QUARANTINED: Mateo Vosganian

QUARANTINED: Mateo Vosganian

Next up in our QUARANTINED interview series is Mateo Vosganian of Wild Adriatic. We checked in to see how he has been spending his time while staying home and social distancing. Prior to the spread of COVID-19, Wild Adriatic was coming off a streak of shows including a two night run supporting Twiddle along with preparing for a heavy-hitting year. See what Mateo has to say about everything below:

How was your two night run with Twiddle over Valentine’s Day?
Absolutely fabulous! We had the extreme pleasure of playing two iconic Northeast venues. We had never played the State Theatre in Portland before and found that to be a really beautiful room with an extremely high energy crowd. Personally, it was extra cool to be able to share the stage with Strange Machines and Twiddle. I’ve known Ryan Clausen from Strange Machines for years now and we always got along so well when he worked at Nectars back in the day. It was nice to get the chance to hang with him just as musicians and I loved watching him & the band crush it at both shows. Twiddle has been a part of my life for some time now, I’ll never forget the day Jeff Morad from WEQX called me up to come to Manchester VT and play drums with all of Twiddle minus Brook and the addition of the young & extremely talented Jaden Carlson on guitar. I always love to play with new musicians that are more talented than I am so it was an extremely inspiring night of music and I’ve seen Twiddle live many times over the past 6-7 years. It’s been truly fun to watch their rise through the music scene and to get to share a little bit of that in Albany and Portland was magical.

What was it like to play your hometown venue, The Palace Theatre?
The Palace has such heavy vibes for us. Our first big show as Wild A we supported Flogging Molly there and it was less than half full. We played at super early in the night for 25-30 minutes and to be able to come back 7 years later as direct support for Twiddle was awesome. I couldn’t help but think about how both of those shows benchmarked different times in our bands’ existence. Going back to the Palace as our fully formed 6 piece band felt triumphant to us.

Wild Adriatic - Palace Theatre - Albany, NY 2-14-2020 watermarked (15 of 33).jpg

How are things going since the impact of COVID-19?
Rough, honestly! This is now the longest we’ve gone without seeing each other & playing music together in almost a decade. It’s the right thing to do but feels so odd to not be able to work on the thing we’ve been building together. And to not see my brothers… just weird all around. So I’ve been doing what I can to stay sane locked in my apartment.

What things have you been doing to keep yourself busy?
Cooking A LOT! A good friend & old bandmate of mine, Jared Bashant, generously let me borrow his Roland electronic drum-kit and I’ve set it up in our living room with a little recording setup. So I’ve been diving into different projects – a few new Wild A songs we’re working on for a QuarantinEP, some post-punk tracks with Drug Church guitarist Cory Galusha, a tune with Karl Bertrand from Lets Be Leonard, a tune with Walt Blythe from Vintage Pistol, and more. It’s literally the only thing keeping me from going insane or drinking too much. I also got a side gig editing video for a friend making his way into the voiceover world so that’s been fun too! And listening to TONS of music!

How has COVID-19’s impact on the live music/entertainment industry effected you?
The final impact remains to be seen but we’ve lost about 30% of our yearly income already and there are still cancellations happening thru July/August. A lot of our summer touring is community-based concert series and various sponsor-supported events. What we’ve heard from a few of those so far is that there will not be the public funding come summertime and various sponsors are pulling out of events due to the financial uncertainty that all this has caused.

Do you have any advice for musicians struggling?
Call your friends. Early and often. Now is the time to get creative. Learn to cook. Start that podcast. Write that concept album. Write a song. Learn a new style of music. Immerse yourself in it. For me, it’s been New Orleans horn & funk music. Historically that hasn’t been something I’ve worked hard at and it’s been refreshing to find all these bands I love and listen to hours & hours of new grooves. It gets in your blood after a certain point!

Wild Adriatic - State Theatre - Portland, ME 2-15-2020 watermarked (15 of 21).jpg

What was coming up for you in the coming months prior to the impact of COVID-19?
We were about to embark on some spring touring, we were working on a new record that’s been postponed since we’re unable to get to the studio together now. Summer Camp in Illinois was supposed to happen in May but now it’s moved to August.

What things do you miss the most with having to social distance?
Hugging my friends. Most folks who know me know how much of a hugger I am. It’s been tough not to see & communicate with people in my normal ways. I miss being able to work & having a general sense of purpose, but I am so grateful for the health & wellbeing of most of my friends & family. Also very grateful for the assistance of a few arts organizations in this extremely difficult financial time.

What music has been getting you through these stressful times?
New Orleans funk! Cha Wa, Dr John, the Meters, Professor Longhair, Trombone Shorty, and more. The new Phish album came at the right time… I needed that studio version of “Everything’s Right” in my life right about now! Also playing drums along to Turkuaz songs makes me happy. Michelangelo Carruba beats make the world go round.

When going out and about, what precautions are you taking with social distancing?
Trying to wipe the shit out of everything with disinfectant, washing my hands constantly like a Silverchair video from the early 00s, staying 6feet from people as best as possible, and generally avoiding leaving my house whenever possible.

What are you most looking forward to once we can all live our lives again?
HUGS! And playing music with my pals again. Getting back to work will be a welcome return to whatever weird level of normalcy we’ve built for our lives by being touring musicians. Hugging Frankie and making him feel weird. Smoking with Doug. Seeing my best friend & tour manager J. Lee on the reg again. Things like this.

How can fans support the band during this time?
We put out two new EPs last year, stream ’em or buy ’em! We’re also doing weekly live acoustic Facebook shows where there are donation options. But honestly – everyone’s asking for help right now and I don’t want people to be overwhelmed. Everyone in the world is going through their own struggle right now and we just want to put some joy back into the world in the only way we know how.

Have you picked up any new hobbies since the corona pandemic?
Cooking is not necessarily a new hobby for me but having the time to really delve into recipes and try different things has been super fun. Every week I’ll make a big batch of a certain kind of food I love and share some with a friend or family member (leaving it on their porch). This week’s project was Chicken Shawarma with Toum (garlic sauce), Hummus, Tahini (another sauce), Israeli Salad, and Pita. Next week I’m looking at an Eggplant Parm or Stuffed Shells recipe. Cooking is a lot like music for me because no matter how well I think I make a meal, I always see the opportunity for improvement on future dishes. Also interrupting my fiancee’s FaceTime sessions with her friends by showing up as a Multipede. That’s a new hobby!


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