As we're all living in such uncertain times, the music and the creative industry have been hit incredibly hard.  To keep myself as well as my fellow creatives sane, I started this unique photo project that consists of two electronic devices, the app FaceTime, myself and the musician/artist themselves, at their own homes.   I want to show the music industry and anyone else, that you can still create beautiful work and content, despite being quarantined.  I contacted a bunch of insanely talented musicians, all over the world, asking if they would like to be part of this project and if they could answer a handful of questions about their experience being isolated and if and how it has effected their music and their songwriting process. I've named the project Artists At Home, to show that you can still connect and build relationships and your network via a computer screen.  Follow my instagram @mariekemacklon and the hashtag #artistsathome to see more the project. 

I did a little  exclusive feature and interview with Bido Lito about this project!  Click Here To Read the Full Interview!  

Thanks so much for Bido Lito for featuring this project of mine! 

At Home with... Eli Smart  -  Kaua'i, Hawaii, USA

@smarticuss // Spotify // Apple Music

Hi Eli! How are you doing? 

I’m doing well thank you! Amidst all this chaos I’m feeling very grateful to be able to spend this time home on Kauai and am feeling incredibly lucky to be with my family. My cats, the beach and rediscovering Sgt. Pepper’s for the 5,555,555th time are keeping me sane one day at a time. 

What has kept you busy during quarantine? 

Apart from finishing up my final year of uni from afar, I’ve been hanging with my cats, staying active, taking long walks, chilling with the fam, listening to and writing as much music as I possibly can! With so much free time I’m really realizing the importance of habit and routine in my creative world, really helps keep a consistent flow going, I’ve been trying to stay on that! 

Has quarantine affected your songwriting in any way? 

The experience of being in quarantine and coming home to Kauai from England has put me in a very “twilight zone” state haha! It’s always trippy for me to change environments so abruptly, it’s a reminder to me of how small and weird the world actually is! With everything going on it’s felt very surreal to be at home on our farm where I grew up, didn’t expect to get so much home time so soon! Coming back home has been very evocative for me and has greatly inspired my songwriting, it always fills me with emotion coming from Liverpool (which is still the “big city” for me) back to my hometown of Kilauea on Kauai which is quite a drastic change of scenery. There is always a melancholic nostalgia that comes with visiting home after doing my own thing out in the “real world” for a while. Coming home I’m faced with the reality that I’m in the “real world” everywhere I go haha! I’ve been writing a bit on that idea. Production wise, making music at home always inspires me to get extra creative with my little guerrilla recording set up! I have a stripped down drum kit I use with some make shift gear, been using my boots as mic stands ahah! I enjoy the challenge of not having many options in the studio, helps me really focus on performance instead of post production and inspires an analogue recording approach in this digital world, it’s a process I love. 

Have you been focused more or less on music? 

I’ve been very aware of the pressure I sometimes put on myself to create in this limbo state with more down time than ever! I’m working on finding the balance between making music a priority (which it pretty much always is) but also enjoying the rest of the downtime with my family at home which I really cherish and has been rare these days. 

Have you discovered anything new about yourself or your music? 

I’ve been having fun with the concept that “inspiration is for amateurs” I think Picasso said that (pretentious quote insertion here). It’s a pretty heavy handed approach to creativity but it’s helped me observe my own relationship with the feeling of inspiration in music. With so much free time to create I’m faced with the empowering realization that I can make music even if I’m not necessarily feeling complete inspired, I’m having fun exploring and giving time to ideas that aren’t always driven by total inspiration but more by a creative routine and simply just being a bit more patient and free. 

At Home with... Sonia Stein - London, UK

@soniasteinmusic // Spotify // Apple Music 

Hi Sonia! How are you doing?

I’m doing really well actually, thank you :) getting int he groove of this whole quarantine thing and making it work for me.

What has kept you busy during quarantine?

I’ve been focusing a lot on my daily practice whether its mediation/breathwork/working out/journaling in the morning and then I try to focus on being creative, trying to write or just play the piano in the afternoon. I have been having lots of singing lessons over facetime as well which has been great.

