HOMEWORK #6: JEHNNY BETH - CRASH Magazine
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HOMEWORK #6: JEHNNY BETH

By Alice Butterlin

Most of the world has been in lockdown for over a month now due to the COVID-19 crisis. A moment frozen in time, when people are faced with solitude, grief or anxiety and see their daily lives shift for the better or the worse. In this time of extreme uncertainty, we can also take the time to reflect, create and enjoy the passing of these strange elastic days. We thought it would be interesting to ask musicians around the globe how their creative process has changed during the quarantine and if it has been an inspiring or rather daunting experience… with a quick snapshot of themselves in lockdown. You might remember Jehnny Beth from the band Savages, an all-female rock project where she was the front woman for more than six years, touring the world with infectious heavy tracks. She’s since gone solo with a first album To Love Is To Live, due to be released on June 12th, collaborating with a plethora of talented artists like PJ Harvey, The XX, Julian Casablancas or Anna Calvi. Discover how she is spending her days during the lockdown.

How has your daily life changed since lockdown began?

As is the case for many musicians, lockdown came just when I was supposed to go on tour, so I have to reassess almost every day and it is still uncertain as to whether I can get back to work this year, especially in the United States where the situation is becoming even more critical. Apart from that, the time I spend at home isn’t much different from when I’m in working, writing or composing music on my own. I’m generally more of a loner. Of course, what we are living through now is forced on us, so it’s more painful. But social isolation will protect the most vulnerable, and that’s the most important thing. It’s totally necessary.

Have you changed the way you create?

In a way, yes. I live with Johnny Hostile and both of us are always doing creative work either together or separately. We inspire each other by constantly looking for new media to use. Right now we are filming a lot of things and experimenting with images. The apartment looks more like a studio than a residence! Johnny has started a new series of podcasts, and I’ve resumed my daily diary entries…

Have you realized anything during this time?

Yes, I realized that wearing thongs at home makes me feel more sane, so I do it every day!

Are you worried?

Yes, like everyone else, there is a certain anxiety that sets in due to the immobility. I self-care by doing four hours of online boxing a week and taking CBD in the evening before going to sleep.

Do you feel more inspired or paralyzed by the lockdown?

Both. At first, I was more paralyzed, but now I feel more creative. Some days are better than others, just like with everything else.

Have you started or returned to any activities that you do not normally have time to do?

I’ve reconnected with my family and now I talk with them much more regularly and intimately. It’s a real joy.

What lessons do you think you will learn from this shutdown?

A certain humility and sense of gratitude for my health and the health of the people I love, the kindness of my neighbors, the benevolence of passers-by… I will never forget what Paris is like without cars: the air coming in through my window is incredibly pure and I’ve enjoyed my neighborhood very much since the beginning of lockdown. Let’s hope it lasts!

What do you think life after lockdown will be like?

Unfortunately I don’t believe in a better world after this. I think the crisis will only reinforce inequality and it’s the most vulnerable who will suffer most… But how can we end on a positive note? Oh yeah, maybe we’ll stop kissing each other in France? After twelve years of living in London I could never get used to it again…

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