Metal Inside(r) Home Quarantine is Metal Insider’s new column during this time of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked artists five questions on what’s been keeping them busy ranging from their favorite movies, food they’ve been eating, music they’ve been listening to and more. We caught up with Nicholas Shellenberger (Underer, Cleric) as he’s been spending this time fighting the cause of racial and social justice.
What have you been doing to pass time during Quarantine?
Looking at my phone way too much and watching tons of trash tv, but more recently getting involved with some volunteering/community support and trying my best to fight for the cause of racial and social justice (total beta shit, in other words).This is also the first summer that I got some vegetables planted in my backyard as well so I go outside and stare at them and try to will them to survive and produce food. Also finally managed to put the Underer record out, which may have lived forever on my hard drive if not for the growing certainty of impending global collapse, which is apparently a powerful motivator. I also have a lovely girlfriend and ten pets that keep me company.
Have you been listening to any music or have any playlists worth checking out?
I’m currently and have been listening to the new Pyrrhon a lot, which is fucking awesome and frighteningly appropriate for the surreal and chaotic nature of 2020. I also found a rad producer from Philly called Kilamanzego and have been snatching up and listening to all of her stuff pretty consistently, as well as a bunch of other Black artists that I had previously overlooked or neglected to support (Sudan Archives, Bearcat, Moor Mother, Forbes Graham, Tyshawn Sorey to name a few). I canceled my Spotify account and I’ve never been that hip to the playlist scene, but those are all rad artists with plenty of music to eat up.
A lot of people have been spending this time cooking including making their own bread, what food have you been prepping during this time?
Honestly, I used to cook and enjoy cooking a lot, but my kitchen is really small and cluttered and so I have to keep it really simple or I’ll have a meltdown. My laziest go-to is usually some kind of frozen veggie burger or fake chicken patty and tots/fries with maybe another vegetable if I have something around, but I also just recently discovered the magic of instant mashed potatoes (they’re surprisingly edible). I also got a bunch of fresh Jersey corn and roasted it in the oven, husk and all, which was delicious, and I made a pretty good veggie risotto not long ago. One of my other easy favorites is roasted vegetables (zucchini and tomatoes are ideal) with pasta and toasted panko crumbs, so I’m hoping to get a good enough haul from the garden to do a bunch of that soon.
In terms of entertainment, what movies, TV shows, books, or games have been keeping you busy?
I got way back into videogames at the beginning of quarantine and finally finished a game called Prey that fucking rules like no other, and then went crazy on the new Final Fantasy VII, but got too frustrated by the Sephiroth battle to finish. One of these days I’ll get his ass. As far as tv that I’m proud to admit I watched, my girlfriend and I watched all of The Sopranos recently (she had never seen it), and it was even better and quite a bit sillier than I remember. Gandolfini is friggin perfect and I’m bummed that we’ll never get to see him do anything else, although his son is apparently playing young Tony in an upcoming prequel to the show, so I’m looking forward to that. I also recently watched 13th and When They See Us, which are both heartbreakingly good, and depressingly eye-opening for a white kid from the suburbs that could’ve easily ended up in prison dozens of times in my youth if I just happened to be Black or brown or poor.
What advice do you have for your fans in isolation during this time?
Oof, that’s a tough question, because honestly I have no idea what I’m doing. I guess my best advice would be to stay in touch with people you love and/or look for communities of like-minded people to try to battle the physical isolation we’re all feeling. The internet can be a truly horrendous place to spend time, but there are also avenues now that I wish I had, especially when I was younger, for connecting to people that you might never have met otherwise, which can be really supportive and uplifting in ways that traditional communities based on where you live or whatever just aren’t able to be. Aside from and related to that, I’d say just try to be helpful to people however you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. A lot of us are really struggling and it’s becoming more and more clear to everyone that our governments and most authority figures don’t give a fuck about us, so it’s up to us to keep us safe. Also, smoke it if you get it and get outside when you can. Love y’all.