It’s honestly getting to the point where I even miss playing what we refer to as “shit shows”

Strange Hotels

Band

Los Angeles


How did the Covid shutdown effect you as a musician?


Nick:

It was the most devastating thing that’s ever happened in my life. There were so many levels to it. There was, of course, the ever-present fear of covid, followed by panic at the grocery store. And the knowledge that thousands of people were about to get sick and die. Then there was the financial struggle. Ben and I moved to LA and got an apartment together in October 2019. We were lucky enough to land a weekly show at a club in Hollywood called Good Times at Davey Waynes, it was the best and coolest job I’ve ever had, and the pay was decent! We were pulling in just enough from Davie’s and a few regional shows to pay our bills. When lockdown happened in March, Davey Waynes closed, and we literally couldn’t pay rent on April 1st. We both applied for unemployment but it took 10 months for me to finally get mine! I’ll spare you the dirty details of how we’ve managed to make it through this year. But it’s been an immense challenge.


Typically when I’m going through a dark time or struggling in life, I can play through it with an audience. Live music is my spiritual alignment, meditation, soul rejuvenation or whatever you want to call it. Not having it to work through all the pain is fucking wild. A true ego death. But the thing is, everybody is going through a hard time. And even with all this shit that we’ve been through, we honestly have it pretty good. We’re fed, housed and relatively safe. People are out here being forced to go to work, and getting covid as a result while living in multi-generational households. Some people have already been evicted. Like wtf. I see those situations and think, my struggles are so minor in comparison. You may not be able to measure pain, but you can certainly put it in perspective.


What type of undies do you wear?


Nick:

Strictly Calvin Klein


What’s your favorite video game?


Nick:

Super smash brothers. The original for Nintendo 64. They made so many versions and they are all pretty cool, but there’s something about the first one. All the characters are so balanced. And the game play is nice and slow. I can tell I’m getting old because I can’t keep up with the speed of newer games lol.


What’s it like not playing shows this past year and how did you respond?


Ben:

Honestly it’s been tough. I think I took for granted the fundamental piece that performing live is in the process of writing. I’ve been playing most weekends since I was 17 so it was just sort of part of my normal rhythm to get to try new ideas (whether that’s totally new songs or new versions of older ones) in-front of some sort of audience. It’s honestly getting to the point where I even miss playing what we refer to as “shit shows”, i.e. bad pay, no crowd, terrible sound etc. it’s really been an adjustment lol.


We responded by trying to dive into writing and recording, we record and mix all our own music anyways but without the constant deadlines of shows to push songs over the finish line, there was definitely some lag time at first. I think,

Hopefully, good art comes out of adversity, and looking back someday the stuff we came up with this year might be an interesting departure musically. It’s more pre conceived, more in the box, more exact. It’s less improvisational and less of a live feel and more of a studio production vibe. I’ve decided I can live with that (and myself) and even thrive in it if need be. But needless to say, I think I’m old school, I need the shows, and lots of them, to properly get a feel for how the music comes across. Live Dance music ultimately needs bodies pressed up around each other, moving and singing and yelling, smelling like that perfect mix of sweat, beer, excitement and a touch of desperation to be closer to other people.