Isolation Drills: The Stammer

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.

Brian Brotman (vocals, guitar): At the beginning of last March, we were in a strong, productive mode. We had a couple of shows lined up in Philadelphia and New York and had just started to record a three-song EP. Like it did to so many others, the pandemic put a stop to the shows, along with almost everything else.

Once the shock of quarantine began to wear off, we slowly started to work on music in ways that we could. Despite the world being turned upside down, we still had the desire to create music. Luckily, since we had just tracked drums and bass for three songs, I was able to finish them on my own in my small home studio.

It’s funny how the changing circumstances of the world will make you think about the same art differently. Although all three songs were written before the pandemic, they took on new meaning as we finished the recordings.

For example, “Wishing Well” is about getting together with old friends and hanging out. What was intended as simple nostalgia before the pandemic now feels a lot more urgent.

“Burden On The Living” likewise took on new significance. Already a rather heavy subject matter about a friend dying suddenly in a hospital, it becomes much more significant when we are all living under the shadow of a deadly virus.

After getting all of the tracks recorded, I was able to send it remotely to Kyle Pulley at Headroom Studios for mixing. Luckily, I have a long working relationship with Kyle, and he was able to make quick work of the EP.

We’re excited for the release date on February 23 on both vinyl and Bandcamp/Spotify. Along with the new music, we’ve been able to have some tentative practices as testing and vaccines become more available.

It’s still going to be a long while before things can be “normal,” but seeing the light at the end of the tunnel gives me a lot of hope.