When the pandemic canceled the tour that the artists KOJI, Full On Mone't, Potty Mouth, Nervus, and Solstice Rey were supposed to embark on together, they did what many of us did when faced with our first isolation: They started a weekly Zoom call.
Unlike most of our early pandemic Zooms, which likely fizzled out somewhere around the second or third lockdown, these artists used their newfound digital reality to create a supportive community and then a collaborative album.
Each of the featured artists identifies as queer, trans, non-binary, or agender, and the album was always intended to be an act of support for LGBTQ+ communities. The idea for the album was born when the group decided they wanted to fundraise for top surgery for Full On Mone't. When they reached their fundraising goal, they began raising funds for the Central PA LGBT Center, and have continued to fundraise for vulnerable LGBTQ+ youth while working to challenge the systemic oppression that QTBIPOC folks face in particular.
From start to finish, the album is rooted in care and solidarity, deeply inspired by the collective spirit of mutual aid that has been one of the few points of redemption in a brutal year.
It's also distinctly of the moment. When the pandemic disrupted artists' lifestyles, many artists — particularly those who had been immersed in the hectic world of constant touring — found themselves lost without a livelihood, but many also began exploring new forms of art, community, and support. Forced to test the limits of digital collaboration, some instinctively reached out to other creative people and to communities.
The creators of Sunday, Someday on Zoom
"When pandemic and uprising hit, our instinct was to turn toward one another, to create together, and to support one another," says KOJI. "Whether we're doing mutual aid, community care, or we're out at a protest, we had each other to make sense of the world and what was going on. This project is just an extension of the care that we give to each other and our communities."
The weekly Zoom calls turned into spaces for "collectively imagining the world we want to live in," KOJI added.
Koji on Audiotree Live (Full Session) www.youtube.com
The album itself is a clear tribute to community and collaboration, and a rebuke to an industry that often glorifies certain artists based on superficial traits and numbers, promoting individualist success above all else.
To create this album, each artist offered something else to others, demonstrating the fundamental tenets of a sharing economy. Members of Nervus played guitar and drums on Solstice Rey's tracks; Em Foster and KOJI mixed and mastered the whole thing; the art was designed by Potty Mouth's Abby Weems. The artists' relationships and support for each other defined the album.
The album itself is a tightly wound burst of folk-punk pain, love, and joy. Nervus's tracks are exuberant tributes to isolation and communal love.
Nervus - Love Thy Neighbour (Official Music Almost Video) www.youtube.com
Potty Mouth's songs are full of pandemic ennui, smoking and endless cups of coffee, with faint strips of dreamy guitar coming through like the sunsets many of us spent so much time watching on surreal nights.
Full On Mone't's dreamy ukulele ballad "Masc 4 Masc" is a meditation on gender and rebirth; "Coming down from my post-apocalyptic haze," it begins, a mantra for mid-stage-pandemic life. "Swimming Lessons" expresses a fear of loss, exploring the broken-open feeling that can only come from loving and caring for another.
Solstice Rey's grittier, heavier tracks offer trippy transportation into the fears and debilitating doubts that plagued many of us this year — but always, there's a silver lining of hope amidst the apocalyptic imagery.
KOJI's tracks set their sights on a better world. Their titles, "To Carry (On and On)" and "Burn It Down (Grow a Garden)" speak for themselves, and the exuberant pop rock-influenced, post-emo tracks are full of hope. The revolutionary ideas behind the lyric "I believe there exists for you and me, a whole new reality" is a summary of the spirit of the album as a whole.
"This record is a celebration of living in community," added KOJI. "It's a project that asks, 'what world is possible when everyone's needs are met?'" It's a tempting and generative question, one that is constantly challenged by capitalism but resisted by organizers, chosen families, and queer utopian movements and collectives such as this one.
These ideas are rooted in the rich history of social movements, something the project was expressly inspired by. "Everyone involved wants to acknowledge the history of organizing and social movements, and how creative communities can go about the work of care and mutual aid," reads the album's press release. "To manifest liberated futures, they must be imagined. This group has provided space for collective imagination, with this record as a result."
Stream Sunday, Someday here: