On today’s episode of Quarantine Sessions, we talk to Miss Christine about adapting to life as a musician under social distancing. We reached Christine by phone at her home studio.
Quarantine Sessions 2: Miss Christine
Mike Weber: Welcome back to 319 Creates. I’m your host Mike Weber. On today’s episode of Quarantine Sessions, we talk to Miss Christine about adapting to life as a musician under social distancing. We reached Christine by phone at her home studio.
Miss Christine, welcome to 319 Creates.
Christine Moad: Thank you so much for having me.
Mike Weber: So how are you holding up in the quarantine?
Christine Moad: Oh, well, that is quite a question. It varies day by day. I’ve definitely been keeping myself busy. The first week I had three live stream concerts. And just kind of dove right into that experience. And I’m a workaholic so I was using that to distract myself from these feelings that I’m feeling because my whole tour has been canceled.
But this week I’m not doing a livestream concert and just really focusing more on my mental health and meditating and tapping into these feelings because they’re real and I shouldn’t try to hide them.
How are you coping with this?
Mike Weber: Well, I’m basically doing the same thing, trying to keep myself busy as we can see here, taking on a new project.
Why don’t we talk about the live stream? That’s something that I don’t think you’ve done a whole lot in the past. Obviously that’s one of the few options that we have available at this point. But why don’t you talk to me a little bit about diving into that and learning how to do it and any obstacles you’ve ran into.
Christine Moad: Yeah, so it’s been a new experience. There’s this program called OBS that I’ve been using with the help of my tech guy, and we’ve been just live streaming. We were on KHOI Radio in Ames, and that live stream ended up being broadcast live on the radio. So that was a new experience.
Then I put together the Musicians 4 Bernie. That’s a group that I founded. Our first live stream concert, and we had six different bands from all over the country play and we had them live streaming in. So there’s definitely a big tech learning curve to this and I am grateful that I have someone that can help me with it. And, yeah, it’s been a new experience.
It’s amazing to be able to perform to anyone. I’ve had friends in Alabama send me videos of them singing along to my songs, friends in Tennessee, around the country. But it’s just doesn’t feel the same as being in a live concert with an audience and that vibe and picking up on that atmosphere. And that’s something that I’m really missing and that I get a lot out of. And you never know how much you miss it until you can’t do it. So that’s kind of where I’m at with all of that.
Mike Weber: Yeah, I mean, I definitely feel you there. As you know, as well as anybody, I’m usually out at shows a couple times a week, and now… This is the longest that I’ve gone without going to a show probably in five years and it’s only getting worse.
But I find it interesting that we are – as artists and creatives – actively trying to find other ways that we can still do the things that we want to do in this situation that we’re living through. And seeing all these bands quickly adapting and putting on these digital concerts, I think is very endearing.
I think it’s really great to see that we’re all trying to work together and make the best of of a bad situation. Have you started looking into other ways that you can kind of, I don’t want to use the word monopolize, but, you know, try and make the best out of what we’re dealing with right now?
Christine Moad: Not so much. I guess… I think this last week I really proved to myself that live streaming is a viable option and something that after this passes that I’ll probably continue to do in some capacity just because it’s been very successful. And I’ve been able to make money doing it, and I’ve been really grateful for that because of all of my gig cancellations.
I think I’ve had 16 gigs canceled since this has all been going on. But yeah, there’s so many creative outlets and I’m so grateful for the internet during this time. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about you and your photography and, just, you know, for you to do the same thing of taking photographs of people playing, but in the live stream format, would… I just was imagining your photo albums of these live stream concerts and how that would just be such a different vibe. But also it’d be really cool to just document this time in some way. Obviously it’s just a totally different experience.
Mike Weber: So I’ll give you a little anecdote. So we were watching the first live stream that you did. I guess that would be like last week at this point. And we were sitting watching, and you have that one song that you tend to flip off the audience for. I was waiting for you to do that. I had the screen capture set up. I’m like, “I’m going to catch this and I’m going to post this”, but then you didn’t do it. But yeah, that’s actually an interesting idea that I didn’t even think about. You know, I can’t photograph a live stream because I’m not there, but I could document it in another way.
I can get screen captures of the stream and they’re not me taking a photo, but then we start getting into that whole other discussion of like “What is art?” Am I a photographer because I have a camera in my hand or am I a photographer because I am capturing moments? So that’s an interesting thought and I’ve been trying to – talking about me personally and utilizing 319 Creates right now, I think is a very good outlet for me because right now I can’t really… I’m going to start doing more like city landscape stuff in the interim. But the biggest body of work that I have is live music. And that’s not happening right now. Anything else with photographing people just isn’t happening. So there’s very little that I’m able to do. Especially with my audience who follows me for music stuff, like trying to figure out a way to keep them engaged. Short of just digging through the archive. Nicole and I have been talking about, you know, maybe I should try live streaming a photo editing session or do a gallery critique where I talk about a band and photos that I’ve done of them over the years. But it’s really interesting trying to figure out ways to kind of adapt to this time and not being able to conduct ourselves as we normally would. And all of this just brings on more and more stress.
