With live shows deemed unsafe amid the coronavirus pandemic, ASU student bands Divided Minds and The Ground Folds were dealt heavy blows this summer. However, they have found ways to remain creative and active.
While the bands are unsure of whether they’ll ever be able to play music live again, they've remained optimistic.
“It’s fun having time to work on music, but that’s just a single part of being a musician,” said Sean Collins, singer of Divided Minds and a junior studying computer information systems. “You can’t do any of the other stuff, you can’t film music videos, play shows or network. It’s really good for writing but nothing else.”
While staying indoors and isolated has not been ideal, Collins said it has given him and the band "more time to put effort into the music and explore what we want to create."
Divided Minds released their first full-length album titled "Guilty Pleasure" on Aug. 21, a compilation of songs the band has released over the past three years.
“We’ve been sitting on this stuff for so long that it’s such a relief to have it all out now and give it a proper release,” Collins said. “We just got inspired by having fun in making music which led us to the sound off of that album.”
Collins said the album veers from the band's previous pop-punk and hardcore work into a more pop sound.
“We just discovered the good in pop music and were able to emulate that in our music,” Collins said.
Divided Minds isn't the only student band to shake up its sound.
Jake Hatcher, a senior studying secondary education, is the sole member of the new alternative rock band The Ground Folds, a project he formed during quarantine after not being able to jam with his former band Eight of Nine.
Hatcher said Eight of Nine was looking to record music this past summer and even had a five-song extended play project prepared. But due to social distancing, he said those plans fell apart, and he needed to "figure out what to do with the heavy parts and how they translate to soul music," resulting in the solo project.
Hatcher decided to re-imagine a song he had recorded for his former band, titled "Jensen," a song he said is a picture of what the new project will sound like.
"That was really what started The Ground Folds; it forced me to think of things totally different than I had before,” Hatcher said. “I just wanted to start with a new name, because a lot of the old songs from Eight of Nine were not representative of who I am now.”
While creating new music has served as a way for Hatcher to stay productive, he said he misses playing live music, saying all of the acts he was in before were "super high-energy" and leaned on the feedback of the crowd.
“That’s how you get more people engaged, that’s how you get more people to check you out, and that’s always been my favorite part of the entire thing,” Hatcher said.
Although in-person shows are off the table for the foreseeable future, some artists are finding ways to reach a live audience in a safer manner.
“I feel like things are going to be like the NBA with doing TV and live stream,” Divided Minds guitarist Josh Peters said.
While there is no guarantee that concerts will resume in the near future, both bands are hopeful to return to the stage.
“I hope it comes back sooner rather (than) later, but obviously not until it’s safe to do so, because packing over 100 people into a trunk space is not ideal right now,” Hatcher said.