VISIONS OF ATLANTIS frontwoman Clémentine Delauney has spoken out against cell-phone use at concerts, saying that "it's very frustrating" to "sing in front of a sea of screens."
Asked by The Metal Gods Meltdown for her opinion on fans filming live shows using their phone cameras, Clémentine said (hear audio below): "I hate it. I have it because, first of all, they have the feeling that they're collecting a memory for a lifetime. I've done it myself sometimes at shows — just keeping a short film just to have an idea. And first of all, I never watch it again. And second of all, when I watch it, it's like one or two percent of the emotion or the intensity of what I was living being in the venue. The feeling was just such a small part of the reality that you can live in. So I think it's a lure to film or take pictures like this as a way of keeping a memory of it. And when people do that, they're also not with us during the show — they're not focused on watching and listening because they know, 'Oh, I'm saving it anyway, so I don't have to pay full attention.' Or because they're doing something else, they're not having their heart and mind fully open to the show they're looking at."
She continued: "It's not pleasant at all to sing in front of a sea of screens. It's like you're singing to machines — they're not real people. Especially when they look at their screens while they're recording — it's like they don't even look at you. And I always go for eye contact; I always go for smiles, because I love that interaction with the audience. And when I have those screens in front of me, it's very frustrating. And I've been saying that sometime on stage: 'Be with us. Just leave your screen in your pocket for once. You're watching live music for real. You're in the real world. Just forget that thing.' … For the audience, you don't see anything — you just see people's screens. You can't see the stage yourself. It's very selfish."
A number of other musicians have come out in recent years to say that mobile technology is ruining the concert experience, including SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR singer Corey Taylor. He told "Loudwire Nights" that "it's fine" if people want to take pictures of his bands' shows, but not so much if they are videotaping entire performances. "It's one thing to film it, it's another thing to just be staring at your screen while you're filming it," he said. "It's right there. Are you so terrified of real life that you can't do anything unless it's on that little four-by-four screen? Ugggh. It's very weird."
GODSMACK frontman Sully Erna told "The Eddie Trunk Podcast" that there's "something really magical that happens when" you are not experiencing live performances through a "little four-inch screen." He explained: "I think sometimes you just need to allow yourself to enjoy the moment and know that you're gonna have that memory — you're always gonna have that memory. It doesn't go away. The brain is way more complex and way more powerful than the fastest computer in the world, and I think they've proven that. Because you can have a computer that can spin numbers at a million beats a second, but the brain can compute so much faster and retain so much more, and you have the elements of emotion and feeling and sense and taste and smell and all that as well. So there's just so much more. And your brain is your best computer you could ever ask for, so you have to trust in it. And plus, we build these shows for those reasons — we want you to see these moments; we want you to, in a blink of an eye, to be able to catch these great effects and things that we use on stage that we spend months and months and months designing. It's for the human body to absorb; it's not for a computer."
Former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach in 2015 urged fans to keep their cell phones at the bottom of their pockets and just watch his performances. "Be in the moment," he said. "You're distracted and it's distracting to the performer as well. Like, put your fuckin' cell phone away, dammit! You're never even going to watch that footage."
Back in 2012, Bruce Dickinson chastised a fan for texting during an IRON MAIDEN concert, calling him a "wanker."
When Axl Rose reunited with his former GUNS N' ROSES bandmates, Duff McKagan and Slash, for the first time in 23 years at the Troubadour in Los Angeles in April 2016, the concert was phone-free.
"God, it was wonderful," McKagan told The New York Times. "It was the old-school feeling, where people were dancing and getting down. It was really cool."
VISIONS OF ATLANTIS will release its new album, titled "Wanderers", on August 30 via Napalm Records.