Creative Quarantine: Musician Ian Schranz

Bark Bark Disco’s front man, Ian Schranz, shares insight on how the quarantine has impacted the lives of musicians and what musical productivity looks like during these times.

1. How are you holding up?

All is very well. I’m probably one of the few people who’s needed the lock-down since I’m constantly like a hamster on a treadmill.

It’s made me have to slow down and look in the mirror at various aspects of my routine and life. I live 120 meters away from the bluest Mediterranean Sea, and I hardly ever had time to go swim. Only through this period have I had the time to go swim and really embrace the small wonderful details of my surroundings. Added to this, I’ve got to spend so much more time with my loved ones.

2. Has Covid-19 had an effect on your work? If so, in what way?

As a performing artist, with most concerts stopped, I’ve had to focus more of my efforts on writing. Initially, there was a wave of online shows, but sadly I think they’re a little clumsy and not a long term solution. So I used the time to be part of collaborations and productions I’ve always been too busy to follow through with. I’ve often had producers sending me songs to add my voice to and finally, I’m sending them actual material. Besides, I’ve been able to work on the production of some up and coming amazing young new talent. 

Bark Bark Club © Ian Schranz

3. Is there anything you’ve added to your practice that you’d like to keep after this is over?

In my particular case, I got a groove box, a drum machine, and a bass sequencer, to save me needing to physically rehearse with my drummer and bassist, and I’m kinda liking it. The extra time has allowed me to actually watch youtube tutorial videos and learn how to use the gear I had purchased and never gotten down to using properly. 

4. Of the artists you follow who’s handling this particularly well?

Jeffrey Lewis from New York has spent his time online dancing and drawing. He’s usually very camera-shy, however without any shows he’s been online constantly performing and just sharing his thoughts. Perhaps this has opened him up to a whole new performance angle.

5. Is there any particular genre of music or artist you’ve been listening to during the crisis and why?

For some reason I got into Afro-Jazz, artists like Fela Kuti, I’ve been meaning to understand the genre better, and now was the time. The bass player of a funk-afro-jazz band from Napoli called Nu Guinea hangs out in the same bar in Malta and he pointed me exactly in the right direction. This kind of funk music requires time to fully understand and also research. It’s always been on my to-do list and whenever I used to hear a DJ playing this style I’d always rush to them and ask who it was. Finally, I’ve had time to rectify this huge knowledge-gap in my music education.

6. Please also share with our readers any shows, projects, etc. that you are working on or recently completed.

A new single called Another Play that is released on the L.A. legendary Italians Do It Better label, working the likes of Chromatics, Glass Candy, and Desire. The track is produced by the fantastic Johhny Jewel and sang on as a duet with the Maltese artist called Joon. She’s slowly becoming a worldwide sensation, so I had to make sure she sang on one of my tracks while Covid’s keeping her locked indoors.

© Ian Schranz

Ian Schranz is the front-man of Bark Bark Disco, a band from the small island state of Malta in the Mediterranean. Their debut concert was supporting the New York musician, Bonnie Prince Billy in a masonic cemetery in the old capital Valletta. Their first video for their single “Song for the Lovers” received half a million views on YouTube in under two weeks, which was the original catalyst for the band to leave their bedroom for a Japan tour. The band has since then been touring most of the western world and Japan performing their lo-fi pop. Ian is also an illustrator and painter.

Check out Bark Bark Disco’s website and Instagram.