Isolation Drills: Remote/Control

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.

Jade (vocals, synth) and Thomas (guitar, bass) Shade: This year has easily been the most momentous and stagnating year in recent history. For Remote/Control, the experience has been no different. We entered into 2020 with plans to both expand the band to a four-piece, as well as write and release a new album, and just as everything began to fall into place, the world began to fall apart.

Our hearts go out to all of the people who have lost loved ones to this painfully mismanaged pandemic, and to all the essential workers who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and make sure our world keeps turning. We have been taking health and safety precautions very seriously and have been living in relative isolation since March because Jade is immune compromised.

Wearing a mask, socially distancing and keeping activities outside the home restricted to essential tasks is the only way we can collectively keep each other safe in a country that has prioritized money and politics over the lives of its citizens.

As far as plans for the band go, we were able to accomplish our first goal just as the reality of COVID began to take shape. Having Joey Patrone (drums) and Kyle Tralies (guitar) join Remote/Control has added a palatable momentum to the band, and we are so grateful to have found such talented and like-minded musicians to join our pursuit. The band has organically taken on this whole new life and become a source of light and inspiration for all of us during these increasingly dark days.

That being said, moving from a two-piece to a four-piece during a pandemic has not come without its own set of challenges. Our first hurdle was navigating remote songwriting, and so far we have been able to hammer out the framework for a handful of songs by working on parts separately, then sharing recordings digitally.

Thomas, Joey, and Kyle have also experimented a few times with masked, socially distanced band practices in a big warehouse space, which has been great for band chemistry, but challenging for songwriting without Jade present to sing. Writing an album remotely is not ideal, but we are using it as a parameter to shape our creative process, knowing that the end result will be a direct reflection of the life and times we are living.

The political and social climate of 2020 has pushed us toward a great deal of introspection about the sort of world we want to help build as we rapidly shift toward a very different future. Now we have begun to pool those ideas to inform the themes and topics in our music, and we look forward to sharing these intentions through a new release in 2021.

Remote/Control has always been focused on expressing and exposing humanity’s struggle with the ails of modernity, and now, more than ever, we find ourselves driven to create music that fosters an open dialogue about how we can bring our communities together to enact the change required to foster an environment that supports equality, diversity and transparency.