So I’ll come back to to that. Have you found new ways of adjusting and coping to the situation?
Christine Moad: Well, this kind of ties into what I was going to respond to what you just said. I think that it really just shows how we’re all in this together and just how much this affects every single person right now in some capacity. And thinking about you and your photography and taking photographs is often of people, whether it’s at a live concert or wherever that may be, and because people can’t really get together right now that totally changes your line of work. It changes my line work. So many different things, like the ripple effect of this is huge. And so coping with that stress and these feelings is a lot. I’m the type of person that I feel a lot of just how other people are feeling. I have a lot of compassion for the world and wanting people to just speak their truths and whatnot. So this is really hard for me because it’s at a point where – because I just want to help everybody as much as I can – I’m really feeling the weight of the world in some ways. But at the same time, I need to have that compassion back towards myself. And so I think I’m going to learn more about how to be better to myself because, you know, that’s really all I’m going to be able to do during this time because I can’t get together when groups of people or play a live show and pick up on that energy of the crowd or the people that I meet at it.
So it’s very challenging, but it gives me comfort to know that we’re all in this together and we’re all feeling the effects of it. And once we come out of this, we will be stronger and can all relate in some way to this time. That is, I think, a really powerful thing.
Mike Weber: Yeah, it’s interesting. Nicole and I were actually talking about this yesterday. Talking about the lasting effects of this time and two things came up that we were thinking about is, you know, my son’s nine and a half now, and it occurred to me, this is going to be the biggest, like the first societal event in his memory. Like the way that I think about the death of Princess Diana or 9/11, that’s going to be the first real marker in his life. 20 years down the road he’s going to be talking about, like, “I remember when the Coronavirus pandemic happened.” Well hopefully, as long as we still have a planet in 20 years.
Christine Moad: Yeah.
Mike Weber: But you get my point. This is an interesting situation. When we have an event that is so widespread and impacts so many different lives, that it becomes something… It is a point. It goes beyond just like, this is “history”, but this is a point of history. This is an event that lasted. Years and decades – again, if we’re still here centuries down the road – we will likely point back. As we’re sitting here, most people who paid attention to history could probably tell you, “Oh yeah, I at least know what the Spanish Flu was.” And for us to be going through that type of period again. I think the interesting thing, with the way the world is now, is we’re kind of packing together the Spanish Flu and parts of the Great Recession and the Great Depression all into one big ugly ball that we’re all kind of dealing with at the same time.
And, the other part of that is that as we figure out how to navigate and traverse this moment of history, we’re all making these adjustments to our day to day lives. Especially us as creatives, doing live streams or like me going back to doing more with the podcast. But the interesting thing that I find is how much of what we’re experiencing right now is going to carry over beyond this point.
You know, right now I’m really missing my friends and we’ve started doing Google Hangouts with them on a regular basis. It’s an interesting thing because if you asked me like two or three months ago, would you ever consider sitting down in front of a computer or a TV or an iPad and doing a video chat with your friends, I would been like, “I’d rather go see them.” The thought of just interacting with your friends in that capacity has never appealed to me and has always seemed kind of silly. Short of having friends that are across the country – I mean Nicole and I have friends in Chicago and we text them, but we really only interact with them when we go visit.
I feel like this situation has kind of broken down that tech barrier. I think going out the other side of this, I feel like I’m going to be more likely to. You know,it’s winter – we don’t want to drive. Well, why don’t we just hop on a Google Hangout and do a Netflix Party or something.
I feel like I’m going to be far more likely to entertain that as an idea to still interact in a more direct capacity with my friends than I would have before this situation.
Christine Moad: Yeah, totally. And Netflix Party is awesome. I’ve been doing a lot of that as well. The big thing for me with group chats is… So I worked for the Bernie campaign and we had a lot of group video calls with like 15 to sometimes 60 people in them. And you would like mute your microphone, obviously, so there wasn’t feedback. There’s just people not talking over each other all the time. In January when I worked for the campaign that was kind of my first introduction to video chat and using it in a bigger capacity. And I thought that was really cool for having these meetings and these different things like that. So it’s interesting now having that in this pandemic setting. The big thing for me is I’m an extrovert. I love parties. The cool thing about parties is you get to go off in the corner and talk to someone for a little while, but then you get to jump back into the group of people and then, you know, find someone else and you chat with them for a bit or whatever.
And in the group video chat environment, that is just not something that can be recreated. At all. I mean unless you did your own private video chat, just the two of you or something. So it’s interesting because I think I saw that Facebook Messenger, you can have up to 50 people in a video chat. And I learned that FaceTime has group chat. I do not have an iPhone, but I learned that recently. And you can have 32 people in one of those. And to me that sounds like… I don’t know what capacity you would use that in other than for like a business meeting or something. Because that is just a lot of people.
