On today’s episode of Quarantine Sessions, we check in with Iowa City musician, Jordan Sellergren. We reached Jordan at her home by phone.
Mike Weber: Welcome back to 319 Creates. I’m your host, Mike Weber. On today’s episode of Quarantine Sessions, we check in with Iowa City musician, Jordan Sellergren. We reached Jordan at her home by phone.
Jordan Sellergren, welcome to 319 Creates.
Jordan Sellergren: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Mike Weber: So how are you holding up in this quarantine?
Jordan Sellergren: Oh, I’m fine. I cannot complain.
I’ve certainly been making the most of it. My business is still moving ahead, but some of the non-essential tasks have been reduced. So I’ve basically got time off and I’m taking advantage of unemployment.
Mike Weber: That’s always a good thing. So you work for Little Village and you also have your own music project?
Jordan Sellergren: Correct. Yup.
Mike Weber: So why don’t you talk a little bit on the effects on both of those.
We’ll start with the music project first. Have you had to cancel? Did you have any shows coming up that you had to cancel? Are you looking at doing any live streams or anything that?
Jordan Sellergren: I don’t have any plans to do live streams.
Well, I had a Codfish Basement Stormer show on the 21st of March that was canceled. And she called it off a bit before things started getting crazy in the States and really before a lot of the closures started happening. But it was totally the right move. There’s no way it would’ve happened.
And then the next show I had scheduled is our album release, which is May 23rd. And I will tell you that I think that’s looking less likely, not necessarily because of the state of business openings and stuff, but because I think my record pressing is actually going to be delayed about a month because they’re a non-essential business in Ohio.
Mike Weber: That makes sense.
Jordan Sellergren: But you know, it’s really no big deal. I don’t make a majority of my income – at all – from music. It’s just kind of a labor of love for me. I know my bandmates – they do way, way more than I do, you know, teaching and performing. But my personal show cancellations are certainly not going to be my ruin.
Mike Weber: So then let’s talk a little bit about Little Village. I’m assuming you’re working pretty much entirely from home at this point, correct?
Jordan Sellergren: I am working from home and it’s fairly intermittent. Like I said, we’ve had to, well, basically we’ve ceased printing for the month of April.
And I’m a print designer. That’s what I do. I do the magazine. I do a few other publications that are also temporarily ceasing print. So I kind of took a furlough and have just been focusing on homesteading, I guess, in the meantime.
Mike Weber: Let’s talk about that. What kind of projects have you been trying to get done around the house?
Jordan Sellergren: I’m a landscaper/gardener, kind of a novice. We bought our house in 2018 and ever since – I’m walking around the yard right now, actually, if I sound at all out of breath. So ever since 2018 really, I have devoted a lot of energy into making our yard kind of like a sustainable paradise. We have some really nice wooded area in our yard. We don’t have a huge yard – we’ve got about a half acre. But, there’s just a lot of really awesome shit that grows – a lot of native woodland plants, we’ve got garlic ramps. And then there’s also a lot of landscaping projects that you constantly have to fine tune. So yeah, I’ve been plenty busy. The weather’s been good. I think that it’s very possible there will never be time like this again. So I’m taking advantage of it.
Mike Weber: Yeah. I think it’s really interesting seeing the ways that different people are utilizing the extra time that they have. This whole project of mine – 319 Creates – has been a backburner project for me personally. I’ve always been more focused on my photography. This has seemed like a really good opportunity to be able to do multiple interviews with different people, but all around the same topic.
Jordan Sellergren: For sure.
Mike Weber: And, having the time to do that is… Not only having time personally, but the fact that we collectively as a society have extra time right now.
Jordan Sellergren: Everything is on hold.
Mike Weber: Yeah. So I find it really interesting just seeing all the different ways that people are finding to utilize the time.
