Photo by Gemma Dagger
Quarantine Diaries: Catholic Action's Chris McCroroy Is Sleeping In & Celebrating His Band's Album Release
As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, Chris McCroroy of Glasgow-based indie-rock outfit Catholic Action, whose sophomore release Celebrated By Strangers is out now, shares his Quarantine Diary.
Friday, March 27
[8 a.m.–10 a.m.] You've got to be kidding me? There's absolutely no way I was getting out of bed this early. I mean I should have, for some reason getting up early is next to cleanliness, which is next to godliness. Moral point-scoring. Not for me, not today. No.
[10 a.m.–12 p.m.] Hello world, my eyes crack open and I blink into existence. Draw the curtains, it’s grey and quiet. This is Scotland during a quarantine, what do you expect? First thoughts are to the night before, the whole country was cheering out their windows en masse for our NHS (despite the fact that most of them voted for a party that wants to sell it off). It was heartwarming, wholesome and very much needed–the internet is at its best when it makes people come together.
Also, you don't have an NHS in America. You should try it though, you'd like it.
Oh yeah, and our new album came out today!
[12 p.m.–2 p.m.] When you release your album during an unprecedented, historical event, where most of the world is in some kind of self-imposed lockdown, you send a lot of texts and emails. My phone throbbed and hummed, threw itself off my desk in protest for me to answer. I did answer. Lots. All positive. All good. Many sighs of relief were exhaled, the album seems to be going down really well and the reaction’s been a lot bigger than we thought it might be given the circumstances.
[2 p.m.–4 p.m.] Total procrastination… I probably showered. If things had panned out as we'd originally planned, I'd just be returning from the U.S. We played New Colossus Festival in N.Y.C., and another show in Philadelphia with our old pals The Dead Kennedys before we had to cut our trip short and come home early. Honestly, it was the quietest I’d ever seen New York City. I think we got there just as folks were starting to realise how serious the situation was, and I’m amazed we got to play the shows we did. The plan was then to head on to SXSW, and after that I was going to stick around and play a couple of solo shows in Texas, rent a car and be a tourist before heading home. It’s a real shame that we had to leave early, we always seem to go down a little better in the U.S. But we’ll be back I'm sure.
[4 p.m.–6 p.m.] It's been interesting to see how folks are engaging with technology during a lockdown, especially bands and artists that usually deal in flesh and blood performance. It also seems that for once, people are using technology almost solely to communicate meaningfully, as opposed to a nervous tick-like distraction, or a hard sell. To that end, we had a little online listening party for the album this afternoon. It’s a nice enough feeling putting your record on the turntable for the first time and playing through it—even more so with fans and friends chatting away throughout. It was good recounting a lot of the stories from making the record, it’s easy to forget how much time and effort you put into it, as well as much you've learned from it.
[6 p.m.–8 p.m.] Maintaining zen garden (cleaning my home studio). I can't work unless my studio is clean and tidy. I’ve had a few late nights in here over the last week so it was due a touch up before I recorded anything else…
Another product of our strange times is online collaboration. This sort of thing has existed for a while of course, but given that everybody is now stuck indoors, folks have no choice but to engage with it. So, in the spirit of the quarantine, I spent an hour recording some keyboard parts for a friend’s project.
[8 p.m.–10 p.m.] I finished a demo of a new track and I felt grateful for the internet. Can you imagine if all this happened in the 1980s? I know we’re essentially in lockdown, but because of the internet people are coming together like never before. Life IS happening, just digitally, but with more meaning and vigour behind the screen.
I also felt grateful for home studios. I’d really go mad without my little setup and I'm sure a lot of artists are feeling the same. There is going to be a wave of COVID-19 lo-fi bedroom pop albums, I am sure of it. And some of it will be solid gold. It's strange knowing you are living through a historical moment; we're all watching the world as we know it twist in real-time. Creativity feeds off of situations like this.
My mind settled on something though, and it left me feeling good: The world is forever changing, we’re always adapting and life goes on, hopefully, a little wiser than it did before. And I think as long as we’re sensible, considerate, kind and compassionate, we’ll get through this largely unscathed too. Something good must surely come out of the entire world hitting the pause button and reflecting on their actions. Were we really moving in the right direction?
[10 p.m.–12 p.m.] The milk in my mug is warm, the sole candlelight plays upon the wall and my eyes grow heavy as Alexa reads my top ten "Black Mirror" plot synopses…
If you wish to support our efforts to assist music professionals in need, learn more about the Recording Academy's and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
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