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.
Arjun Dube (percussion): COVID-19 has been a blessing and a curse—quite simultaneously, in fact. When I find myself uninspired by my stagnant surroundings, I also find inspiration in the calm. These days, being only sequestered with my most intimate bandmates, it’s been a nice journey of self-discovery.
I’ve found that the things that seemed unapproachable in the past suddenly became approachable, and at the same time, the things that I held in such high regard became meaningless. It’s hard to name specific examples of these phenomena, but essentially it boils down to the discovery that musical creation is based on one’s own temporal inclinations. That is, the time spent doing one activity or another, becomes the thing you are good at.
I’ve spent my time producing for other artists, making hip-hop beats, practicing my drums and piano. I’ve found that, without exterior motivations such as live shows, I’ve become more attuned to developing skills that my heart desires, rather than my wallet.
Logan Roth (keyboards): Honestly, quarantine has been extremely positive for me. Sure, I had depressed moments and times when I lost faith in what I was doing, but overall, it forged me into a more focused and better person. Before quarantine, I was busy and had so little time to actually focus on my own music and my own happiness. I was running from gig to gig, rehearsal to rehearsal without taking time to be a person.
I moved to Philly in 2015 to work on my own music, but I lost sight of that within my own anxiety to stay busy and network and integrate into the music scene here. I don’t regret anything I’ve done, and I love everyone I’ve made music with, but I needed quarantine to pull me out.
During quarantine, I’ve had time to start taking care of myself and really think about what I want my life to look like. I’ve stopped smoking as much pot, I’ve stopped drinking as much, and I have no opportunities to smoke cigarettes socially like I did at venues before.
I’ve started going to bed earlier and waking up earlier, which has allowed me to develop a daily routine filled with exercise both for my body (jogging) and my mind (reading/staying away from my phone).
I’m also allowing myself to say no to gigs and projects in order to have the time to work on my own music, career and happiness. I feel in control of my life in a way I don’t think I ever have.
Perhaps most importantly, though, quarantine has really forced me to look at my relationships in a new way; I’d like to think I appreciate my friends and family so much more now. Seeing family and talking to friends is no longer just something I can treat as a casual normalcy.
It’s a privilege and an essential part of being a happy human being. It’s responsibility, too. I’ve realized not just how much I count on my friends, but how much my friends and family count on me.
I just hope that I can have the clarity of mind to remember what this all feels like when things go back to normal.