Musicians Staying Creative in the Midst of a Pandemic

Published: Oct. 16, 2020

Staying creative while being stuck in your house for months is a huge obstacle for many musicians. Going outside and enjoying the company of your friends, or the warm embrace of nature is the recipe for creativity. 

These past few months have stripped every one of their freedom to have those experiences, leaving musicians to fend for themselves in a time where there is not much to lean on for a creative spark. 

Drew Portalatin (right) and El Padilla (left) rehearsing guitar parts before pressing record. Photo by Ricky Sharp.

Drew Portalatin found himself a new safe space to work and record during quarantine. Located off Edgewood Boulevard, Portalatin was able to compile enough money from his previous job at a coffee shop to finally start renting out his own studio. 

Portalatin knew he would not have the opportunity to play shows and go on tour, so he shifted all his energy into recording himself and other local bands he has become acquainted with. 

His band, Intervention, recently finished their second full-length album during quarantine. They can’t wait to be able to perform the new songs live. 

“Finishing up a song and not being able to test it in front of a live audience is definitely super hard, but I am hopeful things will return to normal soon,” said Portalatin.

Many local musicians are facing similar situations because of the pandemic. Suddenly, they were not able to find work due to social distancing guidelines.

Remi Lemaire from the local hip-hop collective, COMPUTER FOOD, is a producer and lyricist. He has become more popular due to his experimental writing and innate ability to find the perfect sample. 

Lemaire has also had a tough time finding inspiration for his upcoming instrumentals and songs as a result of the quarantine. 

He had to find new ways to stay on top of his creativity. 

Unfortunately, Lemaire’s first tour opportunity fell through, and he was not able to perform for the Hieroglyphics – one of his biggest inspirations. They were set to come to Jacksonville for a show before the pandemic. 

With nothing to do other than sit around and make beats, Lemaire found himself working on songs that he abandoned before the pandemic, adding new layers and verses to songs he plans to release very soon. 

Along with rehashing many of his old beats and songs that he left behind, Lemaire has started dabbling with making his own stop-motion videos. 

Lemaire felt it was unsafe to go out and shoot his own music video during the height of the pandemic, so he spent most of his time learning to shoot stop-motion videos from his garage.

Using his iPad, which he attached to a picture frame, Lemaire created a two-minute stop-motion video for his upcoming album. It will be released next spring. 

Scene from Remi Lemaire’s stop motion video. Photo by Ricky Sharp.

“When you have this much time on your hands, why not try something new?,” said Lemaire. 

This is something we can all learn from during this time.