Isolation Drills: Coping Skills

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.

Rachel Dispenza: Tour management and merch selling are my full-time jobs. I was two weeks into 10 weeks of planned touring when we had to cancel all the dates and come home. For a while, self-isolation felt normal. I’m used to some time at home without a job to go to between tours. I dove into projects. I made my space look and feel more like a home than I have in the year that I’ve lived here. In the beginning, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie was live-streaming every day at the same time—I tuned in for that entire two-week stint as part of maintaining a routine. 

But lately, I’ve been all over the place. I’m not used to this much time at home. I thrive on the road, and I really miss the time my bands and I spend together. They are my other families. I’m just trying to find ways to be kind to myself. I’ve gotten pretty into Yoga With Adriene on YouTube, and I also obsessed over beating the first three Spyro The Dragon games. I read quite a bit and work on making new music when I can focus. Coping Skills has done a few livestreams as well, and those concrete deadlines—prepping for performances—helps get me focused. 

We released a podcast called More Talk Less Rock in early April. We’ve been working on it for about a year at this point, and I’m really excited about it. It’s a variety show with music commentary, interviews, etc, and it highlights the banter and fun Lauren and I have together. The whole first season was done before quarantine even started, so I’m amped to start making season two ASAP. 

Lauren DeLucca: I am lucky enough to be able to work one of my jobs from home, which is not something many can say right now. While I am thankful to still be able to hang on to some structure in my day, it is difficult to watch so many people and places I love struggling. It’s tempting to want for things to return to “normal,” but the reality is that the normal we’ve grown familiar with was already failing too many people, and it’s absolutely not a place to which we should return. 

Rachel and I have still been able to continue to create and collaborate while quarantining ourselves and staying safe. We have done a few Coping Skills livestreams, including one on the Home Outgrown Presents Instagram account, and one on our own Instagram for the fourth anniversary of our first record, Relatable Web Content. Rachel played most of the songs from the record while I dyed my hair blue, because absolutely nothing will stop us from commiting to the bit, even a global pandemic. We have also started releasing episodes of our new podcast, More Talk Less Rock, which we started recording months ago before the pandemic and will continue to record remotely and release while at home. Having a project that is fun to make and takes a decent amount of time to produce is truly invaluable right now, and I am excited that we have found ways to keep collaborating creatively while being physically apart.