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.
Daniel Rice (guitar, vocals): I remember being at the neighborhood bar with a few close friends who were all about to go on tour together (Ali Awan and Slomo Sapiens) and making the decision to cancel a two-week run of shows throughout the South and the East Coast. We were also about to play Johnny Brenda’s to kick off with a solid hometown show, and it just felt like all of the air in the room was gone.
Mike (Sanzo, guitar, keyboards, vocals) plays with Slomo Sapiens and I play with Ali Awan, so we were both about to be on the road together but playing in separate bands—something that we had never done before and were very much looking forward to experiencing. Months of planning and preparing and practicing was suddenly meaningless; but the true weight of the situation hadn’t really set in yet.
The Dawn Drapes were having regularly scheduled practices at the house Mike and I live in, and we were in a great songwriting groove and the band was in a great place with new material. We made the decision as a band to take a break from meeting up together since we all don’t live together and wanted to be as safe as possible. That was definitely the hardest thing to put on hold. Luckily for us, we had recorded four new songs a few months earlier, so we had some new material ready for release. But not playing live to an audience is just so strange to us.
There’s a lot of home recording going on with everyone in the band, and that is great! There will be so many songs to sift through, and that is always a good problem to have. I’ve been trying to stay positive and look on the bright side of things and remember to tell myself that slowing down can be a good thing. It’s definitely hard to imagine not playing live until 2021, but that’s the reality of the situation, and we’ve all got to deal with it.
The musicians in Philly have a great support network including the local radio stations and venues, who’ve all been outspoken about helping each other. Greg and Jenn Seltzer of Philly Music Fest launched a campaign to raise money for musicians; that was seriously amazing, and I know it helped so many of my friends in need. So looking on the bright side, there are things to be grateful for, knowing that the community is invested in seeing everyone shine through these dark times.