As a business Imagesound is, unsurprisingly, passionate about music. Mindful of the current situation, colleague Zoe Fearn became concerned about the mental health of her musician friends and has created a platform on Instagram for those who work in the industry to share their stories, get motivation and also to give them a way to connect with new audiences. It’s called Mind & Music - and we thought we’d take the chance to have a chat with Zoe so she can introduce the idea herself and why she set it up.

Mind & Music - A new platform for mental health
Mind & Music - A new platform for mental health.

CB - Tell us a bit more about Mind & Music.

ZF - It’s a platform for musicians and those who work in the industry to share their stories and resources peer to peer, find inspiration and boost morale.  It’s not just for musicians though - there’s some fantastic new talent sharing their music. The pandemic has really affected not only the incomes of those who work in the music industry but their mental health too and I wanted to create something that would help boost mental health and morale. It’s not just for those who work in the music industry though - anyone is welcome to visit the page and there’s lots of inspiration for all music lovers.

CB - So, it’s a direct response to how the pandemic has affected the industry?

ZF - Yes! I think the biggest issue is the loss of income for musicians. Touring and live music is the bread and butter of the vast majority of not only musicians but sound engineers, roadies, promotors to name but a few. A lot of people aren’t eligible for the government schemes either because their employment status doesn’t fit the criteria,  or in the case of  younger people, they just haven’t built up any work history. Many are becoming disheartened with the situation and leaving the industry altogether.

CB - How do you think the pandemic has changed the business forever?

ZF - It’s really hard to say at the moment but the immediate worry is the lack of live music - Glastonbury has just been cancelled for the second year running, and venues are shuttered. However I think that it’s the local grass roots venues that are suffering the most. Mainly run on a shoe string they are vital for up and coming bands. As great as Zoom is you cannot replicate the atmosphere of a gig and ultimately new talent relies on those to build a fanbase. Most people don’t realize that the majority of a musicians income will come from touring.

CB - Do you think that the Keep Music Alive Campaign has helped raise awareness of where a musician’s income comes from?

ZF - Definitely. Again most people don’t realise how little revenue comes from the streaming services and how important live music is - the  Musicians Union has estimated that £21m has been lost from its members earnings, with 92% having their work affected.

It’s great when you can access live music online but you shouldn’t forget that just like a gig at your favorite venue that if there’s an option to pay a few bucks towards the gig and you can afford it you should.

CB - Because working in the music industry is perceived as glamorous do you think those outside it don’t really understand what it’s like to be a musician or work in the business?

ZF - Definitely! People seem to think that music - especially when it’s coming from an online platform should be free by default as you’re obviously enjoying doing what you do - it’s not seen as a ‘proper’ job.

CB - I agree - I’ve worked with illustrators and artists in the past and there’s very much that perception and undervaluing of what’s a lot of hard work.

ZF - Yes - it’s people’s rents and mortgages and not pocket money! I think people extend this attitude to mental health as well and don’t realize the issues that are caused by job uncertainty and creative burnout. I have a degree in Music Business and I was really lucky as we got a lot of support as students - something I am now passing back in my role as a student mentor but there are lots of people out there who don’t have that support and I would hope that’s where Mind & Music can help.

CB - Tell us a bit more about the artists who have  been featured on Mind & Music so far?

ZF - I think the story that captures why I set up Mind & Music is Jake Baxter’s. He’s a full-time musician who’s had to retrain in a different field as he can longer afford his bills. Before lockdown, his career was beginning to take off which makes his story even more heart-breaking. He’s told me how he believes the music industry has been one of the worst affected industries during the pandemic with little support. He also explains how important it is to support our grassroot venues and upcoming musicians during this time, even if it’s just a couple of dollars to a JustGiving page.

Since publishing his story on the platform, Jake has been back in touch with me. He emphasized how grateful he was on being able to share his story and how since putting the video out, he has now been back in touch with an old friend who’s built their own home studio. He’s now planning to work on his material again and come out of this situation fighting. Mind & Music gave him the inspiration he needed to pick up his guitar again and is the reason why I created the project. It makes it all worthwhile for me personally.

You’ll also find stories from Storm: Season - who give advice on home recording equipment, Soul Jacker who speak about the importance of online communities and Novastatus/ Last Stand Studio who give advice on motivation. There’s also some excellent performance videos from these guys.

CB: So where next for Mind & Music?

ZF: Well - I started with an Instagram feed but I’ve now added a Facebook page and both are proving really popular. Ultimately I think I’d like to create a website that offers musicians a platform to share their stories, post performances as well as providing pages where they can access resources and help.

CB - Thanks Zoe!

To find out more about Mind & Music you can visit their Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mind_and_music_.

Zoe Fearn, Music Coordinator at Imagesound

Zoe’s love of music emerged at the age of six when she started piano lessons. She has gone on to pursue this as a career - graduating with a First in Music Business from the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) in 2019. Zoe is now working at Imagesound as one of our Music Coordinators as well as mentoring students in her spare time - she says ‘My passion for music and to help others is what drives me through life and the reason for creating Mind & Music.’.