I rarely write news pieces for my photo blog or write at all outside the occasional poem or reflection, but in light of the recent tragedy at Manchester Arena and the Paris attack at The Bataclan only a year and a half ago I decided to reach out to someone who considers music venues their home most of the year. I met LOLO in February 2016 only months after the attack in Paris. The topic came up in the green room before the show that night and today we had a moment to discuss further. I submit to you, my interview with LOLO:
Me: Thank you LOLO for taking a moment to further discuss a conversation we began a year ago... Since that night, additional major violent incidents have occurred during music events including Monday's attack at Manchester Arena, where were you and who was around when you heard about this event as well as the attack at The Bataclan?
LOLO: Thanks for asking me to share, I remember I was part of a 3 month tour at that time in 2015 (Bataclan attack). I was opening up for Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness and New Politics and we were in Cincinnati that night playing at Bogart's. I had just gotten off stage when I heard the news about the attacks. Eagles Of Death Metal (EODM) is one of my favorite bands and I was so freaked out to hear that someone would target that band and their fans. I found out about the Manchester Arena attack just before I had to go to a dinner. It's startling to hear news like this because though I wasn't physically present for either of the attacks, it feels like a personal attack on live music, a space where people usually come together to enjoy something that helps to let their guard down and eases them.
Me: Crazy to think you were here in Cincinnati when you heard the news and that you and I ended up discussing it in Louisville. From what I remember of our conversation, didn't you know someone who was lost in the 2015 attack in Paris? Can you tell me who that was and basically what your relationship was with them?
LOLO: I didn't know Nick Alexander personally, but 2 of our crew members on the tour I was on at that time had worked with him extensively over the years. One guy, Tyler (one of our two merch reps on that tour) had just gotten off the road with him as merch reps for the summer 2015 Foo Fighters tour. Nick was a crew person who had been working in the touring world for years. I know a handful of people who loved him dearly and the days and months following were very hard from a closure perspective. Nick was working as the merchandise representative for EODM -- which means he was one of the first people who would have encountered the attackers. As any concert-goer knows, merch is set up by the doors so you can get your purchases while you either come or go.
Me: Music definitely is a community for those like us who work in it, news like that moves through us in waves of confusion. How many months out of the year would you say you spend touring?
LOLO: It varies year-to-year but usually about 7 months out of the year which ends up being between 100 - 200 shows a year.
Me: Let's lighten this up a bit for a second, do you have some favorite concerts you've attended in the past year and half?
LOLO: Because I spend so much time on the road, seeing other shows can be tricky scheduling-wise but if I can, especially if friends of mine are playing, I try to make it out. Favorite live shows I've seen in the last year and half are: Allan Rayman, SUSTO, Kevin Garrett, Shaed, Amine, FIDLAR, Erin Rae and the Meanwhiles and The Kernal.
Me: Even without attending shows for other bands you are at music venues performing your own music constantly, so I guess my question is do these events in any way cause you to resist touring anywhere or change the way you personally approach performing?
LOLO: Live music brings so much love and joy into the world and I think we need it more than even when awful events occur. Concerts should first and foremost be a safe space, but in light of these attacks it means that we have to reassess and figure out how to better protect not just ourselves but our fans and supporters so that this doesn't happen again. My thoughts go out to those who lost loved ones or have been injured in either of these heinous crimes. I cannot imagine how they must feel or what they've gone through.
Thank you again to LOLO for sharing her thoughts on this topic and if you now want to see some of the love, joy and light that music is bringing to this world, check out LOLO's single "Shine" below!