Isolation Drills: Dave Cope

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.

Cope: When the pandemic hit, my band was playing a lot of shows promoting our recent 2019 release. We were really hitting our stride, but due to COVID, we had to stop playing live and have been on a performance hiatus ever since.

Despite the obvious career setbacks of months without a paying gig, I have to say I am grateful to be where I am right now. Most importantly, I owe a great deal of my sanity in these difficult days to my fiancée Sarah, who’s been there for me throughout the whole ordeal.

I’m also grateful for my friends and our conversations via phone and Zoom chat. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve seen some of them in person. What a world.

For the most part my musical endeavors have been confined to writing and recording at home. I’ve played a few online shows, and that’s been interesting, but I miss the direct connection with a live audience. On a brighter note, the extra time in lockdown allowed me more time to create.

Unsure what the future holds for myself, my family, friends and the country at large, I’ve embraced a kind of “seize the day” mentality in making art and writing songs. Within the span of the past several months, I wrote and recorded like my life depended on it, amassing a bunch of new material that I have recorded entirely in my home studio. Much of it has been released in various incarnations on my Bandcamp page as well as being shared on Facebook.

I found the work a welcome distraction from the pain that seemed to pervade every aspect of American life this past year. It allowed me to escape into a realm of pure sound and vision in a way I had never previously been able to do. I’m happy with the results, and I look forward to sharing more of the work with listeners in January.

As I write this, some of this past year’s uncertainty and sadness has been replaced with hope, love and joy as folks are dancing in the streets of Philadelphia and all over the world. Let’s keep on loving and letting the music speak when we can’t find the words.