Music in the age of coronavirus

The Prairie Joggers talk about debuting EP during these strange times

Cody Goertzen and Adam Hill are keeping busy while the world burns outside, attempting to make the most of this collective isolation.

“We’re doing okay,” Goertzen said. “We’ve got a nice space — we’ve got a decent sized house we’re renting here, with our jam space and everything here.”

“We’ve got some recording equipment here, so we’re also learning how to use [that]. We want to start recording our own music.”

The duo, who are planning to release their debut EP as the Prairie Joggers this summer, are trying to keep things running as planned in the midst of their quarantine.

“We’re kind of carrying forward with all our plans for releasing, and just kind of cancelling shows as they get closer to the date and seeing how everything plays out,” Hill said.

The Prairie Joggers had already postponed their debut once before. After releasing their first single, “Moments Happen,” in November, the duo ran into a problem with their planned second single, an eyebrow-raising Marilyn Manson-Sabrina Carpenter mashup that will likely never see the light of day.

“As we were registering it, we realized we couldn’t get it licensed,” Goertzen said, laughing.

Releasing a cover track comes with a minefield of copyright laws. Following this snafu, they decided to hold off on the EP’s release and recalibrate — they said now they just want to push through this latest, much scarier obstacle.

“We’ve already waited a long time, and we’re just going to go ahead and release it, and we’re just eager to put some music out there,” Goertzen said.

The as-yet-untitled EP is an overview of the duo’s folksy, eclectic sound, incorporating country, rock, roots and blues.

“There’s four songs on the EP, and we chose those four songs because they were all very individual,” Goertzen said.

“Adam and I have written a lot of songs together, and we’ve been writing and playing together for a long time, and for the first release for this band we wanted to kind of pull in the different genres and the different moods and styles that we touch on throughout all of our music.”

Their musical partnership began years ago, though it didn’t take off in earnest until they realized they’d both been writing songs individually.

“After Cody took a trip to Southeast Asia, he came back and had a handful of songs and I helped him finish a bunch of those and then everything took off from there,” Hill said.

“We’ve been writing like crazy since.”

They chose to record their debut with Winnipeg music mainstay Micah Erenberg, whose presence they credit with helping shape the EP’s identity.

“He’s got a very fun but dry sense of humour — he likes to keep things very light, but he also works really hard,” Goertzen said.

“His attitude and his playfulness and his energy and hard work really shows in our EP.”

That they can’t currently bring that energy directly to their audience is weighing on the duo, though they seem to be taking isolation in good humour.

“We love playing live, that’s one of the reasons why we do this,” Hill said. “But we’re somewhat fortunate that right now we’re getting so much together with [figuring] out how to record. And I do all of our video editing and photo editing, so getting all our single art and EP art together.”

“Not being able to play live is forcing us to learn a few new tunes, but playing live is definitely, I would say, our favourite part about being musicians, as opposed to recording and doing everything else,” Goertzen said.

Like most bands trying to make it work, they have plans for virtual shows and Facebook Live content, but for the time being the Prairie Joggers seem content to hone their studio skills and practice for the day they can bring their music to the real world again.