Documenting the Affects of Covid-19 in Music Production

Our music coordinator, Anna Haaraoja, set up interviews with people in the music industry. The purpose of the interviews was to have a discussion about how Covid-19 has impacted people in music production. The interviews were conducted during the early stages of self isolation in Finland, towards the end of March.

Anna asked these three questions to everyone:

How has Covid-19 affected 1) the way you work, 2) your well-being, and 3) your faith in the future?

Anna’s first interviews were on the 25th of March with Maria Badji and Juha Seppänen, both who study Music Production at the Mediapolis campus.

Maria explains that she hasn’t got any symptoms, corona-free in her own words. Staying inside all the time has made her wonder what effects it might have on herself. 

Maria sighs while explaining how her projects have been affected, “I was supposed to play abroad in Rotterdam. Now it’s canceled because of the Coronavirus and we [Maria and Salla Flinkman] had to cancel our project too.” Maria’s other project of releasing an album is faring better, as she is changing it but not canceling it. “I kind of adapted to this situation” she says.

Working on her music has kept her going and she has set goals to release an album. “Last week I thought I couldn’t do it, but now after re-planning it, I’m able to continue my work.”

Maria says that she’s not making any solid plans for the near future because of the uncertainty that all of us must bear. “I rather live one day at a time because plans can change so fast in these circumstances.”

As Anna explains, Juha Seppänen was well-prepared and fired away with his answers.

“Life boils down to their most basic things and now that I don’t have to go out, it’s super important to be a self-governing human.”

Juha says that for him it’s important to make yourself busy and not feel the boredom and the effects of social isolation. “It has been hard, at least, for me. Technology has helped me get in touch with my friends.”

Self isolation doesn’t mean distancing yourself from others, reach out to a friend and talk about anything and everything.

Anna asks what he’s been working on now and he tells Anna that he’s working on a synthwave/folk project called Junna. He says that the duo would have its depute gig in the summer, but there’s a chance it being also canceled due to the Corona situation. There’s an EP coming out, which luckily isn’t affected.

Anna inquires if the situation has had an impact on his well-being and he answers, “It has affected my well-being a lot actually, social isolation is really not my cup of tea.”

Juha explains that he tends to think about the positive aspects of things, and he hopes that the world would take a closer look at its fundamentals that it’s built on for the past decades. “Maybe we need to think about globalization in a different light in the future.”

The next day, 26th of March, Anna sits down with Matleena Junttanen. Matleena studies Music Theatre at the Tampere Music Academy campus.

“First thing in [my] mind is concern and uncertainty. It feels, like, as if people didn’t take this situation as seriously as they should.” She says seeing people posting on social media of them being together somewhere despite the warnings, makes her uneasy. She says she’s worried about the possibility of someone close to her getting sick.

When asked if she had any projects she has postponed due to the situation, she gives a laugh, “I was supposed to graduate this spring and do my final B-recital. I, also, am not able to continue working on my thesis because it would have included traveling to Helsinki.” 

Matleena explains that this situation has had its effects on her personal well-being. Being an out-going person that she is, she tells that she misses her friends. “Also working independently at home has been a challenge because I work so much better for example in a café,” she says. “[The] home environment has too many stimuli.”

Matleena tells me that she doesn’t see Coronavirus affecting her future work or working methods too much. Surely, it’ll postpone things and make things slower, but it will be over at some point. 

Anna conducts two more interviews the 27th with Music Pedagogue student Julia Hansson and Music Production student Vincent Masse.

“This has affected my work quite a lot. I have had face-to-face lessons with my accordion students until now. Pointing out what the student should improve in a face-to-face lesson is very easy. Now that I’m having online lectures, it has become very difficult especially for my younger students” she explains.

“I don’t teach all my students now because of the social distancing and that has caused my amount of work to decline. I would also say that I’ve missed a few job opportunities because of this situation,” she says.

Just staying home has been a big deal to Julia who says she’s very used to running around in many places, doing multiple things, simultaneously. It has had some effect on her well-being now that she suddenly must stay in one corner of the couch.

When asked about her faith in the future and she answers that “personally, I’m not worried about job opportunities, but I’m worried about work-related matters. For example, is this going to affect people working in the event and music industry and have an effect on my work too?”

Julia expresses her worry about “how Finland’s budget will take this blow and what effects it’ll have to grants.”

Anna asks if the situation has had any changes in Vincent’s working methods and he answers: “It didn’t affect too much my work because I’ve got the gear at home. Of course, not having the studios available has made some things tricky, but I’ll manage. We did vocals in the closet, so if one’s working with lo-fi stuff, it works fine really!”

Vincent explains that because he’s in the at-risk group he stays home and only goes out for necessary grocery shopping. In normal circumstances, he would usually go to Helsinki to see his girlfriend, but that is not possible as the borders of Uusimaa are closed. “That sucks, but luckily we’ve got the technology to keep in touch.”

Vincent explains that he “rather not think about the future too much. I think this is at least a good chance to work with what you have at hand.”

Anna’s next interview takes place partially outside with Antti-Jussi Taskinen, a Music Pedagogue student at the Tampere Music Academy campus

Antti-Jussi answers the Hangouts call from the sunny balcony. We get right into it.

“All our classes are either postponed or moved to remote lessons. This forces schools to think of different methods of how to teach us, students. I’ve got all gear to teach my students via the internet and it’s working well, at least [for] now,” he says.

Antti-Jussi tells that his spring was quite hectic before the lock-down. After everything was swept from his calendar, he tells that now he finally has time to rest and that fact has brought him peace. Now he says he has time to be with himself and his family.

“The most significant effect that COVID-19 has had in my future is that all my gigs from spring are canceled. Now it seems that it eats the gigs from summer too and that would have an impact on my future. It’s quite a grim-looking future right now.”


Interviews and write up by Anna Haaraoja, edited by Isabella Presnal.

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