Sean Solomon of Moaning – COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check In - “I started making to-do lists so that I don’t just lay in the fetal position, staring at my phone, and crying all day.” | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, January 28th, 2021  

Sean Solomon of Moaning – COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check In

“I started making to-do lists so that I don’t just lay in the fetal position, staring at my phone, and crying all day.”

Apr 17, 2020 Web Exclusive
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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 Sean Solomon, singer/guitarist for Moaning.

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.

The Los Angeles shoegazers/post-punkers released a new album, Uneasy Laughter, last month via Sub Pop. Uneasy Laughter is the follow-up to the trio’s self-titled debut album, released in 2018 also via Sub Pop. Moaning also consists of bassist/keyboardist Pascal Stevenson and drummer Andrew MacKelvie. The band worked with producer/engineer Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Bloc Party, Melvins) on Uneasy Laughter. Solomon celebrated a year of sobriety during the​sessions for the album and in a previous press release announcing the album said he wanted to be more open with Uneasy Laughter: “Men are conditioned not to be vulnerable or admit they’re wrong. But I wanted to talk openly about my feelings and mistakes I’ve made.” 

Read on as Solomon reflects on his COVID-19 experience so far. Solomon also submitted a photo of himself under quarantine.

Where are 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 staying at my girlfriend’s house right now. We’re getting along great. My roommate works at a hospital and is dealing with a lot of COVID-19 patients. He’s a hero! My cat, Mr. Maggie is keeping him company. I miss them both!

Is everyone in your family safe and healthy so far?

My family is doing okay. I’m more worried about their mental health than the coronavirus. 

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?

It took me a while to settle in but I’m actually doing pretty good lately. I started making to-do lists so that I don’t just lay in the fetal position, staring at my phone, and crying all day. I’ve been taking free online classes and reading a lot. I’m also learning songs on the guitar and doing yoga. I’m trying really hard to stay busy and happy. I take a walk everyday. I recently discovered a bunch of cool Victorian houses in the neighborhood. I made friends with a stray cat I named Ms. Moo because she has black and white spots. I stay the fuck away from everyone though and I wear a mask.

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?

Our album came out the day after LA went on lockdown. Our release show was canceled and probably 40 other shows. We were supposed to go to SXSW and tour with Black Marble. We were booking a European tour as well. It definitely impacted sales and promotion of the new record. I have a few hundred records sitting at my house quarantined with my roommate. It’s a bummer. I joked with Sub Pop that they shouldn’t count this one. It’s gonna be a financial loss for a while.

If you also have a day job outside of music, how has that been impacted by COVID-19?

I’m a freelance animator. That hasn’t been affected too much. The project I was doing got pushed back though. I heard that other animation studios are animating to Zoom meeting audio until they are able to get together to record the real dialog.

Do you trust the government and our leaders (such as President Trump) to effectively deal with the pandemic? What most concerns you about the response of elected leaders at home and abroad?

I absolutely do not trust Trump in any way. He is a complete psychopath and any death in the U.S. is his fault. He has an enormous amount of blood on his hands. He was warned about this, had plenty of time to prepare, but did absolutely nothing. If I was casting a movie and trying to find an actor to play a corrupt evil villain, I would say that Trump is overacting. He is unreal. The only way we will get through this is if people are smart enough to stay home and doctors eventually figure out some sort of vaccine. This will impact everything for a long time. 

How do you think the crisis will affect this November’s U.S. presidential election? Will it make it easier or harder to defeat Trump?

I assume easier but what the fuck do I know. Americans are idiots and conservatives live in fear regardless of whether there’s a pandemic or not. If this had happened before the primary I would have assumed that Bernie would win. There is more evidence than ever that capitalism needs to be shifted towards socialism. Millions of people just lost their jobs and don’t have healthcare. People are dying everyday because they don’t have money.

Which sources of news have you been turning to most during COVID-19 and which social media platform have you found most useful?

To be honest, I’m trying not to read the news but it’s unavoidable. I like Democracy Now and they have a lot of interesting and informative interviews. I’m trying to stay off social media too. If I had to pick, Twitter seems to be an interesting place to hear a lot of different perspectives. However, I believe social media companies should be paying all of us for creating free content for them!

What do you think will be the lasting effects on society of all this isolated time at home?

Hopefully a positive perspective shift. Maybe it will make people have more gratitude and appreciate what they have. I think the fact that this shifted my life so quickly has made me reevaluate what’s important.

Are your parents, grandparents, and others in your life who are at risk taking social distancing seriously? If not, what lengths have you gone to in order to convince them to stay inside?

My family is taking it pretty seriously. It’s been hard for me not to step in still. I wanted my parents to get their groceries delivered but my dad is insisting on going to the store. He goes in the morning during senior hours. I was fighting with him for a while about it but I figure he’s been taking care of himself longer then I have.

What other steps should record labels, music streaming platforms, and other music industry entities be taking to help struggling musicians through this time?

Streaming platforms could consider paying artists more than a fraction of a cent. This situation has proven how little musicians get paid beyond touring and merch.

What is the best way fans can support you financially right now? Buying vinyl and CDs, downloading and streaming your music, buying merch, supporting your Patreon page or other crowd sourcing platform (if you use one), or some other means? Is there a particularly cool piece of merch you’d like to highlight?

With so many people losing their jobs right now, I can’t ask anyone to buy stuff from us. Donate your money to charity if you have it. The best way to support us is to listen to our music and share it with your friends.

Which albums, songs, films, TV shows, books, podcasts, live streams, video games, board games, etc, have been helping you get through the quarantine?

I’ve been playing scrabble and listening to Elliott Smith. If you’re looking for something to read, look into Haymarket Books.

Have you been doing any live-streamed concerts during COVID-19 or do you plan to? A lot of artists have been doing them, do you think it’s a challenge to make them original and interesting?

I’ve done one so far. We had to completely rearrange our songs to be able to play them without the band. It is extremely challenging for a band like ours. But it was fun. I’ll be doing more in the future. 

Is there something you’ve been putting off for a long time, but are now doing with this time at home?

I’ve been taking some music classes online and learning other people’s songs. I normally get distracted when I’m studying music and just start writing songs. Now I have the time to try and be a better musician.

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?

I’ve been trying to be creative but not worrying too much about why. I’ve been playing guitar just for fun. I think that ultimately will be beneficial and turn into something. I’m just trying to stay sane these days.

Beyond the obvious items (such as toilet paper), what things have you made sure to get from the grocery store when stocking up? And, also, do you have any toilet paper?

I bought a ton of coffee and sparkling water. I have toilet paper too. I use it to wipe my tears every night after looking at the news.

www.moaningmusic.com

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