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 Maryland’s Sharptooth as Lauren Kashan (vocals), Keith Higgins (guitar), Lance Donati (guitar), Peter Bruno (bass), and Matt Hague (drums) as they’ve shared how they remain in good spirits during this time.
What have you been doing to pass time during Quarantine?
Keith: Writing music, drawing, lots of video games, lots of walks/exercise
Lance: When I’m not pretending to be a rockstar, I’m a technician for a communications company that has contracts and installations with all forms of government, hospitals, and other EMS services. So I actually have been fortunate to be out and working this entire time. Having to take the precautions to avoid getting sick was stressful at first, but once you kinda get the hang of it, it’s been a lot easier. It’s also nice knowing I can contribute in any way to assist in making this problem better at all. Seeing the improvements first hand is also interesting. Other than that, I’m spending a lot of time writing for the next album. I started a goofy joke hardcore band that’s a joke to be fun I’m stoked for. Riding my bike a TON around local parks. (avoiding human activity of course) Been playing a lot of PC games and watching documentaries on current world affairs as much as I can. VICE has a lot of good ones right on youtube.
Lauren: I’m currently taking a series of certification courses in Python (a coding language) to kickstart a career shift into programming. I love it so far; writing code and then watching someone interact with your program or hardware is so rewarding and fun. I’ve also got two weekly Dungeons & Dragons campaigns with some friends via Roll 20 online. I’ve unofficially become the social coordinator for a few of my friend groups, so I’ve been organizing group video hangs with them every week. I’ve also been annoying the hell out of my Savannah Monitor, Vinnie (but since we’re home 24/7, he gets free run of the apartment all day, so he tolerates my doting).
Matt: Listening to a lot of podcasts, working out in my room, reading, and watching movies. I’m going to come out of this smart as hell and jacked as fuck.
Peter: Outside of trying to make some money where I can, I’ve been trying my best to use some of this time to do the things I never feel like I have the time for, or tend to feel guilty about indulging in otherwise. Mostly trying to watch a lot of movies I’ve missed out on over the years that I never feel like I’d have the time to check out in “normal life.”
Have you been listening to any music or have any playlists worth checking out?
Keith: King Dude, Oxbox, Lingua Ignota, Thursday, Deftones, oOoOO, Purity Ring
Lance: Always spinning Stike Anywhere, Nine Inch Nails, Mindset, trapped under ice, Hayley Williams new stuff is cool, Hold Close, Stevie Wonder as of late. I’m pretty excited for the new Ghost Inside. A lot of Ska, that’s always been a way for me to keep my head up. The dude at Skatune Network has an excellent playlist.
Matt: Guapdad4000 is my new favorite artist. The new Purity Ring album is incredible. Emmure rules.
Peter: I’ve actually been listening to a lot of live sets recently, perhaps unconsciously longing for those days to return sometime. There are lots of great band DVDs, from bands like The Chariot, Every Time I Die, Botch, Converge, etc., and even some band documentaries like, “Anvil: The Story of Anvil.” Outside of live stuff, I’ve been listening to Nine Inch Nails’ new album, “Ghosts V: Together” and Russian Circles’ “Blood Year” a ton. That new Run The Jewels video for “Ooh la la” is pretty tight too.
A lot of people have been spending this time cooking including making their own bread, what food have you been prepping during this time?
Keith: I usually do a lot of cooking and have actually been doing less during quarantine bc ingredients are harder to get.
Lance: My girlfriend Candace and I have made a few meals…well, I do the small simple stuff while she actually cooks. Been making a lot of Italian. Whatever that’s got garlic and makes our breath smell bad we enjoy it. I miss Keith’s cooking a ton, honestly. They are very good. Lauren makes a MEAN curry soup. It nearly killed Matt and I. It was very good.
Lauren: Cooking has always been a major creative outlet for me, so now is no different for me in that regard, just with some ingredient limitations. Biggest hits lately have been my Paneer Korma and basmati rice, a smoked black bean stew (ran out of smoked paprika, so I’m making the broth reduction using lapsang souchong tea, which is super smoky), and chewy peanut butter cookies. My boyfriend’s culinary magnum opus of quarantine has been cooking rice + mayo + Cholula chili lime sauce. So like half our meals are carefully crafted works of art, and the other half are… that. It’s shockingly bizarrely great, and low-key one of my new comfort foods.
Matt: Being vegan right now fucking sucks. But I’ve been drinking mad coffee with oat milk and it’s the nicest part of my day.
Peter: Lots of shortages around here, so I’ve been making a lot of homemade popcorn at night lol. Otherwise, nothing too exciting.
In terms of entertainment, what movies, TV shows, books, or games have been keeping you busy?
Keith: Video Games: Killing Floor 2, Overwatch, MTG Arena, Pokémon TCGO TV: Altered Carbon, The Haunting of Hill House Movies: Resident Evil franchise & Lars Von Trier movies Books: RA Salvatore’s Drizzt books
Lance: I’ve been watching a lot of Narcos and documentaries. I always watch the X-Files.
