Isolation Drills: Honeyjar

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.

Adam Ackerman (keyboards): This pandemic has certainly made me hungry for art. We’re really limited to what we can do as a band with Kayla working on the front lines as an ER nurse, so I’ve invested a lot in writing and creating through different genres and mediums that I maybe never would have tried otherwise. We’re getting creative within the context of the band as well, sorting out new ways to make music and content together through our YouTube channel.

Obviously, I miss the way music was before the pandemic, but I’m impressed and inspired by other artists’ creativity and resilience during this time, and I’m using that inspiration as best as I can! One thing is for sure: When it’s safe to do so, we’re going to hit the ground running to get in front of an audience and play this record (the brand-new Moonbeam).

Kayla Rae (vocals): As artists, a large component of what we loved most about playing music has been put on hold since COVID. Without being able to play shows, the band had to be creative with ways to get creative. Quarantine and social distancing has made many aspects of being a band more difficult, but it has definitely given us a chance to grow as artists both individually and together. Lots of group chats, Zoom calls and home recordings, but when the world returns back to normal, we’ll be ready to go!

Dylan Gallimore (bass): For me, spending the majority of the year in relative isolation uncorked a whole set of ideas that the pace of normal life had been keeping me from exploring. Unpacking those ideas has been a challenging but exciting creative process. All in all, this year has made me more introspective and, hopefully, a little more patient.

Eric Caruso (guitar)
Obviously I could name a million reasons why the pandemic sucks, and everyone knows what those are, but I think a lot of creatives have seen this as time they can spend writing or honing their sound/craft, or figuring out a marketing plan, etc. My job got shut down really early on, and for the first week or so, all I did was watch movies and heavy chill, and honestly that’s when I felt the worst. Then my sister sent me a slide guitar (Jess, she’s the best), and I started f’ing around on that and listening to some new tunes and finding new sounds I liked. And before you know it, I was writing again.

Not soon after, Adam and I (we were both living back home at the time) got, like, insanely into tennis and grilling (embracing the full white-boyz-from-the-suburbs vibe). But while we were chilling, we’d be outside showing each other tunes we were “cooking” on, and quickly that turned into converting Adam’s parents garage into a makeshift studio for the summer where we probably wrote about 10-15 songs or so and really got us into a songwriting groove I don’t think we’ve got out of yet! So even though this pandemic has been dogshit in a million ways and I’d love to be slangin’ with the band way more than we have been, it’s slowed things down enough to explore different sounds, directions and also grill. (I really hope I didn’t undermine the devastation and overall horribleness that is this global disaster we’re all currently in though, cause yikes.)

Richie Straub (drums): This pandemic has been a lesson in perspective. Before things shut down, weeks could fly by with rehearsals, shows and recording sessions. It was easy to get lost in the sauce and not truly appreciate the times you are able to share making music with incredible people. After months of not being able to play with others, we’ve been starting to have socially distant rehearsals. While the prospects for bands still look rather bleak, the joy and love of what we are doing has never been stronger. It makes me think back to when I was a kid playing hours of drums in the basement for no reason other than it was the best thing in the world.

Going forward, there won’t be a moment of playing music that will be taken for granted.  Although this year has been a harrowing experience for all, it’s important to take something positive away from it. I can’t wait to hear all of the music and see all of the art that comes out of this year.