Has quarantine affected your songwriting in any way?

This is actually the first time I have started writing while someone else is at home. I have usually been very shy and always wanted privacy x 100 but these new circumstances have called for me to have to get over myself and I have been able to which is a bit of a breakthrough for me really.

Have you been focused more or less on music?

More! But without overly forcing it either. It just happened, I even feel like listening to more music all the time.

Have you discovered anything new about yourself or your music?

I think I am discovering lots about myself, I am taking so much time to observe my behaviours and really practice changing the ones that aren’t serving me. I am actually really enjoying this to pause and recalibrate.

At Home With... Dead Nature - Liverpool, UK

@the_coconut_express // Spotify // Apple Music

Hi Tarek! How are you doing?

I’m good, all things considered. I think the days vary quite a lot, there’s such a mix of feelings from days where I am excited to work and do things, to days where there is a sense of guilt and sadness for others. I feel frustrated for frontline staff whenever I read the news, happy for bands creating and releasing quarantine creations, and worried for friends who have lost their jobs and fall through the net of the government schemes. It’s a daily mix, fluctuating depending on what distractions I open up that day.

What has kept you busy during quarantine?

I’ve been reading a lot of books. Trying to stay off the screens and attempting things i’ve been putting off in the past around my home. I have a bit of mixing on still for bands, and am writing music when it feels right, but trying not to force anything. Cooking has taken up a big part of my time, it’s therapeutic for me!

Has quarantine affected your songwriting or music producing in any way?

Before quarantine I was working on new material, so during lockdown i’ve been focusing on mixing that music to have something finished. I haven’t attempted writing too much new music because quarantine has affected my desire to create. I only sit down to write when it feels natural and works with how i’m feeling that day. It’s like everything right now, in total flux and up in the air, and my writing approach reflects and moves with that.

Have you been focused more or less on music?

I’ve been more focused on discovering new music, especially artists from previous generations. More than usual i’m watching tutorial videos and taking the time to learn how others work both as songwriters and producers. 

At Home With... Pillars - London, UK

@pillarsmusic // Spotify // Apple Music

Hi Katy! How are you doing?

Physically; tired, bloated from pizza leftovers! Mentally; being kind to myself, allowing trauma to be regurgitated with all of this new free time, but dealing with it pragmatically. 

What has kept you busy during quarantine?

Other than simply keeping myself alive and sane...working on my first release in 3 years! And my first independent release in 6 years!! It’ll be a 3 track EP totally written, performed and produced by yours truly. Proud Mama and baby coming through! 

Has quarantine affected your songwriting or music producing in any way?

Although I’m working on a release, the music was all recorded prior to quarantine. So I’m terms of actual music making, I’ve not been doing an awful lot. It’s been hard to reassure myself that it’s ok if I’m not making loads of music right now. I read a great blog post from Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files on this, and it really resonated with me. A global pandemic isn’t a reason to get creative. It’s a reason to look after yourself and those around you...and THEN get creative! We have all made rapid changes to our own version of normal, which the human brain can struggle to process. It’s understandable that our brains aren’t prioritising creativity right now. Thanks Nick Cave for helping with my self-reassurance! 

If so, how? Positively or negatively?

When I have been creative, I’ve tried to make it collaborative, making the most of virtual socialising. It’s really opened my eyes to how creativity benefits from constraints. We’ve had to adapt to make creativity possible which has brought about new ideas. I feel I’m paying more attention to what other artists are doing too - my socials feed has had a total transformation! We needed a bit of a shake up in a way. 

Have you been focused more or less on music?

I have a full time job managing sound engineers outside of my music career so since being furloughed, I’ve had so much more time to focus on my music. I love my job but I’ve really tried to make the most of my time away from it!

Have you discovered or learnt anything new about yourself? Or your music?

