Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.
Hi, my name is Katie Jo Knaub. I play music under my own name as well as a full-band project called Katie Jo & The Knobs. I released my most recent full-band album, Mouthbreather, last fall.
It took every ounce of energy that I had to get that album recorded and released. I was already self-isolating last year because my medications suddenly stopped working, and I fell into one of the most severe depressive episodes that I’ve had in the last 20 years of battling major depressive disorder and anxiety/panic disorder. I couldn’t leave the house for a year. I spent this time healing and recovering by working through medication regimens and therapy. Writing songs has always helped me work through and process these episodes and the territory that they come along with. My hope is that the lyrical material that discusses mental illness, trauma, abuse and addiction can help others work through some of the same things in their own lives. If my songs can help anyone or comfort them in any way, then I’ll have done my job. That’s the most monumental thing that I can hope for and, by far, the most important. Knowing that you are not alone is the greatest comfort, and empathy the greatest power. Through music and other forms of art such as writing and painting, I hope to resonate this sentiment.
We all suffer, as it is what makes us human. During this mass trauma that is our current pandemic, it is imperative that we support one another—it is one of most important and effectual things that we can do. I hope that this time of quarantine gives people the opportunity to practice self-care in the face of worldwide anxiety and grief, and care for and support those out on the front lines keeping our world going ‘round.
While we all want to be out traveling and going out, it’s so important that we all stay home right now in order to save each other’s lives. I can’t believe I even feel the need to say this, but please wear a mask when you leave the house, and no it does not count if you wear it on your chin. It’s a very first-world problem to be bored of sitting on the couch watching movies that stream from the internet and eating food delivered to your house from a phone. Just be patient and think of those who are sitting in the hospital holding the hands of their ailing and terrified loved ones.
While we do have this time at home, it can allow artists the mental space and opportunity to work on new material. I will be creating a YouTube channel which will feature past live performances, as well as current home performances in lieu of live shows for the time being. My partner Mat, who plays in local punk band Trash Knife, and I have started a new garage/shoegaze side project called Trigglehorse during the quarantine and have just released a new song that Mat wrote about how obsessed we are with our dog, Luanne.
New Katie Jo Knaub/Katie Jo & The Knobs material is on the way. While we can’t have Knobs band practice (featuring Cool Dave of the Audrey Two), we have a studio that Mat built in the basement, as well as lots of different instruments, so we are free to write and record.
I’d like to take a moment to thank all of the medical professionals who are risking their lives every day to save ours. It is our duty to help by staying home for them. I also send thanks to all the essential workers making our world go ‘round and risking their health to do so. If you have the means, please consider sending donations to local homeless shelters and Prevention Point, as well as local music venues such as Ortlieb’s, Boot & Saddle, Century and Kung Fu Necktie, who are hurting and will be for some time. Venues like Ortlieb’s are offering takeout consumables, so patronizing local businesses helps them not cave in. I look forward to getting back onstage at some point and seeing the shining faces of the musical community, but until then, sit tight, stay safe and stream music. And stay tuned for new material. Also listed below are mental-health resources if you or someone you know needs help. There is nothing wrong with asking for hep—it’s a power move. I send my love to all.
Since this article was first written, a lot has taken place in our country. Heinous, inexcusable, reprehensible hate crimes and violence. Murder. It is our duty as humans to stand up for one another—speak for those who have been muted and protect those in harm’s way. Listed below are some resources that you can use to get help with bail, to educate yourself, petitions you can sign to defund the police, and organizations to donate to. This is a mass trauma for all people of color- and it’s going to be a permanent scar. This will stick. So check on your friends, family, and neighbors. Make sure they are safe. Tell them you love them. Remember, silence is siding with the oppressor. Do what you can and speak up on whatever platform you can use. Stay safe, everyone. BLACK. LIVES. MATTER.”
National Alliance On Mental Illness
Suicide Crisis Hotline: 988
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Department Of Behavioral Health Philadelphia
Community Behavioral Health
Jefferson Hospital Psychiatry
Philadelphia Consultation Center
Black Mental Health Alliance: 410-338-2642
Visit NAMI.org for a full list of African Amerian Mental Health Resources
Bail Assistance: Philadelphia Bail Fund (firstname.lastname@example.org / 267-961-3391)
Visit here to sign a petition to defund the Philadelphia Police Department
Black Lives Matter
The Loveland Foundation
The Movement For Black Lives
The Bail Project