Living without live shows: how bands are spending the lockdown

Source: Lukas Vogt / DOTE

The German band DOTE have found creative ways to stay in touch with their fans through social media, but still miss live performances dearly.

Live concerts and festivals both came to a complete halt during this pandemic, and this has hit fans just as hard as the artists themselves. The German indie band DOTE is no exception – they went from playing 15 festivals and over twice as many concerts in 2019 to only four socially distanced concerts last year. Fans weren’t allowed to dance or even sing along. The band had planned to perform at five festivals last year, including their first performance in Switzerland, all of which were cancelled. 

DOTEwhich consists of Lukas Hüskens, Jonah Lemm, Moritz Arendt, and Niclas Beba, have a rather unconventional song writing process, which luckily wasn’t really affected by the lockdown. “Lukas and I write songs parallel to each other – mainly on the laptop or Lukas on his iPhone,” says Jonah Lemm, who does vocals, guitar, synthesiser and programming for the band. “Our song writing consists of us sending files back and forth, so that hasn’t really changed that much.”

The Essen-based band enjoys interacting with their fans through Instagram Q&A’s and a weekly WhatsApp video newsletter. While other artists have done live streams for their fans to watch during lockdown, DOTE came up with a different idea to stay in touch with their listeners: Trash Song Tuesday. Fans send in topic suggestions to which the guys then create a quick song accompanied with videos and funky texts. Past Trash Song Tuesday themes have included ‘dogs’, ‘doing the dishes’, and ‘baking powder’. 

DOTE – Bedroom (Official Video)

Aside from the live shows themselves, the boys miss just being a band together. “That feeling of being together when you’re on the road, even if most of the time is spent on the highway, but everyone is together,” reminisces Lukas Hüskens, who does vocals, drums and percussion. “Just having two days where you’re in a completely different world, and you’re distracted from everyday life.”

“I really notice it affecting my mood,” adds Jonah, “even last summer I noticed my mood dipping because we weren’t able to play live shows.” They hope that with more and more people getting vaccinated they might be able to start playing some shows in the summer or fall.

When they are not writing songs or performing for fans the boys live pretty normal lives – Jonah is a journalist, Lukas is a student, Niclas works at the job centre, and Moritz is training to become a teacher.

DOTE’s new song ‘Suburbs’ will be released on the 26th of February and is available for pre-save here

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