I’m not as extroverted as I thought I was, because I’m really enjoying my own company right now!! I’m also re-learning how to independently manage myself as an artist. Quarantine pushed me to take the plunge and go independent. This is the first time in 6 years that I haven’t had a manager. I recently terminated my publishing contract too! Each has its own story and both are for the best in many, many ways, but it’s kinda daunting. I’m having fun with it and feel totally in control of my music for the first time in a long while, but I miss being parented and having my ego massaged. It’s hard to do that stuff yourself!

At Home With.. Nocturnal Coast - Liverpool, UK

@nocturnalcoast // Spotify // Apple Music

Hey Guys, how’s it going?

All good considering the times. Trying to keep the optimism high! - David

Not too bad, it taken us time to adapt to video calls (some more than others), but we’re all about 40 in the head so what’s to be expected? - Joe

Yeah not bad thanks, you? Pretty slow times, I’ll have to use my emergency canoe sometime soon. - Luke

Not too bad, just pushing on like the rest of us. Completing my teaching course, which has been tough, and me and Luke grew beards for the NHS isolation challenge. - Alex

What has kept you busy during quarantine? 

I’ve been listening to a lot more music, to inspire me on the drumming end of things for the band. I’ve also been using my drum pad to keep up with practising and development. There’s a lot of albums I should have listened to before, but I’m glad I have now. - Alex

Has quarantine effected your way of songwriting, rehearsals or music producing in anyway?

It’s definitely made me more focused on a specific topic or conception, and direction of writing. I’ve been a lot more thoughtful with the music and lyrics, and tried not to just write about the usual. I’ve written a lot more. I’ve sent over all of my demos to the band who have got on with developing the tunes and adding what they think is needed; they understand my writing very well. - Luke

 If so, how? positively or negatively? 

Definitely positively, (other than being able to practise together) I’ve managed to make a lot of demos of a lot of new songs I’ve just written, created a concept around them and made them their own thing. I’ve also found the style and genre have changed drastically. - Luke

Have you guys been focused more or less on music?

I’ve been more focused on listening and developing. I’ve been watching documentaries to help get new ideas, along with new music. Ive even got into listening to the radio again which helps with finding new ideas and ways to make our music stand out. That’s helped a lot with the demos and songs Luke has been sending us so we can bring new ideas and sounds. - Joe

What are you all currently working on?

Well without giving too much away I can say we’re all being very productive, which as you can imagine, is slightly more difficult when you’re all separated! Luke has been sending loads of songs and ideas and I’ve been fleshing them out into demos. Suppose its the best we can do for the moment! - David

 What are the band plans once quarantine is over?

Practise Practise Practise! But really there’s so much of our act we will be working on that it’d be hard to sum up succinctly. Just expect something great! - David

At Home With... Rebekka Anstem - Liverpool, UK

@rebekkaanstem // Spotify // Apple Music

Hi Rebekka! How are you doing?

All things considered, I’m doing fairly well. Aiming to find the silver linings in having an overwhelming amount of time, and trying to fill my days with things that makes me feel good. 

What has kept you busy during quarantine?

I’ve been reading and writing a lot, practised yoga, painted a bit, watched the films that has been on my to-watch list for ages, and, like the rest of the population, I’ve embarked on a sourdough mission. 

Has quarantine affected your songwriting or music producing in any way?

Yes, but not in the way I anticipated. With all this time to think I’ve been forced to reflect on my reasons for making music in the first place, and I’ve slowly found my way back to my first love; folk music. My main focus has been on writing lyrics as I’ve found that a lot of ideas and thoughts have boiled to the surface these past weeks. 

(Also, a few weeks into lockdown I spilled tea on my laptop so as for producing....not so much). 

If so how, positively or negatively?

I’d say a bit of both. To be completely honest, I’ve had some doubts lately. To witness what has happened to the music industry, and the consequences that this will have on the industry moving forward, has definitely installed a doubt in me as to how one can create a living from creating music. However, this isn’t a solely negative experience, I just have to think new and re-evaluate a few things, personally and musically. 

Have you been focused more or less on music?

