Whether with his backing band, The Fustics, or performing as an acoustic artist, Brad Heller has established himself as a credible force among current songwriters. Honing his craft for over a decade and a half, the Wilmington, North Carolina transplant has built a reputation as a thoughtful songsmith who tackles a wide range of personal and social issues.
Bouncing between a myriad of genres, Heller finds creative drive in honoring musical influences that inspired him, while never abandoning his own unique sound. With the release of his latest album The Sentence, Heller continues to build his audience with constant touring and spirited live shows. The Sentence centers on middle-class characters while exploring themes of loss, self-imposed alienation, abandonment of faith, addiction, and immigration. Voted Wilmington’s “Best Original Rock Band,” Brad Heller and the Fustics will continue touring the U.S. full force once the national Coronavirus lockdown is over.
Indie Pulse Music caught up to Heller in early May, while everyone is still pretty much quarantined at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He agreed to be interviewed for our ‘5 Quick Questions’ series, COVID-19 Pandemic edition. Here’s how it went.
IPM: Now that the COVID-19 situation has engulfed the music business, how have your immediate and long-term recording and touring plans changed?
BH: Our immediate touring plans have been altered significantly. We have lost over 20 shows since late-March, and the near future looks bleak for our upcoming shows. The uncertainty is frustrating. We already have shows booked for the fall and winter, but that is a wait and see scenario. With all the extra free time, I am starting to map out songs for a new record. A new release may come much sooner. than later.
IPM: Let’s say the bars and restaurants where you perform open back up soon. Do you have any trepidation about performing at these venues at the present time?
BH: There will definitely be some concerns when the venues re-open, but I am hoping that there will be some safety precautions provided by the establishments. However, I think it may be some time before live music is back in full throttle.
IPM: What have you done, music/performance-wise, to keep yourself active and visible in the music community?
BH: I have done no live performances, or live streaming. I have been trying to write new songs and lay low while quarantining. This has been a reflective time for myself, and I have been able to turn that into new creative output. I have done a few interviews and released a video during our forced hiatus.
IPM: Have you done any music recording, or created any videos, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and/or do you have anything planned/in the works?
BH: I have finished a bonus track from my current record “The Sentence” that is currently being mastered for CD and vinyl release. I am also in the final stages of editing a brand-new video that should be available to the public in the next few weeks.
IPM: What lessons do you think will be learned in the long-term, regarding the music and entertainment business, as a result of the Coronavirus music stoppage?
BH: This has been a bizarre and difficult time for all musicians. No artist could have prepared for the toll that the pandemic has exacted on the industry. Financial security is always a challenge for musicians. In the future, I am hoping to be a bit more financially stable so I can weather any situation thrown my way.
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