were able to open ourselves up to our fans and let them know what was happening. We’d always been a bit more guarded before that. (After my first cancer, I didn’t tell the fans until I was ok). Our fans helped us through that dark time and it brought us all closer. For us, making music has always been about human connection through music. Since then, we’ve been honored by hearing our fans’ stories. They’ve told us how the songs we wrote about our experience helped them through tough times of their own. During the pandemic we all took care of each other again…. It’s really been a great life lesson to learn and a great lesson to learn as artists. And we’re very proud and honored to learn that our music and our band can make such a positive impact on others.
How did COVID affect the way you pursue your craft?
We had to pivot to 100% online shows. We started doing shows every Saturday night and called them Sirsy Saturday Night Live Streams. At first it was just us picking a set list and playing live in our basement studio with one camera. By the end of the series, we had 6 cameras (that Rich controlled with another pedal board at his feet), different themes every week, and even comedy sketches and characters we’d created. We’ve amassed quite the collection of wigs! Our fans skyped in with requests. We had shows about fans who had sirsy tattoos. These live streams became a ‘thing’. The coolest gift to come out of it was that we had this community of fans that gathered with us each week and supported not only the band but one another. It was truly a lifeline for all of us. And for those moments, it lessened the weight of the world for all of us.
How did COVID affect your income?
Like everyone else, we are making a lot less money. The good thing is that our fans are incredibly generous and have supported us though this time. Also, our expenses were down quite a bit. I think last April we spent $0 on gas! That was a first. We try not to complain and consider ourselves very lucky to be safe and healthy and to have had a vehicle to make art and connect with our fans.
Whats should we be looking for next from SIRSY?
We have been writing new music like maniacs during the pandemic. So, we hope to release a new record soon. We did release a few new tracks (Astronauts and Hey Disaster). We’ve also been booking shows like crazy. So, we hope to connect with everyone in the flesh very soon!
A longtime ACE Contributor, Corey works out of Troy, New York. He runs a freelance consultancy for all aspects of brand development and business process management / development. Current projects include cash flow analysis, strategic market planning, 3rd party project oversight, public relations, event planning and front end visual brand design / design-build projects. He has a focus in not-for-profit arts and mission oriented organizations. In his free time he works on honing his craft as a photographer and guitarist. (firstname.lastname@example.org)