A Day in the Life: Social Distancing with Ghosts of Sunset


John, vocalist: A global pandemic is definitely not one of those things you expect to impact your life, be it personally or artistically, but in early 2020, there we all were making it up as we went. Myself and Todd Long, my partner in Ghosts of Sunset, started making records in an era where you literally had to have everyone in a room to get a take because it all went down to two stereo tracks! Had we faced COVID-19 then, everything would’ve simply ground to a halt. As much as many people curse recording technology with screams of, “Tape only, live to tape only, no overdubs” etc., the pandemic taught us just how lucky we truly were for all the advances technology has made in our business.

So, as we watched our ability to tour and play live stop completely, we embraced technology and went on recording new music, performing via livestream and collaborating with artists all over the world. It kept us working, and God knows it kept us sane. File sharing, live events on social media, other digital interactions only served to reinforce what so many of us already knew, ART IS LIFE.

From the earliest days of the global lockdown when we saw citizens singing on their balconies to keep spirits high, to some truly behind-the-scenes live streaming where we saw the biggest artists in the world present their music in intimate stripped down settings, the COVID-19 pandemic shone the brightest of lights on the value and the indispensable role music and art play in uniting human beings.

For Ghosts of Sunset, writing, recording and collaborating, in addition to signing a record deal with Golden Robot Records (which was done completely via Zoom and email), brought much needed normalcy to a world that, at times, especially here in the United States, wobbled and felt like any minute it could collapse in on itself. On a daily basis we were exposed to the worst of the human race and the absolute best. It influenced and continues to influence our work and undoubtedly the work of others. No artist will ever create with the same mindset again. We know how quickly it can be taken away.

As we look to our future, and begin our first steps back out into the world, we now carry a newfound sense of purpose. The interaction between a band and its fans has always been an important one, but now those moments are even sweeter after we’ve been without them. Social media and other online outlets have closed the gap between artist and fan and created an even closer, more intimate relationship. We’ve now helped each other through one of the most difficult times in history.

You can lock us down, you can confine us to our individual homes, but the caged bird always sings. COVID-19 just proved to all of us what a beautiful, important song it is.

While practicing social distancing, listen to our song, "No Saints in the City":