By Cameron Lee
Photo: Jeremy Smith (L) Leo Solis (R) by Blue Amber
March 28, 2020 (updated)
Those working in creative industries are suffering just like many others during the nationwide shelter-in-place orders. It seems like weeks ago– the thought of cancelled concerts and major events across the world would be inconceivable– but the reality has sadly sunk in. In addition to the multitude of musicians that are out of work, the hard-working men and women behind the scenes are suffering, too. The studios, venues, talent buyers, labels, and production workers that lay the foundation for many of our favorite acts are all out of work.
If there is one silver lining for musicians and creatives across the world, it’s that in these dire times, music and arts have proven to be a necessity. With millions of people across the globe practicing social distancing, content is being consumed at a vastly higher rate and many are discovering their new favorite local or national band.
While several notable musicians have gone to streaming platforms and social media to raise funds for various relief efforts and charities, some independent artists have come to the sobering realization that this could be the future, or at least part of the future for the industry. For Jeremy Smith, co-owner of Charlotte-based record label, Four Finger Records, his company took a slightly different path. “So me and Leo (Solis/co-owner of Four Finger Records) were brainstorming on what we could do to potentially help the people in our crew that were losing work, and a compilation just seemed like a fun experiment,” said Smith.
With an impressive roster of Charlotte-area artists including The Wilt, SOLIS, Fortune Teller, Vess, and Thousand Dollar Movie, many of the bands touched up old songs or created new ones in the midst of these uncertain times to create a full compilation music project. Leo Solis who, in addition to contributing to the project as one-half of indie synth-pop duo SOLIS, used his music production background to give the recordings a more polished sound despite some of the limitations for the “Quarantine Sessions.”
The five-song EP is an impressive mix of genres that fully showcase the superb Four Fingers Records roster. The EP starts off with tranquil rain on the hypnotizing song “Renzo” by indie psych-rock band Fortune Teller before transitioning to the more wistful and dreamy sounds of “R2PO,” by Leo and Kellie Solis (SOLIS). The album ends with The Wilt’s “Break Even,” a radiantly melancholy track about everyday struggles that we all experience trying to “break even.” It’s a gripping song that captures the uncertainty of today and is a somber reminder that people of all backgrounds are experiencing difficult times around the world.
Smith, who is also a hired touring bassist and member of The Raineers, hopes that musicians are staying active and creative during these times. “It seems like everyone is being pretty productive with their downtime and doing lots of writing and recording and practicing. So ideally we come out the other side better at our instruments and with some new tunes,” said Smith. While many of the songs written during this unprecedented moment might end up sounding sorrowful, we can all appreciate good music to lift and strengthen our spirits.
Listen to Quarantine Sessions Vol 2 : The Covers