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LIVE IN LOCKDOWN with Leslie Sisson

Following the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown, Kate Blaising photographed and interviewed 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.

LIFE IN LOCKDOWN with Leslie Sisson | By Kate Blaising

When we were in Thailand, were you worried about the virus, did you know what it was, or how it would affect you physically?

LS: Jonathan Horstmann mentioned the virus in an ATX6 rehearsal the week before we left for Thailand. Most of us decided to get masks right before we left. It was so easy to order them on Amazon back then. I had no idea what the virus was nor how it would affect someone. 

Do you think the virus is real?

LS: I did think the virus was real, especially after researching it. I felt pretty disconnected from it though and figured it would end up being like the SARS epidemic in the early 2000’s. I figured wrong.

How has quarantine impacted your creative process? 

LS: The quarantine has impacted my creative process in different ways than usual. I’ve actually written less than I expected I might, but I’ve been productive and creative in other ways, like dusting off my old cameras to shoot photos and videos.

Did you write new music? If yes, what was the fuel behind that fire… what kept you going? If no, what was holding you back? 

LS: I’ve written some new music in quarantine. It started mostly in the early days of lockdown about the current situation, isolation, etc. Mostly I’ve been resetting my personal life, taking care of things I put aside because I was too busy balancing music and work.

Did you make any impulse purchases?

LS: I haven’t made any impulse purchases because I’m watching my funds bring totally unemployed right now. I did try to buy a UV sanitizer online that never arrived. I think it was refunded. I need to check back on that.

If you could call your past self… lets say when we were in Thailand, what would you tell yourself?

LS: Future Leslie would tell past Leslie to still go to Thailand when we went, wear masks, sanitize, and to not be afraid. I was already nervous about going to begin with. If the trip had been booked any later, future me might tell past me to reconsider.

Who were you quarantined with? What was that like?

LS: I’m quarantined with my pups. I have a few Chihuahuas plus a foster dog. It’s no different than what I’m used to. I’m a homebody anyways and I have great neighbors I see everyday, more than I used to, so I don’t feel alone or very isolated.

Was life much different when quarantined? What was new, or what comforted you during quarantine?

LS: Life at home isn’t much different than pre-quarantine for me, minus not playing shows or working. I have had some anxiety about my work situation outside of music and how I’ll pay the bills going forward so I’m looking into going back to school to become a therapist. My therapist is busier than ever, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time anyways, especially if I can someday incorporate music and art into my therapy practice. Grad school isn’t cheap, takes a few years, and takes time to build a career, but if I can find the funding, I’ll go for it. Who knows, maybe I can be a SIMS therapist someday.

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?

LS: Since I’m on the socials mostly for my music projects, this has been a nice break from the screens. I have watched a few live streams, though. I think one of the first ones I saw was Mike St. Clair’s actually. I’ve done a few live streams too, but only when folks have asked me because my computer/mic/camera situation at home is way out dated. I did do a live stream BBQ once to test out all my devices. It was silly but fun to connect with folks from all around. I think if I’d been playing while watching people chime in, I’d probably talk more than play. I’m looking into the right gear to make it sound and look right if I do decide to live stream on my own or with my band. I have ADD so that’s sidetracked at the moment to shooting silly short quarantine videos, but I’m sure it’ll all come together, especially the longer this goes. I’m cool with however long that’ll be, btw, especially if it helps flatten the curve. Save lives from my couch? I was made for this.

How do you find inspiration when life..just..stops..

LS: I can find inspiration in anything, honestly. It’s something I was taught at a young age by my family, to entertain myself while alone, to see beauty in everything, and to always find the silver lining. I’m deeply saddened by all the loss this pandemic has caused. I had no idea it’d get this bad, and hopefully not worse, knock on wood. That’s what has been the hardest to wrap my head around. It’s in this darkness that I find inspiration too. Darkness and music go hand in hand for me. I’m hoping there are many silver linings in all of this on many levels. It’ll be interesting to look back down the road and see how this has changed us and the world, hopefully for the better, double knock on wood.

How would you like to find closure with our adventure with Project ATX6?

LS: I’m not sure what would be the best closure to this Project ATX6 group. It just feels like the pause button has been pushed, so we’re in a holding pattern. Does it have to close right away? Could it just pick back up where we left off and close once things normalize? Even if it’s months or years from now. It’s not like a new Project ATX6 group will be starting anytime soon, right? I don’t see any need to rush things and don’t foresee any closure anytime soon, which is totally fine by me. It might be cool to see how this group grows, changes, progresses while on hold during this break, and then comes back together when it’s safe, perhaps to celebrate coming out of this disaster, closing on a positive note.

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