Isolation Drills: Michael Cantor (The Goodbye Party)

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.

Cantor: As an artist, I’ve spent the last few years isolated. I retreated from touring and performing regularly in order to focus on writing and recording an album. The band, as an entity, had existed mostly inside my own head.

I saw this as a small sacrifice in service of a fruitful future, touring with a full band and making a record that I’d be proud of. In early 2020, it felt like I was crouching into the starting blocks of a big year, only to unceremoniously stand back up once the pandemic hit. 

We’ve all learned the lesson that even the best laid plans can go awry. The pandemic has taught me to work faster,to make the things I want to make without overanalyzing them and scheming the best ways for them to come into the world.

This situation has affected every corner of human life around the world, many in orders of magnitude greater than just musicians having to change their plans. It has also reaffirmed the importance of art and music as emotional connective tissue, as evidence of life.

To quote a friend, “You can’t fight if you’re not alive.”