LIFE IN LOCKDOWN with Evan Charles
The following interview was written by Kate Blaising. Following the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown, Kate photographed each musician socially distanced within their homes to capture and discuss the changes to their lives, music, and creative spirit. Photo Cred: @kablaising Full unedited interviews posted on the Project ATX6 website.
An interview with Evan Charles of Altamesa
When we were in Thailand, were you worried about the virus, did you know what it was, or how it would affect you physically?
EC: Throughout most of the trip I more or less managed to not worry about the virus very much, simply because we knew even less than the very little we know about it now. I still tried to exercise caution, but I don’t think anyone knew what that meant except for wearing face masks and washing hands. It’s not like we even had the option to socially distance if we had even known the phrase back in January/February. By the last couple days in Japan I started to get a little squirmy about it, simply because, like it or not, we had to go to airports and get in airplanes in order to get back home.
Do you think the virus is real?
How has quarantine impacted your creative process?
EC: Quarantine allowed me to sit at a desk for hours and tie up some creative loose ends that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to dedicate so much time to. In essence, I was able to simply wait long enough for answers to reveal themselves with enough mildly diligent chipping away. I’ve made much more in-depth home demos than I otherwise would have.
Did you write new music? If yes, what was the fuel behind that fire… what kept you going?
EC: Yes, I wrote a handful of new songs, three totally from scratch and three that I had about halfway finished. The first of these was inspired by my feelings of loss after the passing of John Prine. It’s an imagining of how someone who’s passed to the other side might reassure you if you could hear them. What fueled the fire...my process has always been that if I get an idea, I want to finish it and I work on it when there’s time. If I don’t have an idea, I don’t worry about it, because inevitably something will pop up if you remain engaged with your external and internal environments and processes.
Did you make any impulse purchases?
EC: PlayStation 1.
If you could call your past self… lets say when we were in Thailand, what would you tell yourself?
EC: You are going to eat two of the best meals of your life.
Who were you quarantined with? What was that like?
EC: Quarantined with my fiancé Michelle. Pretty smooth overall, learned how to cook a much greater variety of dishes than I otherwise would have!
Was life much different when quarantined? What was new, or what comforted you during quarantine?
EC: Life was definitely different in that I wasn’t working.... I mean, completely different really. That’s weird if never leaving your house isn’t different than normal....
Did you watch other Austin musician live streams? Did you perform any live streams? Or why did you decide not to livestream? If you did perform live streams, what was it like to connect with others? If you didn’t livestream, how do you see yourself in the future performing under these circumstances?
EC: I did watch a few, thought not regularly by any means. I did a weekly livestream myself as well. The connection was definitely real—more so in the beginning maybe. It felt exhilarating, almost as much as a live solo set.
How do you find inspiration when life..just..stops..?
EC: Feed your mind, and wait. When something comes across your view, pursue it.
How would you like to find closure with our adventure with Project ATX6?
EC: Taking one last trip and playing one last festival would certainly be a treat. It’s not up to me to say whether too great a passage of time alters the original intent of the project too much. Beyond that, I would love to see the movie in a room full of people, if that becomes possible within a feasible time frame.
Interview by Kate Blaising