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.
Hawkins: I’m fortunate to have a job that can be done remotely and an employer who genuinely values my wellbeing, but COVID derailed my plan to take music more seriously this year. I thought this summer would be my first big recording push and then, ideally, following it up with my first tour. For obvious reasons, that hasn’t happened.
Creativity, too, has been a non-starter. The anticipation that this will all end—the masks and the distance and the death and the bullshit—and the disappointment that it hasn’t has made it difficult for me to sit down and concentrate on anything. I used to block out at least one weekend per month for writing. Now, every day seems like a continuation of the day before, and I don’t know where to put that dedicated time. It could go anywhere, so it goes nowhere.
But, really, COVID seems like a bit of a joke compared to the state of politics. I’m completely exhausted by about 8:45 a.m., just from reading the New York Times. I feel insane.
Fortunately, the circumstances haven’t stopped us from making music altogether, and some people have adapted amazingly! Lots of folks are connecting on social media. My friends in Corey Flood just released their debut album, in spite of everything going on, and it’s a banger. Josh Kirwin (a.k.a. Tubey Frank) organized a show at the Magic Gardens where we taped a collaboration with ThebandIvory to raise money for RHD Morris Home. It felt good to play music with people in person again, and because it streamed online for a week, more people were able to watch and donate than if it had been a regular show.
Heading into the seventh month of COVID (at least the U.S. response to it) is a slog, but movement is happening. I’m starting to demo the songs I had hoped to record. I have some socially distanced shows lined up. (Let’s be honest, Zoom shows suck.) I’m doing less compulsive eating. I can climb again. I can sit in Sam Ash for a while playing stupid pedals inappropriately loudly. (If I wanted to, but I’m not actually that person.)
Everything changes, but music isn’t going anywhere.