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Quarantine Interviews: Regas-McDonald

Talking to musicians and artists about how they’re dealing (or not dealing) with quarantine.  Today we’ll hear from Regas-McDonald, cousins from Bloomington, IN who made a record entitled Toward Voids and Vistas (which which we reviewed).

But wait…there’s more! As Sarah Massesa of Double Negative puts it:

Northeast Ohio’s Regas-McDonald is the project of two cousins, Sam Regas and Matt McDonald. The ambitious duo are schoolteachers by day, and experimental art rockers by night. Their new record, Toward Void & Vistas, is a jarring reminder to our younger selves that teachers absolutely have intriguing lives outside of the classroom.

TVAV is out now on Grumpy Records


How are you dealing with quarantine?

Boy, these past few weeks have been something, huh? I had to check my calendar to confirm it’s only been weeks, as my perception of time continues to slip beyond meaningful confines. Like many of you, after dealing with the initial shock and worry for our collective health and welfare, my mind turned to another thought, “what am I going to do?” A question that pervades every day and for which every day requires a new answer.

Going to concerts, bars, museums, even just shooting the shit with my friends, simple and regular pleasures are wiped off the board, but in their place is time and energy that would otherwise have been exhausted. If there’s ever been a time to expend energy towards personal productivity it’s now. Practicing has become an easy and enjoyable way to kill hours: revisiting songs that inspired me to play from early on, learning new songs, improving technique.

Once playing live is a possibility again I want to emerge from this pandemic at the height of my musical prowess. I’m also finding time for activities that I’ve thrown to the wayside previously because of exhaustion from work and social obligations; too many books had sat on my shelf unread, too often I skipped a workout, too many long distance friends whom I’d neglected to contact.

I’m hoping to use my free hours, which are many, to introspect and improve in these regards. This is however the perfect time to be as unproductive as possible and embrace doing jack shit. I’ll watch dumb YouTube videos until 4 am, I’ll fiddle on social media for hours, I’ll stare up into my ceiling and think of nothing. I’m hoping to find a sustainable balance between self care and selfishness as long as this lasts. Take care of your physical and mental health.”

-Matt McDonald (of Regas-McDonald)


What advice would you give to other musicians/artists dealing with quarantine?

“Hmmm a piece of advice. To state the obvious, it’s tough! If other musicians are anything like us, they would probably agree that playing (and seeing) live music is such a source of lifeblood that it really is a colossal drag when you have to exist without it–economically, but also spiritually.

That said, I think it’s a great chance to hone your chops as a student of music. There are always those “classics” that I have embarrassingly never gotten around to fully exploring until recently (e.g., T Rex’s Electric Warrior; Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, Pulp’s Different Class). In my opinion, it’s encouraging to realize there’s so much phenomenally great shit that I’ve probably only fractionally encountered.

Also, for as absolutely vital as live music is, I think being a good creator/writer/arranger requires a respect for solitude. There’s no way around it. Now is as good a time as any to really hole up in front of a piano or guitar in the living room and shoot for the moon. I think when this whole global moment finally relents, there’s going to be an explosion of pent-up creative ambition waiting to be unleashed. Thinking about that moment excites me.”

-Sam Regas (of Regas-McDonald)

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