The Nu’s Darius Zaltash embraces socially distanced gigging
Darius Zaltash from esteemed Birmingham based futuristic electronic-rock outfit, The Nu, spoke to us about how he’s fully embraced the new social distancing aspect of gigging by completing sold-out socially distanced tours.
Darius, who’s now in the third year of his Songwriting course at BIMM Institute Birmingham, has been nominated for four awards at the 2020 Birmingham Music Awards, including Best Band and Best Song alongside some industry legends, including The Streets, UB40 and Swim Deep.
Catching up with Darius Zaltash:
Hi Darius! Can you tell us about the shows and how they came about?
At the end of September/early October, I decided to do a socially distanced event with my session band at one of Birmingham’s great local venues, The Dark Horse, promoted by our good mates at Sonic Gun Concerts. We had a tour booked the same week as the whole country went into lockdown back in March; we rescheduled it but soon realised that Covid wasn’t going away anytime soon, so we were forced to cancel the whole thing.
“ It was a validating feeling being able to play live music again.”
The socially distanced show was meant to be some sort of replacement for that, so people could still come and see us live. We invited our pals La Dharma onto the show as they were meant to support us on tour and we were buzzing to finally play together. We put the show on sale, and due to everything happening in the year, we didn’t know what to expect. We put tickets on sale, and the show sold out in the first week, so we were like, “Wow, okay… Shall we do another one?” Then the news came through that it was the first sold-out socially distanced indoor event in Birmingham, and we were like “Yes, let’s do another one”. Then that one sold out a couple of weeks later, and we couldn’t believe it. It was a massive boost in confidence for all of us after weeks and weeks of just cancelling things.
The shows were so much fun, and it was a validating feeling being able to play live music again; something that I realised was such an important part of my life.
How have you found adapting to this ‘new way of gigging’?
It’s interesting. It’s not the same as before, and my shows are always about the energy, mosh pits and atmosphere. Still, in all honesty, after the year artists have had, it was just such a great feeling being able to play live music at all, and we seriously missed our audience.
It is different, though. I prefer how it was before. I really can’t wait for things to get back to normal and connect with the people who come to my shows properly. Our set is so interactive, and for us, it’s hard to create that same level of community when everyone’s sat down at tables. Don’t worry, though, I’ve got a few ideas I still want to test out!
What do you think the industry can do to adapt further?
I noticed the other day that the 100 Club in London tested a new system called TCP (Test Clean Prevent), which cleans the air in the venue of all flu viruses, including Covid, using UV light. It should mean the end of social distancing regulations at that venue if it is successful, and they say it can protect the venue from closure in future pandemics. If this system is successful, then the industry should push to get that rolled out nationwide. I’m sure the 100 Club would massively push this as well.
“I think this year proves just how strong the industry is.”
At the same time as this, I think it has to be said that the industry’s pure resilience this year – with all the disregard and belittling the government has put on us – is something people should remember for a very long time. Music is such a massive part of Britain’s reputation, and I think this year proves just how strong the industry is.
Is Birmingham a good place to be a musician? If so, why?
I think Birmingham is an amazing place to be a musician. Not being from Birmingham myself, and moving here for university, I was massively surprised by the sheer amount of stuff going on. Birmingham is massively slept on, and I feel like the moment people arrive here everyone’s opinion is like, “Wait, what? This place is insane.”
The sense of community is incredible. The scene does some wonderful things, and it’s crazy the number of talented artists, event organisers, journalists, photographers, videographers (I could go on) there are here. I’d highly recommend anyone who is thinking of coming to BIMM to go to BIMM Institute Birmingham. The place changed my life in so many good ways – some of which I never thought were possible as a student.
What has The Nu got coming up this year?
This year, it’s all systems go for The Nu. We’ve already got festivals booked, some of which have been announced and we’re very excited for! Planning for Nustock 2021 (a festival I am organising) is already underway after plans were cut short this year. Hopefully, we’ll finally be able to go on tour after everything that’s happened. Oh, and there’s music coming out as well. Lots of it!
You can check out The Nu and keep up with their latest Nu-ews (do you get it?) below. Shout out to Darius for embracing socially distanced gigs and his recent success with The Nu. Their next show is at the Sonic Gun Weekender on Friday 5th February (Covid permitting). Tickets are available here.
Photo by @furnuget