Doom Eternal was pretty epic, the soundtrack on that is bonkers. Playing coop Halo with Candace with Killing Floor 2 with Keith is pretty fun.
Lauren: For movies, Moulin Rouge and Les Miserables, which are two of my all time faves. We don’t do TV or Netflix, but my boyfriend and I are heavily invested in a web series called Critical Role, where you literally watch a bunch of professional voice actors play D&D; we watch that nightly. Both of us are big into video games, so we’ve been playing a ton of Divinity: Original Sin II and Pokemon Sword and Shield together. Also, Jackbox games like Quiplash are awesome for video chat parties, highly recommend that for your next social video chat.
Matt: I’ve been rewatching the Sopranos because it’s the best tv show ever made. I’ve been trying to watch a lot of fun or goofy horror films like Dr. Giggles and Dead Alive to keep me from losing my mind.
Peter: I’ve been trying to use this time to catch up on things I’ve missed out on over the years, or never seem to be able to find time for. In terms of TV shows, I’ve watched through all of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and I’m currently making my way through Tim Heidecker’s absurd “On Cinema At The Cinema.” For movies, probably too many to list, but the ones that have stuck out the most to me so far have been: Synecdoche New York, Network, Wendy and Lucy, Dead Presidents, Paterson, The Look of Silence, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Books I’ve been rotating: Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte by Karl Marx, Necropolitics by Achille Mbembe, How to Do Things with Words by J.L. Austen, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Friere, and Against the Web by Michael Brooks. I’m not a huge gamer, but I play a lot of Magic The Gathering on Arena. I also went back and re-vamped some of my settlements in Fallout 4, along with creating a new MyCareer file in NBA 2K20 so I can dunk on people. Otherwise, I keep pretty occupied with podcasts: Citations Needed, The Michael Brooks Show, The Discourse, Chapo Trap House, Blowback, Rev Left Radio, Against Everyone with Conner Habib, The Empire Files, Intercepted, Economic Update, The Dig, and the wonderful boys in Stick To Your Guns have started one called Against Them All!
What advice do you have for your fans in isolation during this time?
Keith: Reach out and talk to people in whatever form you can. If you have a pet, spend lots of time with it. If you have a creative hobby try and find a way to pursue it during the down time.
Lance: Listen to what doctors are saying. Doctors, as in trained professionals who understand the in and outs of a pandemic. Try and take every news article you see with a grain of salt (for your mental health). Keep it calm and manage your funds as best you can. We’re headed into a strange time that we’re going to feel the effects of for the next few years in all honesty. Communicating with family, friends and checking in on important people in your life is good for your mental health. Also take the time and be as productive as you can. Looking into training, online schooling, and even small investments if you can afford it for yourself is smart. We got a lot of time on our hands, we’re smart creatures. So utilizing the internet and information we have at our fingertips is more important than ever.
Lauren: My boyfriend and I took this extremely seriously, so we straight up did not leave the house at all for the first 30 days (not even for groceries). We’ve started relaxing some of that lately, and have been taking walks and having coffee outside every morning in our coordinating How To Train Your Dragon onesies. I think the people driving by get a laugh out of it, which makes me happy. A few days ago, we drove to a friend’s house and had a car parade around the block with all of our friends. It was the first time we’d seen anyone else in person in 40+ days, and that was the most “myself” I’ve felt in 6 weeks. I’m very grateful to be quarantined with the biggest cog in my support system machine, but if you are not, finding ways to stay connected to those people is crucial. So, outdoor time, socially-distanced in-person hangs with friends for the extroverts out there, and regular video chats with a therapist are my big recommendations. Intense anger, depression and insomnia are quite typical for people in isolation for 10+ days, so if you’re dealing with those, like I am, please be compassionate and patient with yourself. These are extremely unnatural conditions; and our brains and bodies are just coping the best they can.
Matt: FaceTime, zoom, and phone calls are your best friend right now. We finally have the technology to still be able to see people face to face and it really helps with the loneliness.
Peter: I think this answer is sorta two-fold, if not multi-layered. On the personal level, I think it’s important to sort of “feed your soul” if at all possible, by finding ways that you can stay connected to other humans, whether that’s through art in sharing someone else’s experience of the world with them and seeing something through their eyes, or by doing a video call with some friends. If you’d like to use this time to be productive, go for it. But if you want to use this time as a sort of break from the world, that’s also valid. This crisis is profoundly non-linear in that way. However, I also think it’s important for people to look around at the world right now and recognize how much power everyday working people have to change things. While a lot of us may (rightly) feel atomized and powerless in the face of such a crisis, where those in power have done almost nothing to alleviate the hardships for most of us, and instead, have only used this pandemic as a way to enrich themselves and their own interests, this crisis has also revealed that it is all of us who make the world function, not them. It’s important to keep that in mind while we’re all in isolation. Whenever this comes to an end, we’re going to need to keep that energy sustained if we’re going to make this world a more just place.
Today (14th), Sharptooth has announced their new album, Transitional Forms, will be released on July 10th via Pure Noise Records. Pre order the album here and check out the video for the first single, “Say Nothing (In the Absence of Content)” below: