Peter Baylis of Pottery — COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check-In - “I find it pretty hard since I like being on the move.” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Peter Baylis of Pottery — COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check-In

“I find it pretty hard since I like being on the move.”

Apr 29, 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 Peter Baylis of Montreal, Canada’s Pottery.

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, emailed them to several musicians, and will be posting their responses as they come in.

Pottery are releasing their debut LP, Welcome to Bobby’s Motel, on June 26 via Partisan/Royal Mountain. It was originally due out April 10, but was pushed back because of COVID-19. The post-punk/art-rock band (think Devo and Gang of Four) also features Paul Jacobs, Jacob Shepansky, Austin Boylan, and Tom Gould. The album is the follow-up to 2019’s No. 1 EP, which was recorded in only two days. By comparison, to record Welcome to Bobby’s Motel the band had a whole 10 days at Montreal’s Break Glass studio with producer Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Snail Mail).

For the album’s most recent single, album closer “Hot Like Jungle,” Pottery swerved more into surf-rock. “Hot Like Jungle” was the third single they’ve released from the record, and the supplemental animated music video for the song was created by the band’s drummer, Paul Jacob.

Pottery collectively had this to say about “Hot Like Jungle” in a recent press release: “This was written as a love song for Paul’s girlfriend. He had a job working construction one summer came up the lyrics almost as a sort of Springsteen parody, they’re very blue-collar, very working class. When Austin sings it we always picture him on a mountain shouting off into the distance with a girl out there singing back to him.”

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

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’ve been quarantining with my roommate. Our place is pretty small, but we’ve managed to not have any tension, as communication is the key ;)

Is everyone in your family safe and healthy so far?

Yes, at the moment everyone in my family, blood or not, are safe and sound. Knock on wood.

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?

In Quebec, the rules are pretty strict. To be honest, I’ve spent most of my time in my apartment keeping busy: playing music, writing, and working on building guitar pedals.
Sometimes I walk around the block and then go get groceries, which leads to a lot more cooking and finding new recipes. The last thing I made was a lentil soup. I find it pretty hard since I like being on the move, however it’s also allowed for a lot of time to focus on other projects.

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?

We had to postpone our album release to June 26 and our May tours until the fall. I don’t think it will affect us too much in the long term, it just sort of rearranges our own personal lives and work for now.

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

Actually, this past year I’ve been on a provincial grant. For one year, the government of Quebec will support an individual in a project of their choice. My project was to design and build guitar pedals. However, April is my last month, so it’s going to be pretty hard to find a job after all this. The rest of the guys lost their jobs though, so they’ve been looking into EI.

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

I haven’t been listening to any specific news source, but funny enough I’ve been using Twitter to get information. I’ve never really used it before, but they have all the relevant news sources in one area.

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?

Everyone I know is staying inside. My grandfather (the older man in our music video for “Texas Drums Pt.1”) is actually 93, and he’s been isolating. He’s still fully autonomous, and I trust anyone who can live that long with their health.

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 consuming many, many things. I’ve been listening to lots of different albums, including L’Univers De La Mer, Don Everly (self-titled), Green, Exuma, The Obeah Man, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. I have also been listening to an amazing audiobook series called The Expanse. I’m on book three right now, which is called Abaddon’s Gate, and the narrator is just amazing. Lastly, I’ve been watching Twin Peaks for the first time… it’s amazing!

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?

We’ve had to do some adjusting to the fact that we can’t meet up in person to jam and work on new material. However, we’ve been using Dropbox to pass audio files and start working towards the next album. Personally, it’s hard to force creativity, so at times when I’m not feeling as creative I’ll learn a song or read, see if that shifts my mind.

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?

Club original crackers, hotdogs, and baked beans. If you run out of paper, there is always water. Sweet love and stay safe!

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