Two years ago, much loved Merseyside band Beach Skulls parted ways to pursue lives and creative projects in different countries. Guitarist RY VIEIRA relocated to Barcelona where he looked to assimilate to the creative scene.

Now in a relatively strict lockdown, the Widnes native is using the imposed isolation to develop a new creative project recently announced with a super smooth cover of Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan. Vieira spoke to us from his Catalan home about creative life in the city since the pandemic took hold.

How do you find the art and music scene in Barcelona generally?
It’s amazing, in particular the big events and festivals here – Sonar, Primavera, MIRA Digital Arts Festival – always have world class line-ups so chances are any well known artists I want to see end up passing through here. There are so many galleries big and small, it’s impossible to visit them all. There is a real mixture of local talent and artists from around the world because Barcelona is such an international city. I think there’s a scene here for everyone, it’s a really inclusive place.

“People in Catalonia are taking the lockdown really seriously. I think it will take a while for everyone to trickle back into their cultural norms” Ry Vieira

And how have friends in the scene reacted to the current situation?
Obviously as a whole we’re gutted that we can’t chill together and create or go and see shows. Some of my friends have gone to places outside of the city where it is more relaxed. The centre (where I am) is stifling now with the combination of super strict lock down measures in Spain and the dense population. I got told off by the police the other day because I was more than 20 minutes from my house. I think most of my friends are trying to use the time productively if they can, hopefully something good artistically comes out of this for some of us.

Are cultural organisations like museums and galleries remaining active in anyway online? If so, how?
MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona) has an app where you can browse the museum virtually. I tried one of these that Google did for the Altes Museum in Berlin though and ended up just going in circles staring at the floor or ceiling like a glitching character in a PS2 game, so I got annoyed and left it. I should give the MACBA one a go and see if it’s any better.

How are you yourself getting through it – personally and creatively?
I’ve been preparing an album to release as part of my solo project, Ry Vieira. I haven’t released anything through that project for a while because my creative energy has been on Beach Skulls in the UK and a new band with friends over here in Barcelona. So, to help my own personal mental health while stuck at home, I’m telling myself that the situation is making me do something positive that I might not have made the time for otherwise. I’m really proud of this album, so I’m glad that now I can share it with others over the internet.

ISOLATION DISPATCHES: BARCELONA Image 1

How do you think this will affect the cultural scene in your city once things return to normality?
I think everyone deep down will want to have a big party and get some human contact. A big. Spanish street party! Obviously not though. Generally, people in Catalonia are taking it really seriously and I think it will take a while for everyone to trickle back into their cultural norms.

Do you have any advice for isolated creatives at the moment?
Always try and have something to work on. Maybe try to do something fresh and different to your normal process. But if you’re struggling and can’t get anything started/finished then try stay chill. Don’t over-pressure yourself; if it happens it happens, but sometimes it doesn’t work. It’s life. Have another go when you feel up to it.

What can Bido Lito! readers do to support any of your projects?
Keep an eye on my socials for new videos, singles and eventually the album over the coming weeks and months. Taking the time to listen and share with your friends if you dig it is enough support for me. Or if you want you can send us a tenner over Bandcamp for something so I can get a few bevvies in, your call.

Listen to Ry Vieira’s cover of Planet Caravan here.

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