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Party of One: Social Animals

At a time where staying connected is more important than ever, House of Solo has launched ‘Party of One’, a series providing intimate insight into how your favourite artists are dealing with isolation and what we can expect from them during lockdown. 

In an almost spooky prediction of things to come, Social Animals, a four piece band from Minnesota, have just released the video for their track ‘Get Over It’, featuring the band playing to an empty room and people sitting doing nothing, just waiting. We caught up with guitarist Dedric to discuss the actual inspiration for the song, how the band are coping and how the Midwest weather prepared them for long periods of staying indoors. 

So, how are you all doing? Are you all coping quite similarly with lockdown? 

Everyone is getting pretty bored at this point, but that’s the worst of it. Thankfully, we are all healthy as well as our families.

Are you guys isolating together? If not, who has the best lockdown set up? 

We are all in separate areas. Right now I (Dedric) am living in Nashville, so I think I have the best setup with the weather at least. It snowed today in Minnesota. 

So, you guys are from Duluth in the Midwest, which, from what I read, can be quite isolating at the best of times. Any chance this upbringing prepared you for lockdown better than your, say LA, counterparts?

That’s a good observation, and I think it definitely prepared us for isolation. The whole winter is isolation. You hate going outside, so you just don’t. I remember skipping whole weeks of class in college because I didn’t want to shovel my car out.

So, your first overseas tour got cut short due to COVID-19, but you were able to play half of it? Tell me about a highlight from the tour.

Yes, we made it through half of it, and it was wonderful. For this band, typically the highlights are the parts that get fucked up. They are easier to laugh at later. Most vividly I remember trying to get all our gear from the airport, through about 5 stops and 4 transfers on the London underground at 5pm. It was madness and every single person hated us. 

So, it seems that you guys have some pretty crazy stories from touring, one being your car catching fire? Tell me a little bit more about what touring means to you as a band and how it feels to have to stay put right now. 

Touring is everything for us. When we first started, we spent nearly every day on the road. Not like staying-in-hotels-and-eating-at-restaurants kind of “on the road”, more like Wal-Mart-parking lots-eating-free-gas-station-saltine-crackers kind of “on the road.” I remember we had made Tony’s dad’s old sauna into a trailer for our gear, and the side of it started splitting off while we were driving through the Rockies. We didn’t have any tools (or know how to use any), so we grabbed big rocks from the side of the road and pounded the boards back in like cavemen. You create a special bond together when you live like that for years. The fact that things were finally starting to get better makes it slightly more painful being off tour. 

So last month you released your EP Get Over It / Best Years / Bad Things, which has the themes of distance and separation running through it. Has the current situation caused you to reflect further on these themes and how you dealt with them in the EP? 

Yes, it really has. I am dealing with them in a healthier way, at least for now. I thought I might be done writing about those themes, but it seems like I might be just getting started.

Gus Black, the director for the video of your track ‘Get Over It’, says of the idea behind the video that: “The concept now seems fitting for the times we’re in… a band playing in an empty room while people sit around doing nothing, just waiting.” This, like the themes in your EP outlined above, all seem to eerily foreshadow COVID-19. Could you tell me a little bit about the actual inspiration?

I love Gus! Yes I have heard that a lot lately, especially with ‘Bad Things’. The inspiration stemmed from putting all my eggs in one basket, and then being forced to face the reality that it wasn’t going as well as I thought it would. We were always away from everyone we loved, and though the band was building, it was imperceptibly slow. I’d never sat down and thought about what would happen if this didn’t work out. I don’t know how to do anything else. Tony and I have this conversation a lot. We always end up saying something like, “well, we can’t quit, because nothing else makes sense. If we cared about money, we wouldn’t be talking to each other right now.” The band has agreed that without alcohol/drugs, the first few years would have been nearly impossible. You need to numb yourself when you’re playing to a restaurant at 5pm and people are holding their hands over their ears. This slid into insanity like it always does, and those themes are woven into the record. Thankfully we realized that if we didn’t slow down, these last few years would have been impossible too.

How has it been making music in quarantine?

Luckily, I have been writing without trying almost every day since we got back to the U.S. This has done wonders for my sanity. Right now the songs are very personal. I try very hard to stick to writing about things I know, and this is all I know right now. The songs are getting positive reviews from the guys, which is what matters most to me.

What music have you guys been listening to during quarantine?

Sad stuff. The National. The Menzingers. Phoebe Bridgers. Listening to happy songs makes me feel like I am wearing a mask, and I’ve had enough of those right now.

What figures have been inspiring you in this period, either in the music industry or more generally?

I am inspired by how moments like these bring out the best in people. It’s amazing to watch everyone hold each other up. I am equally inspired by how stupid people can be. And how ignorant and misinformed and selfish they can be.

And finally, what have you guys got coming up as a band? Either a future isolation plan or a solid plan you’ve made for once this is all over? 

We have some tours in the works, and we are doing a Saturday Sessions live stream every Saturday on our Youtube. We will be back out as soon as it is safe and humanly possible.

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