RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The coronavirus has, for the most part, silenced a once-thriving live music scene in Richmond. However, a local group is finding a way to give artists a voice again.
“Hourglass Sessions is an online community music platform,” Tyler Scheerschmidt, co-founder of Richmond-based Hourglass Sessions, told 8News. He and two other fellow musicians are creating high-quality music videos featuring Richmond artists. The videos are free to the artists and free to the public to watch on the Hourglass Sessions YouTube channel and Instagram.
“COVID-19 has obviously put a hinder to the music industry here in Richmond,” Scheerschmidt said. “We are really trying to fill the void that it has left behind.”
In their latest video, Richmond singer Jonathan Facka belts out his song “The Tarmac” under the lights of Main Street Station. The catchy chorus plays out: “Once we leave the tarmac, there is no turning home,” and viewers feel like they are there watching Facka live.
“These pre-recorded single takes are cinematic experiences; each one is unique to the artist,” Scheerschmidt added.
For producer and sound engineer Dillion Douglasson, it’s a way to get back into music.
“I was in a band and we had like five gigs planned,” he revealed. “And they all got canceled because of COVID.”
Matt Sease manages the group and said he felt compelled to be a part of Hourglass Sessions.
“It gives the music community something to be excited about. Something to rally around in Richmond,” Sease said.
Sease adds that when the coronavirus first hit, he saw local musicians trying to keep the music alive by setting up webcams and livestreams from their bedrooms. It’s part of the reason why he and his team wanted to step it up and push the envelope.
“We wanted to do multiple camera angles, we wanted to incorporate professional lighting,” Sease said.
While the videos are pre-recorded, it’s authentic live music, and perhaps even more impressive, it’s all shot all in one take. It is meant to make you feel like you’re watching live music in person.
“I really wanted to be part of something that was showcasing these artists and musicians in a way I would want to be showcased,” Douglasson said.
Hourglass Sessions has completed about a dozen videos now. The company doesn’t charge the artists for their videos.
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“As musicians, we all understand how difficult it is,” Scheerschmidt said of surviving during the pandemic. “And we also understand how important it is to keep it alive.”