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Quarantine Talks

Quarantine Confessions with Nathan Aronowitz

These past few months during the coronavirus pandemic have been confusing and disrupting for all of us. Especially in the music industry, we have had to sacrifice a lot and adapt to a new way of life. Almost all events and gigs have been cancelled, and  communication with friends and family has only been through a screen. On social media, it seems like everyone else has been staying busy and been almost more productive than before, picking up new hobbies and getting in shape. But for me, it hasn't looked like that the entire time. There were days I didn't even have the motivation to get out of bed. I've been wondering what the reality of quarantine has truly been for other people, so I reached out to some of our artist ambassadors to hear about their personal experiences during the lockdown. I was able to talk with Nashville artist Nathan Aronowitz for a few minutes, through a screen of course, about how he has adapted.

Where are you quarantining and with who?

I'm in Nashville TN, and quarantining with my band 'Down Boy'!


What are the restrictions like in your city?

Things are starting to open up again, however venues are still at half capacity and only two people are allowed on stage at a time. Also, places of worship aren't open yet, so I haven't played my church gig in a while!


What were you doing/ working on before the pandemic? When was your last live performance?

Before the pandemic, we were in the middle of a Saturday night residency at "Alley Taps" downtown and had some cool gigs on the horizon. We were actually going to play a campaign rally for a local musician/activist Joshua Rawlings who is running for Congress, but that got canceled because of the virus! The last gig Down Boy played was an album release show for Alex Abel at The Basement, however I remember the crowd was super thin, because the local schools had just announced they would begin online classes. 


How has that changed since we switched to stay-at-home life?

We are currently finishing our latest album, slated to be released on August 5th, so I have used the time to immerse myself in producing content for the release!


Do you have other sources of income outside of music?  How was your career/financial situation impacted by Covid-19? 

Thankfully, I was able to continue teach lessons online with the School of Rock and my church gig started to have its musicians record services virtually. I'm very lucky to say that I was able to maintain about 75% of my normal income (church stopped paying for rehearsals and about a fourth of my students left), however I'm used to playing a few gigs a week so I totally miss the performances and extra pocket change!


How have you had to adapt to the changes caused by Covid-19? What have you been doing to keep busy/to feel normal while at home?  Have you been able to stay creative even while stuck at home? Have you started any new projects since the pandemic?

Thankfully, I haven't had any major changes directly related to Covid-19. In fact, the extra time has been somewhat welcome as it has given me the freedom to fine tune the album, get a head start on the never-ending list of tasks that lead to a successful music release, and also learn some new skills that can aid our creative output. I've been getting into green screens, splatter paint, watercolors, and all types of art in hopes of getting some cool visual content! It's so nice to live with your band too; we've recorded a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Wait Until Tomorrow", made a video for NPR's "Tiny Desk Contest", and even put together a cool Facebook livestream that helped us fund a portion of our mixing/mastering costs.  


    - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuBMSR51QuY   (Hendrix cover)

    - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnhkv8adPM8       (Tiny Desk)

    - https://www.facebook.com/DownBoyMusic/videos/229670405153214/ (Facebook Livestream)

Have you had to put any projects on hold?

The only work I really had to put on hold is playing live shows! Everything else is cruising right along.


What changes about the way you work and create do you think will become a part of your regular way of life when things go back to normal? What changes in the music industry do you think will stay once life returns to normal?

It's so crazy, I've been chasing this dream of being a self-sustained musician through touring, playing live shows, and making a living with original music. Now, I'm not even sure if or when that can be a possibility again! I realized that if I actually was doing those things, I would have been totally screwed because of the pandemic. In the future, I'm starting to think that I could use online lessons to gradually transition into the touring lifestyle, however that option still seems pretty risky especially if we end up getting a round 2 of the virus or something like that!


Briefly take us through a day in your life in lockdown. Feel free to note how that differs from a normal day in your life. Also, do you have any particular songs or albums on repeat during quarantine?

Well because I don't have any gig's keeping me up super late, I'm able to get up at 6:30 pretty much every morning. I grab some coffee and my guitar and play until I'm warmed up. Then I'll start working on whatever project needs the most attention, go on a run, and by that time I gotta teach my first lesson. At night, I'll grill a burger and chill out to an album, or maybe write a song or something. I've been absolutely obsessed with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, a prolific psychedelic rock band with albums that range from intimate acoustic Beatle's-style arrangements to early Metallica thrash with a trippy twist. 


Do you have any advice or a message for other musicians in your position?

Use this time to make something cool! The world is a crazy place right now and it's more important than ever to make art in the face of it.  


If you have any photos or videos from you playing/creating at home, we would love to share those too!

Our website is www.downboy.dog and here are those links again.

    - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuBMSR51QuY   (Hendrix cover)

    - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnhkv8adPM8       (Tiny Desk)

    - https://www.facebook.com/DownBoyMusic/videos/229670405153214/ (Facebook Livestream)