ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The arts and artists in the US continue to struggle, as states have varying degrees of reopened economies. Many musicians in particularly turned to livestreaming early on in the pandemic, the new NY PopsUp series only targets specific organizations, and at least plans in New York leave something to be desired for local and mid-sized venues.
But despite all that, Rochester-based band Joywave had planned their biggest tour yet, even touching into Canada… Until early this week, when they canceled, despite the announcement that New York’s larger venues can reopen with capacity restrictions.
“We were just looking at the calendar, and the vaccine rollout, none of us are in priority groups, also most of (our) fans are not in priority groups,” said Daniel Armbruster, the frontman for the band. “It didn’t seem like (it was going) to be possible.”
Armbruster says that this new tour — which had already been canceled twice before — was in support of their latest album “Possession,” which was released on March 13.
“The worst day you could have possibly released music,” Armbruster said.
But there is a small silver lining here. Instead of just a cancelation, Joywave offered refunds. Following their second cancellation, their manager then told them that they had one of the result refund rates they’ve seen.
“That was very exciting for us,” Armbruster said. “That made us more confident that the choice was right for us… Knowing that those people will be there for us is comforting.”
But using that energy, Armbruster says he is “creating for the sake of creating,” and is working on other projects. He’s taking advantage of the nature of our virtual world, and is doing more songwriting and production for other artists, all online. But the band is in no rush.
“I don’t offer any essential service, am I essentially a clown. I get up on stage, I do what I do, and sometimes people toss money at me,” Armbruster said, channeling the perspective of his history and economics background. “When a pandemic happens, we can all deal with no music for a minute.”
He says that he and his Joywave bandmates haven’t seen each other in person, let alone practice, in nearly a year. They were overseas when the pandemic first started to “hit.” When they arrived, they were supposed to answer a handful of questions along with a health screening, but Armbruster recalls vividly that they were only asked:
“Have you been to Wuhan?”
Which then was followed by a trip to Wegmans to stock up.
But there is a small glimmer of hope, and a small holdover, for people who Joywave’s music; Armbruster just released an album of some of his side project material, an EP for his band “Best Frenz.”