I love that we have the ability to use the internet to have this shared experience and we can connect in that way. But, you know, it just won’t be able to be a substitute for all things. And I think that’s how it’s supposed to be, but I’m just really missing those big social gatherings, I guess.
Mike Weber: Yeah, I definitely feel the same way. For me, it’s nice that we have this as an alternative. So like, I don’t feel like I’m completely disconnected from everything and everyone, but you’re right, there is a massive difference between hopping on a group video chat and being able to go over to somebody’s house. In the context of a house party and being able to hang out in the group and then move over here, move over there. But to me it’s better than nothing. And I’m hoping that this is broadening a lot of people’s ideas on how socializing can and should happen.
I’ve always felt that there’s a certain amount of us that – we make excuses for not being able to go out and see our friends. And there’s that line of, for whatever reason, I can’t get out of the house tonight to do this. And I feel like some of us put up barriers and that can socially isolate us from our friends. And if this situation teaches us that we don’t necessarily always have to be in the same room to socialize, I think that’s going to open up some roads for people that would otherwise feel more isolated. They now have an option that is more socially acceptable to still see and socialize with their friends.
Christine Moad: Totally.
Mike Weber: So I’m hoping that will be one of the, shall we say, lingering effects of this.
Christine Moad: Yeah, and one thing with that is some people that have been tuning into my live stream are some introverted folks that I know who haven’t come to my actual live show for a plethora of reasons, but probably because there’s a lot of people there.
So it’s been really cool to see the people that I’ve reached with my livestream that wouldn’t come to a live show necessarily, just because you know, they’re more introverted or have social anxiety or things like that. So that’s been a cool thing to see with that different medium of being able to perform my music.
I can reach people in that way and that’s something that I want to continue to do after this, just because I totally understand that going to a live show with people at a bar or wherever it may be is not everyone’s cup of tea. And I’m glad that this platform allows me to be more accommodating to those folks. So that’s been something that I’ve learned from this.
Mike Weber: Yeah. And I would like to see even more venues start doing, especially for like smaller shows, offering some type of live streaming option. Because I feel like there are a lot of people who are more socially introverted or even like on the anxiety spectrum that just… I have friends that will not go to shows with me full stop because they just have too much anxiety being around large groups of people. And then I tell them it’s a local music show, you’ll be fine because there’s nobody there. I think it’ll be nice to see more bands and more venues kind of adapt to giving this as an alternative.
And now that we’re kind of, you know, basically being forced to test out some of these concepts, I think we’re going to learn a lot, and I really hope it sticks around.
So we’re just about out of time and I’ve got one last question I’m going to pose to you. Once everything starts calming down and we go back to normal, what would you say is the number one thing that you want to do once society kind of resets?
Christine Moad: Whew. Wow. That’s a big question. So this has catapulted my whole life timeline, I guess. Because I was planning to move to New York City in June, so that’s going to be pushed back. The biggest thing for me is I just want to be able to travel. And what I love about touring is going to a city and before the show, walking around and people watching and observing what that is like. And I’m curious, once we get through all of that, what my people-watching when I’m on tour is going to be like. Will people be more friendly? Or how is this gonna change how we interact with people on a daily basis? Because I think, at least for me, it’s made it so whenever I’m in a coffee shop or something, it’s cool because you get to be around people, but you don’t really say much to them. But why hadn’t we been saying much to them? And now we’re all in this position where we can’t say things to other people or have that communal ability to get together. So I just can’t wait to travel and just observe how this affects society and my travels and the places that I’ve already been and see if it’s any different when I go back. And I’m looking forward to that. And I never thought I would get to this point. I mean, I’m sure none of us did, where a pandemic would be happening and it would halt our ability to do most of the things that we love to do. And just learning how to cope with that. It’s really powerful. There’s a lot that we can learn from this time.
One thing I just want to say is if anyone’s listening to this, don’t feel like you have to be productive or you have to create the next big thing or the next piece of art, because it’s okay to just take this time to exist. That’s something that I’ve been having to tell myself every day. The creativity and all that stuff will come. But it’s a matter of just making it through this – and we will, and we’ll persevere as a species together. So it’s cool in the sense that we all have effects or feel the effects of this, and we can all relate in some way to that. But it is not my favorite time of existing for sure.
Mike Weber: I think we can all get behind that. That’s wonderful. All right, Miss Christine, thank you for taking the time to speak with me here on 319 Creates and just keep taking care of yourself. I’m sure we’ll see each other soon.
Christine Moad: Thank you so much for having me.
Her music is streaming on Spotify and bandcamp. Her next live stream will be April 10th at 7:00 PM on her Facebook page. Miss Christine also founded Musicians 4 Bernie, which you can find more information about here.