Self-isolation and social distancing have forced musical groups -- choirs, orchestras and other ensembles -- to temporarily disband or use unsatisfactory videoconferencing to rehearse because of the pandemic. But one Connecticut band whose members share a house in Woodbridge decided to self-isolate together, and they are making the most of it.
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Eggy is a four-piece jam band from Woodbridge. The members have been living together for about a year, and the hard work has paid off. In their four years together, they’ve developed quite a following -- a recent livestream video on Facebook, for example, had over 11,000 views.
Before the pandemic hit, the band was riding high, according to Eggy keyboardist Dani Battat.
“We had just wrapped up our winter tour, and that took us down to Florida for the first time,” said Battat. “We made our way back up, we did a few nights in Georgia and North Carolina, we played in Boston, and the Brooklyn Bowl. So, we had just come off that run, which got us in front of some of the largest crowds that we’ve ever gotten to play.”
Of course, in early March that all changed. Battat said the reality of the situation became crystal clear to the band en route to a gig in Buffalo.
“[That] was the day that COVID hit,” explained Battat, “the day they canceled the NBA, hockey, baseball, you know the day that everything seemed to come to a halt. I remember every time I’d wake up from a nap in the van another thing was getting canceled.”
That included their gig at the Buffalo Iron Works that night. As they sat in the van on the long trip back to Woodbridge they talked about what they were going to do since live performances, including their upcoming 30-date spring tour, were put on hold.
“I think for us it was like, ‘OK, we can actually keep this ball rolling,’ so it was really taking a look in the mirror and realizing we have a rare opportunity that other people don’t have right now,” said Eggy guitarist Jake Brownstein. “So, I think more than anything it was like we’re definitely going to do something.”
Eggy has kept itself busy in isolation -- livestreaming performances, working on new material, releasing a new single, and even making time to shoot a new video. Brownstein said the day-to-day operations of pandemic Eggy are not much different from regular Eggy, but without the pressure of gigs, the band can take care of the little things the members usually don’t have time for.
“Sometimes you’ve got a gig and you really don’t want to open up this pedal and turn all these knobs and get lost in this thing because you don’t always feel like you have the time to just go and explore for the sake of exploration,” said Brownstein. “Now we’ve been getting on the ground and turning knobs and opening up the keyboards and cleaning them out, I mean we’ve just been searching for the sound in every essence and trying to take advantage of the time we have.”
Battat said that like everyone else, the events of the last few weeks and months have weighed heavily on the band at times. They’ve talked about it with their fans in their livestreams, and they’ve launched “Illuminate,” a project whose mission, in their words, is to “help shed light and bring about positive change in the places that need it most.”
“It was something that we had been thinking about for a long time, we felt this is the most appropriate time and we are really inspired to launch it, where we can use our platform, use our name as a means of connecting our fans, our resources towards those causes that are greater and bigger than ourselves,” said Battat.
Eggy recently raised $700 for racial justice organizations Equal Justice Initiative, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Campaign Zero, and Reclaim the Block. The band has plans to sell special Eggy merchandise in the coming weeks, with 10% of the proceeds going to those organizations.