Isolation Drills: Great Time

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.

Jill Ryan (vocals): Other than some cancelled shows, we are doing a lot of the same before the quarantine began. I feel for all our peers who had album releases and tours scheduled right now. I’m proud of them for all their beautiful work and love seeing fans support them by listening, buying merch, not getting refunds on show tickets and sending love! We didn’t have a major tour scheduled, although our show with Lawrence at the TLA was rescheduled for October. We all teach lessons on the side and have been lucky enough to continue teaching a majority of them via Zoom. I’m extremely grateful that we all live together in our studio. The first week of the stay-at-home order, we mostly kept to ourselves, felt all the feels, but then came back together and started creating again. We’re making new things and also working on our next album. It’s nice to have all this time, but I also experience bouts of sadness, anxiety and fear, which I think we’re all feeling. My mom works as a nurse in California, and I worry about her health and safety and that of all of the essential workers putting their lives on the line right now and always to help the rest of the world! I am thankful to have music not only as a means to express myself but also as a way process the feelings I have regarding such a tumultuous time in our lives. 

Donnie Spackman (drums): Much of what we do in the studio hasn’t changed as a result of the current outside circumstances. I am generally one to stay home/in the studio for days at a time, although there are now obvious reasons why it’s important to adopt these kinds of practices. I know we all feel lucky to have the studio at a time like this as a place to direct our creative energy, and I feel for artists who are without the means to create during this time of self-isolation. It’s inspiring to see how the restrictions of quarantine have invigorated a widespread push toward streaming/virtual events and that the general response to this pandemic seems to be one of support and a desire to connect. I hope that this mentality continues after this global event has finished and we can all walk away with a greater awareness of how important it is to show up for one another.

Zack Hartman (bass): Luckily, we had planned to be in the studio for the first part of 2020 and only missed out on a few shows. I tend to stay home a lot anyway, and since we have our studio here, there’s no shortage of things to do. It’s unfortunate that a situation like this is happening, though I think all we can do is make the most of it and continue working as hard as we can. I find myself spending a lot more time outside—we live in the middle of nowhere; no people around—and generally having a few more hours in the day to pursue whichever hobbies/projects I’m feeling. Besides the tragic circumstances that I’m fortunate enough to avoid, I am definitely drawn to this type of lifestyle and do believe it has its benefits. We’re being forced to modernize in ways that perhaps we’ve been putting off in favor of the “old way” of doing things. That isn’t to say that things are better now—quite the opposite—though I think we’ll learn some valuable lessons that can be applied to “normal” life—whatever that means—when this is all over.