“It’s my hope that this crisis inspires our world to begin choosing people over profits.”
We are checking in with musicians during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to see how they are dealing with everything. What has their home quarantine experience been like so far and how is the crisis impacting both their career and art? Here we check in with Lindsey Mills of Florida’s Surfer Blood.
We’re living in future history right now, unprecedented times that will define our era. At some point we will be living in a forever-changed post-COVID-19 timeline, but right now we’re deep in it. Many have had their livelihood interrupted by the pandemic and included are most musicians, who make a lot of their money by touring and performing, two things they can’t do right now. Most record stores are closed and vinyl factories are shut down, so album sales are depressed too. Our intention with this series is to highlight the challenges musicians are going through right now to hopefully encourage our readers and their fans to rally around and support each musician (financially if you can, but we know it’s tough out there for many people).
We’re all in this together, a whole planet united in this fight, and we hope these interviews will help illustrate that. We put together the same set of questions about the current crisis and emailed them to several musicians and will be posting their responses as they come in.
Surfer Blood were releasing a new album, Carefree Theatre, on May 1 via Kanine, but they have pushed it back to July 17 because of COVID-19. Carefree Theatre is the follow-up to 2017’s Snowdonia and 2019’s covers record Covers. The band also features John Paul Pitts, Tyler Schwarz, and Mike McCleary. Former guitarist Thomas Fekete passed away in 2016 after battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Previously the band shared Carefree Theatre’s first single, “Parkland (Into the Silence),” via a lyric video for the new song. As its title suggests, “Parkland (Into the Silence)” was about the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, in the band’s native Florida, two years ago this Friday. “Parkland (Into the Silence)” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared another song from it, “Karen,” via a video for the track.
Read on as Mills reflects on her COVID-19 experience so far. Mills also submitted the following self-portrait photo displaying her life in quarantine. She had this to say about the photo: “Here I am about to roll out on my evening skate. Fun fact: The vagina bandanna I’m wearing as a face mask is signed by the legendary intersectional feminist bell hooks. xo”
Where are you spending the quarantine and who are you spending it with? If you’re spending it with other people, have you found that the quarantine has brought you closer together or caused tension?
I’m fortunate to be quarantined at home in Lake Worth, FL with my dear friend and her two cool, smart kids. We have really bonded through this experience! I take her kids in my studio for an hour of “creativity time” each day so she can get some things done. We craft, write songs, and
record random stuff. It’s keeping my imagination limber.
Is everyone in your family safe and healthy so far?
Yes, so far band members and our families have remained healthy and avoided contracting COVID.
What’s your daily routine been like? Have you spent much time outdoors? And since musicians spend so much time on the road, have you found it hard adjusting to so much time at home?
As much as I love the utter chaos of tour, I’m a creature of habit. In the last few years, I’ve started to feel like I only reach optimal health when I’m super consistent with my routine. In fact, I didn’t really learn how to love the touring lifestyle and cope with the reality of being in a new bed every night until I locked in my morning ritual. I think it sets the tone for my entire day:
– Drink a big glass of water with high quality CBD and a probiotic
– Meditate for 20 minutes
– Oil pulling
– Dry brushing
– Drink MUDWTR
I also wouldn’t be functioning without a daily grounding practice. I go outside and sit on the grass each morning while I drink my mud. I’m into quad roller-skating, so around sunset I’ll go for a skate and listen to my latest playlist.
What financial impact has COVID-19 had on you and your band? Have you had to cancel or postpone any tours or festival appearances or postpone an album release because of COVID-19 and how will that affect you in the long term?
For Surfer Blood, COVID-19 has definitely dashed some hopes. In a way, I’m incredibly grateful that SXSW was one of the first large events to fold because it made me take the situation much more seriously and I started social distancing on March 10. In light of the crisis, we decided to push back the release of our new album, Carefree Theatre, from May 1 to July 17. We have officially called off two months of touring, but are braced for more cancellations.
If you also have a day job outside of music, how has that been impacted by COVID-19? What do you think will be the lasting effects on society of all this isolated time at home?
I teach music to children, and the schools, libraries, and special events where I did my work have all closed for the foreseeable future. Yet even as an artist whose income has been compromised by this crisis, I am a white, cis-gendered, able-bodied person with a strong immune system and the ability to pivot my work online. In my privilege, I find myself pretty insulated from the graver impacts of the virus. But every day I think of how many people in underserved and minority communities were already living hand-to-mouth, who are now more vulnerable than ever. I truly believe that capitalism is the real virus here, and COVID-19 is merely a symptom of a much more insidious systemic imbalance. It’s my hope that this crisis inspires our world to begin choosing people over profits.
Is there something you’ve been putting off for a long time, but are now doing with this time at home? Has the quarantine been a fertile creative time (are you writing or recording new music, for example) or have you found it hard to focus on creative endeavors?
The quarantine has actually given me the free time I needed to launch Milly Marzipan, a purple-haired, non-binary alien alter ego I created for young kids. It’s been a lot of fun! I’m now producing a weekly live stream sing-along via Patreon and hosting virtual birthday parties.