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Time moves fast and time hardly move at all. 2019 we were a brand new company fresh out of the starting blocks. We ran that year, full year, and sent bands and artists and labels and ourselves to just about anywhere. Shows, tours, festivals - we had bands and label presence all over Europe, Mexico, USA, Korea, Thailand, Japan and we finished the year off with our third edition of Viva Sounds in Gothenburg. A lot has happened since putting lots of things to a stop, only to start up other things in other ways and that's how we find ourselves here.

Going back to 2019, the second event we were part of that year was called Make it Loud. A small festival in Kiev, Ukraine. Lisa Wanloo went from our side, did the show as a duo and had a good time. Nothing strange, just an ordinary event to happen. The background was like the background to most of the events we do, just people meeting people at places where people meet. We got into talking with people from Kiev, Ukraine, at Reeperbahn 2018. They were a new and unofficial exporting set-up, just like us in that sense, and basically just people with ideas finding ways to do things with likeminded ones in other countries. So by staying in touch and having Lisa to Kiev in February it was an obvious thing to invite them to Gothenburg for Viva Sounds that year. Nothing strange, just an ordinary event to happen.

We did a panel called "Can we get cash to rock?". Tatiana Madrid moderated brilliantly upstairs at Pustervik and the speakers were Conny Brännberg, the regional minister of culture in Västra Götaland, Jerk Sörensson from the Swedish Art Council, Cecilia Soojeong Yi from Zandari Festa in Seoul, Korea and Alona Dmukhovska from Music Export Ukraine. The panel talked about public funding in the indie sector of music. Good topic, good panelists and really nothing strange, nothing out of the ordinary. Just some people with skills in the field discussing the topic. Pretty normal stuff at an event like ours. 

We've lived through a pandemic but since life is about relations we've stayed in touch with people. Last year we picked up with friends around the Baltic region to look at a new project around the indie community in the area. The initiative came from Music Export Ukraine. Their idea was simple, like the good ones usually are: let's connect some indie companies in a network, share our domestic knowledge and see what happens. We talked about it and got to work. Less than two weeks ago we sent in an application to the Swedish Institute for what we call The Baltic Indie Group, with partners from Sweden, Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, and Germany. Good idea, but again, nothing out of the ordinary, just people with skills in a field trying to pull something off together.

One thing that startled us (except talking about the Kiev-situation in our zoom-calls); in the application all partners had to list possible problems that could interfere carrying the project out - and our Ukrainian friends listed "war in Ukraine" as a possible problem. They also estimated the probability, and put down a 2 on a scale going up to 4. Last weekend when being in touch Alona wrote from a bomb shelter in Kiev, her city and country being under attack. 
There is absolutely nothing ordinary about that.

What can we do? We can start here;

Photo: Nikos Plegas @ Viva Sounds 2019