Jordan Sellergren: Yeah. And you know, I really thought I’d be working more on music, and I’m sure it’ll kind of come rushing back at some point. But, the first week that everything was shut down, I was definitely focused on music. I was playing guitar for hours a day, and putting up some recordings and stuff like that.
Then the weather got nice. And I honestly, maybe I play guitar for half hour a day, maybe, maybe, maybe. So yeah, it’s interesting. I mean, I have a lot of different interests. So my focus is kind of spread out.
And it’s really nice. I mean, you don’t get bored when you have a lot of different things to do.
Mike Weber: Yeah. And it’s nice for people, just having the time to do that. I know personally, I’m constantly looking at different things to do.
One of the things, aside from the podcast, that I have recently gotten into learning how to do… Not specifically because of the quarantine, but it just so happened that’s when I decided to do it. I’m learning how to screenprint.
Jordan Sellergren: Oh nice.
Mike Weber: I’ve had the time. Last week, I didn’t have any shoots going on. I didn’t have anything else in my world happening. You know, I’ve got most of the stuff in the garage… I think I’m going to try and build a printing press. And I did.
Jordan Sellergren: Awesome.
Mike Weber: And it’s been cool to have that type of extra time. But you know, I wish it was under better circumstances.
Jordan Sellergren: Well, we all do. You know, I think a lot of people who are in a position where we’re not essential workers. So we can just kind of take a break and accept the isolation, you know, home shelter for what it is and focus on other things that we normally wouldn’t have time for. But it’s basically like, when else do we have time to focus on this shit?
You know, I just don’t. I have to carve out moments of my life. I’m exhausted at the end of the day. I feel for people who are still busting their asses and going out in the world, sacrificing their safety. I dunno, I feel really lucky. That’s all I have to say.
Our kids are home. But they’re at an age where they’re not really demanding. They’re pretty self entertaining.
Mike Weber: Yeah. It’s interesting seeing how different people are just adapting to this period.
Jordan Sellergren: For sure.
Mike Weber: I’ve talked to other people who – not even just from the financial aspect of being furloughed or laid off or losing gig work – but just as people who are very extroverted are in dire straights right now. And I’m not gonna lie, I’m one of them.
Jordan Sellergren: I’m an extrovert, absolutely. But I totally appreciate the time. It’s nice to have – to be forced to go inward a bit. But yeah, I mean, I miss shows. I miss seeing my friends. I miss seeing music and I miss playing music for other people. I miss my band.
Mike Weber: As you’re processing through all this and enjoying the extra time, as you look forward to when this inevitably blows over and life resets back to normal – what do you think you’re looking forward to the most? Being able to go back out and do and experience?
Jordan Sellergren: Oh God. I don’t even know if I’ve thought that far ahead. I will say it’ll be really nice to get Little Villages back on stands. We have an awesome web team of journalists and editors, and you know, developers and social media people who are still busting their asses. But, the print magazine is my baby and this is the first time we’ve ever not printed. So getting that back to normal will be a relief, I think, for us. And I hope for the community. I think people may not miss it right now because they’re not leaving their houses. But, it’s odd. It’s odd for Iowa City and to some degree Cedar Rapids to not have our physical presence out there. So that, for sure.
Honestly, otherwise, playing shows. Obviously it’s just so fun and it’s such a great creative challenge, and personal challenge. It’s constantly challenging to get over your own fear of presenting your art and doing it well. Leaving at the end of the night and feeling like you didn’t suck. So having that opportunity to get back and kind of hone that again. I look forward to that.
Other than that, I’m fucking enjoying myself so I dunno. In a way I think it’ll be difficult to readjust to going back to normal life.
Mike Weber: Well, I’d say you’re doing pretty well.
Jordan, thank you for taking some time and talking with us today. I’d say take care of yourself, but I think you’re doing a pretty good job.
Jordan Sellergren: Yeah thank you. I’m doing alright. I’m mitigating all the garlic mustard in my yard right now as we speak. So I’m trying to do my part.
Thanks for having me.