Less. I don’t know, at first it was all about trying to adjust to the situation, and Sara (my housemate, friend, and fellow musician), and I talked about the fact that this is not the time to put pressure on ourselves to be creative. It would be so typical to think that this is the time to, let’s say, write an album, but in my personal experience this has not been the time to do so. That being said, this approach has then had a reversed psychologic effect on me - I now find myself writing bits and bobs just for the sake of it, without thinking about it becoming a product. 

Have you discovered or learnt anything new about yourself? Or your music?

All of the above. Oh, and that I loooove DADFAD. 

At Home With... Sara Wolff - Liverpool, UK

@sarawolff // Spotify // Apple Music

Hi Sara! How are you doing?

I’m good, thanks! I’m finally settling into something that can resemble a routine.

What has kept you busy during quarantine? 

Most of all I’m trying to do as many nice things as possible. There’s nothing we can do about this situation, so we might as well enjoy it. I’m enjoying that spring is here, that my tomato and lettuce sprouts are growing and that there’s sun in my courtyard. 

Writing! (I’ve got a book where I write down everything I think about, with no pressure for it to be smart or beautiful). I try to get some thoughts down every day, mostly so I can look back at this past month (months???) and see what I’ve been up to. That’s what I enjoy the most about journalling - being able to look back at what I felt a year ago and see that, “hey, that wasn’t so bad after all”, or “that lead to something great in the end”.

Has quarantine effected your songwriting or music producing in anyway?
If so, how? positively or negatively?

It definitely has. On one hand, it’s given me a lot more time to work on music. I’m in the finishing stages of my first EP, so I’ve been recording a lot of vocals in a pillow-castle-vocal-booth a the end of my bed. Of course, at times it can be a bit frustrating to do all of my work in my bedroom with so little space and so many things. But the songs are finally coming together and it’s so exciting!
On the other hand, there’s definitely a pressure to “make the most out of quarantine”. It is easy to feel like I have to be really efficient and write an entire new album or maybe a bloody symphony. Because of this I am trying to just make music for the fun of it. We’re talking silly autotune songs, hip hop beats or classical piano things - anything goes!

I have also started a “songwriting circle” project with two of my friends, where we all start to produce a song for an hour, and then pass it on in the circle, building on top of what the previous person has done. So after three hours you have co-written three songs! It was a really successful experiment - it’s been a really good exercise in co-writing, and in letting go of your idea and leaving it at the mercy of someone else’s ears. You never know what it’s going to end up sounding like. 

Have you been focused more or less on music?

More, I don’t have a daytime job anymore, so you could say I’m a full time musician now (unpaid or not!).

Have you discovered or learned anything new of yourself ? Or your music?

I have learned how easy it is to get carried away with everyday life and forget about listening to yourself. I have learned the importance of treating myself like I would treat a dear friend. I’ve learned that my housemate can cut my hair! Oh, and I’ve gotten really good at crochet-ing. 

At Home With... Red Rum Club

@redrumclub // Spotify // Apple Music

Hey guys, how’s it going?

Not too bad. Can't Complain. Trying to stay positive!

What has kept RRC busy during quarantine? / What are you all currently working on?

We have been taken this opportunity to get as fit as possible mostly. We're currently on a Nike Running Club league table trying to out do eachother.

Other than that alot of writing for album 3!

Has quarantine effected your way of songwriting, rehearsals or music producing in anyway?

Rehearsals have been in isolation to a click track which makes a change.

Songwriting has increased massively as we dont have much else to do. I'm trying really hard not to write about being in lockdown as it gets me down. There has been a lot of 'gettimg drunk in summertime songs' i suppose thats me positively thinking haha.

Have you guys been focused more or less on music?

Definitely more! We're in a fortunate situation as were lining up the release of our second album so that has kept us busy! Other than this the songwriting has increased hugely. 

We're also tryning to be creative and think of ways to stay relevant and active without being able to play live.

What are the band plans once the quarantine days are over? 

We plan to get weird drunk and we can't wait to get back to tourimg and playing live!

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