Smithers singer-songwriter Mark Perry has released a single with a COVID-19 theme.
But not only is the content of song, titled “Flatten out the Curve,” coronavirus-related, the entire production was a sign of the times.
Colin Maskell recorded Perry’s guitar and vocal tracks at Old Highway Studios in Smithers. Then they sent the tracks off to Jordy Walker at Stackwall Sound Productions in Whitehorse Yukon who laid down drums, bass and accordion and mastered the recording.
That’s when local dance instructor Monica Kapelar got involved and suggested a video.
“She’s funny, and she has all these friends in odd places, like former students of hers, even in Japan,” Perry said.
Soon, videos were streaming in from all over the world. Perry said it was tricky to piece together, but his daughter Mip (aka Marie Perry) was up to the task.
“She’s a very creative person and she’s very musical so she kind of figured out how to edit on the ones (first beat) so it was kind of in time, most of it,” he said.
The video was first released on Facebook April 6 and Perry was amazed by how it took off.
“I’m not a Facebook person, but there’s views and there’s people reached and people are sharing like crazy, he said on the morning of April 8. “Right now, we’re over 40,000 people reached. In a lot of ways, it’s fairly insane, but there’s also views and shares.”
Sandra Smith, from Plaid People Music, Perry’s booking agency, said in the first 48 hours the Facebook post had 20,000 views and 700 shares.
Subsequently, a release on Youtube on April 9 has garnered hundreds of views.
He said the inspiration came from Dr. Bonnie Henry’s daily press conferences.
“The phrase, flatten the curve or flatten out the curve, we’re hearing it all the time,” he said. “It’s always with us, so I just did it for some fun. It’s pretty light, but it’s a serious subject.”
Also a serious subject is the livelihood of musicians. With music festivals being cancelled and music venues shut down everywhere, remotely-executed projects such as “Flatten out the Curve” might be the only creative outlet for artists for the foreseeable future.
“We’ve lost a few gigs,” Perry said. “I’ve got my fingers crossed, but I’m not optimistic. We have an Alberta fall tour lined up. They say they’re holding on to the hope, but I’m not going to be shocked or anything.”
Although disappointed, Perry, a retired railroad worker is not concerned about himself so much as the artists who rely financially on touring.
“The people I’m worried about are the guys who are just counting on it,” he said. “Musicians who do it for a living, there’s not a lot of money out there, I just hope that they survive.”
It is unclear whether or how musicians will quality for federal and provincial wage subsidies and emergency response benefits, but legislation is evolving and that may be clarified this week when Parliament votes on the Emergency Wage Subsidy bill.