Long Island punk rockers Black Suit Youth have recently released their new album, The World is Almost Over. We caught up with the group and asked them to list five things they learned recording new music during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The most important lesson is that the disease is in control. We can make all of the plans we want, but if someone in the periphery of one of us tests positive, we’re all locked at home for a month so we’ve got to roll with the punches and be patient. We learned a lot about perseverance and gratitude. Just being able to all rehearse again in the same room was a huge victory.
We got many hard lessons in the perils of zoom rehearsals. We learned that we all have different Internet speeds and that latency is our enemy! We would be out of sync by nanoseconds and it would all be off, so it was very difficult trying to collaborate in real time on that platform. It was easier just to email around tracks.
We became adept at remote recording. We began recording the album in Atlanta in early February. We are from New York, so all the plans to fly back down in March or April and complete the vocals and some instrumental garnishing had to be scrapped. Our bassist built a studio in his basement and we finished the missing tracks there. We’d never enter the same room at the same time. Juan would go down to the control room and close the door, then I’d enter the house, go into the live room, and spray some disinfectant. It was very isolating. Our producer would relay back criticisms of the takes, we’d do our best to adhere to his ideas and send him updates often. It was a long process.
Amidst the chaos there was opportunity. There’s never been a point in history where Times Square is empty on a beautiful summer Sunday. For the lead single “The World is Almost Over,” my wife and I shot footage of me wandering around a deserted and boarded up midtown, Times Square, and north Brooklyn. I sang the song in front of the New Years ball with barely a soul around. That could never happen without a huge film budget and a thousand permits in any other circumstance. We got to incorporate a strange moment in world history into our art.
We really learned a lot about what we thought was “life and death” versus what’s really life and death. We’ve been greatly humbled by this entire experience. We’ve always had a diy punk ethos about things, but everyone is guilty of sweating some small stuff every now and then or over inflating the importance of some event that really doesn’t matter. Now we really have a greater appreciation for family, health, and each other and things that once irritated us, we just brush off with a smile now.