Q&A: Rock Band ‘High Street’ On Keeping Music ‘Healthy’ During COVID-19

With COVID-19 still at large, how are different music genres changing their tune? We spoke with rock band, High Street, to get a better idea.

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Deck, Phoebe, Erik - High Street

Now more than ever, music and entertainment are helping to spark positivity across the world during an uncertain time.

Just yesterday, Apple Music launched a $50 million advance fund for independent labels hit by COVID-19 impact. But why are the industry’s leaders finally coming together?

Record labels the world over are facing a triple danger from the fallout from the deadly coronavirus:

  1. Physical sales have been slashed to the nub by the closure of stores during quarantine;
  2. Licensing income from public performance plays and sync use has dried up due to a lack of in-person events plus a sudden stop in movie/TV production; and
  3. Labels which participate in their artists’ live income are obviously seeing that revenue reduced to zero due to unanimous cancellations of shows.

Consequently, artists, independent and signed have been forced to go digital, taking to streaming platforms like Zoom, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live and IGTV.

What struck me was how a rock band like High Street, who recently shared some previously-unreleased tracks with the world, are spending this stay-at-home time working on new music, and staying in touch with fans through social media.

Founder and lead guitarist, Erik Findling, and lead singer, Phoebe Collins, spoke with True Hollywood Talk about what’s to come for the band and how they’re remaining safe and healthy during these trying times.

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Phoebe and Erik of High Street

True Hollywood Talk: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Erik, tell us about the resurgence of High Street in Los Angeles? 

Erik Findling: It’s been a fantastic experience so far. I had gotten the inspiration to revive this band (that originated in Chicago) after taking a long break from performing as a Rock ‘n Roll artist for several years. I booked a show at the legendary Whisky a Go-Go at the end of last year, playing under the name High Street and including a lot of our previous music that I wrote for the band. It wasn’t until after the show and seeing the potential that this band had when I realized I needed to find a dedicated group of musicians like myself who weren’t guns for hire, but were willing to commit and be a part of this journey long-term. After holding auditions for several months, I was lucky to come across the rest of the band members who had the same mindset and strive for success that I had in order to take this project to the next level.

THT: Phoebe, what has it been like to be part of High Street so far?

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Phoebe Collins, High Street

Phoebe Collins: Erik was one of the first people I met when I moved to Los Angeles. So, to be chosen as High Street’s lead singer after auditioning with them was very reassuring. I moved here in January to pursue a career in entertainment, so to be a part of High Street is something I’m very excited about. I love making music and I am lucky to now have people to share that experience with.

THT: How are you handling the current COVID-19 situation and what are you doing to stay safe and remain healthy?

EF: I am staying inside, avoiding large crowds, washing hands, and encouraging other Gen Z-ers to do the same. I’m taking this time to work hard on my online college classes and do my online Zoom classes with teachers, while adjusting to this new way of learning. I am eating healthy, getting sleep and exercise to maintain good immune health. I am taking advantage of this time to practice guitar, communicate with my band members on our new material, work on creating and building more content for our social media in order to stay in touch with fans and keep them up to speed on what’s happening behind-the-scenes.

PC: I’ve only been going out when I absolutely have to. The government is telling us what precautions to take, and I’m trying my best to abide by those guidelines. Many are upset about having to stay home, but I am just making the best of it. Whether it’s practicing makeup, redecorating my room or taking the time to focus on making new music; I encourage people to put this free time to good use.  

THT: What are you working on with High Street during this time?

EF: High Street continues to be active behind-the-scenes in developing new material and virtually prepping for future performances, we urge people to stay inside in order to keep themselves and others healthy. Once everything is back to normal, we will be announcing shows. Look out for others – just because you may not be at risk doesn’t mean someone else isn’t, but right now everyone is at risk and we need to take this seriously. I avoid group meetings or places with a high population of people. I am doing this by communicating with teachers, family and friends over the phone instead of meeting up in person. I am being extra careful when I do need to go out by keeping a safe distance of about 6 feet or so in order to maintain a healthy distance.

PC: We’ve been working on a lot of social media presence, and putting out new videos of us playing. Since we can’t get together and practice, we have all been working on our own craft. This is a good opportunity for us to plan out the next few months, and we have a lot we are working on. We’re also starting to work on new music and content. Although we have been a bit pushed back by all of this, we are so excited for the future.

THT: How important is music/entertainment during a time like this?

EF: Music and entertainment are the center focus of what people are doing during this quarantining/social-distancing period. It is important to keep our fans as engaged as possible to give them updates and material they can view to stay up-to-date on the band.

Music and entertainment are being streamed more frequently now that people are held up in their homes. It is extremely important to work on making music more available to people so that they can find some joy in the midst of a tough situation.

PC: This time is such a great opportunity for bands and artists to write new music, and for the audiences to explore new music. We are hoping that this will give our audience more time to listen to our music and watch our new videos. I think this industry is more important now than ever to keep people happy while social distancing is being encouraged.

THT: What is High Street most looking forward to once social distancing has ended?

EF: We are all looking forward to getting back on stage and performing as a band together. Our group has so much in store for everyone, we can’t wait to share it. Personally speaking, I’ve practically grown up on stage my whole life and it has always sort of been my natural habitat. The feeling that I get when I have the opportunity to share my creativity with other people is the best feeling in the world to me, so I am very much excited to get back to performing live.

PC: Personally, I’m excited to perform live with the band. I absolutely love being on stage, and I haven’t been able to do that since everything closed down. Singing for other people is just something I’ve always loved, I guess that’s what makes me an entertainer. We are going to be very prepared since we’re using this time to work on new material for the band. I’m looking forward to people hearing our new sound.

While working on their new music, High Street is staying in touch with their fans via social media. Both Erik and Phoebe have shared videos of encouragement to help fans stay positive and safe while staying at home.

If you’re looking for an awesome new band to check out while stuck at home, check out Erik and Phoebe’s latest videos here:

Erik https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1028066327577554
Phoebe https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=211555383588602

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