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Chasing Stages brings back the spirit of live music

One of the things that Covid-19 has unceremoniously taken from us is the spirit and allure of live music. Even though we are seeing a slow return to the stage, musicians and artists have suffered as a result of this lack of onstage presence.
Image supplied: Brad Farrell, co-founder of Caya Studios
Image supplied: Brad Farrell, co-founder of Caya Studios

Chasing Stages is a docuseries that follows artists in the South African music industry. Featuring some of the biggest names and newcomers in the scene, the series looks to remind the people about the magic of live music and what goes on behind the scenes.

We spoke to Brad Farrell, co-founder of Caya Studios - the production company behind Chasing Stages - about the series, the South African music industry and what we need for a successful industry moving forward.

A scene of struggle

Chasing Stages is a huge passion project for our team,” said Farrell. “It’s been really hard seeing the damage that [the music industry] has taken, through Covid. The jobs that have been lost, the livelihoods that have been so horribly damaged - and to see the lack of support it’s gotten.”

As we now see live events slowly emerge again, Chasing Stages is meant to be a reminder of the magic of live music, being surrounded by people there for the same purpose and connecting with each other again.

Image supplied: A scene from Chasing Stages
Image supplied: A scene from Chasing Stages

“We wanted to make a production that reminded people of that feeling, but [also gives] insight into the incredible people behind our music and events industries,” Farrell said.

Especially in the South African music industry, there is very little coverage of what happens offstage. By bringing this kind of coverage to the forefront, Farrell hopes that Chasing Stages will give a new perspective on what it means to be a musician and artist in South Africa.

“We all know these artists onstage and follow them, but there’s next to no coverage of them as people,” said Farrell. “Fans don’t fall in love with people for what they do. You fall in love with someone for who they are.”

Supporting our connection

The challenges the South African music industry faces today are not easy problems to solve. However, Farrell has some possible solutions in mind.

The first is collaboration. “The pie is really small. Musicians tend to try and go it on their own to try and catch as big a slice of that small pie as they possibly can. Which, on one hand, I understand - especially if it’s your livelihood. But I think it’s a hugely limiting factor because the competition doesn’t help anyone,” he said.

Collaboration opens doors for musicians to work together to make a name for themselves. Bigger names can help smaller musicians make it on the scene and build a bigger fan base, and nurturing these relationships takes the competition out of the equation. By doing this, the music industry may see a boom that is driven by musicians and artists themselves - and gets more eyes on your music.

Image supplied: A scene from Chasing Stages
Image supplied: A scene from Chasing Stages

More than that, if you find that the artist you collaborate with gets more out of it than you do, it presents an excellent opportunity for you to learn how to be better - for yourself and for your fans.

Secondly, fans can help their favourite artists by supporting them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to pay to see them (especially if this is not something you can afford) - but it can be something as simple as sharing their music on your platforms. Effectively ask yourself, what can you be doing to make others aware of your favourite musicians?

Looking to the future

The South African music industry has an opportunity to rise above the challenges it has struggled to overcome for years - and that have been perpetuated by the pandemic.

Music brings us together, and projects like Chasing Stages allows us to see the people behind the music we love so much. Humanising them allows us to see who we are supporting, and we have a place as artists and fans to nourish the industry. We just have to take the step.

About Emily Stander

Freelancer specialising in games and entertainment | My first loves are writing, music and video games

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