For today’s Artists in Lockdown post, I had the pleasure of chatting with Ellis Fitzgerald, guitarist in Congé (previously known as Don Juan).
Have you managed to work on any musical projects during lockdown? What kind of things have you been doing?
In true Congé fashion, we were set to start recording a few days before lockdown happened, which just wasn’t safe for anyone. So we’ve all been working on writing some more soundtrack-esque pieces to accompany a set of visuals that we’re working on, it’s all DEEPLY PRETENTIOUS, I can assure you. But other than that, just making lots of horrible noises and upsetting the rest of my street.
Sorry to everyone who’s heard me make all my dodgy, out of tune, horrible guitar yelps for the past few weeks.
How do you find your inspiration and stay motivated?
I didn’t really pick up my guitar for a good few weeks, if I’m honest, it was only when moving back home that I managed to really sink into things musically, and not just sort out things like the concepts and visuals etc.
But when I’m usually struggling for inspiration or motivation, I try to change one aspect of what I’m doing, even if it’s just the sound, my set up, or even what I’m wearing when I play, it all helps to shake up a cycle that can be easy to get in to, and much harder to get out of. But if I’m not feeling it, then I just accept it, put the guitar down, and do something else, there’s no rush.
How else have you been keeping busy during lockdown?
Other than eating everything in sight, being incredibly cool and handsome, and binging Sabrina on Netflix, I took up gardening, started exercising everyday (this is under review, most likely to never be returned to, if I’m honest) and started an Instagram page for the outfits I was wearing. From day one I refused to let myself not get dressed and just chill in my jimjams, which is totally fine to do, but I knew it would just make me miserable, so I got progressively more ridiculously dressed as the weeks went on, I’d recommend it. But don’t grow a moustache, that was a terrible idea.
How has this situation impacted your mental health?
Thankfully my friends and I have all been checking in on each other, which has been great, I think a lot of people have really been brought closer together by this experience, there’s been a lot of love and support.
For a few people, myself included, time away from the daily grind has been beneficial, it’s really made me appreciate what matters and see just how worn down and miserable I was beforehand, I refuse to let things go back to how they were.
There are still off days, the news gets hard to take sometimes and I’ve had a few very restless nights, but on average, I think this has been a real opportunity to get out of the rut I was in before and assess what makes me happy. Which it turns out is not working and eating ramen all day, who knew!?
Thanks Ellis for giving us a look into your lockdown life! I cannot wait to be reunited with you, probably at Mothers’ Ruin, once this is all over.