A surge of emerging artists has become “immune” to the coronavirus.
That “immunity” arrives in the form of new music inspired by or released early to cope with the ongoing pandemic. This week, Quick Tiko and We Three combat the coronavirus on different ends of the creativity spectrum. Here are two freshly-pressed singles repeating in our ears, minds and hearts.
Quick Tiko – ‘Virus’
Quick Tiko, a new punk-garage rock duo comprised of The Sneeks’ Niko Matsamakis (guitars, vocals) and Timo Radwan (drums, bass, guitar), recently dropped a new raw, propulsive banger called “Virus.” It’s akin to early Kings of Leon, think “Aha Shake Heartbreak” and “Because of the Times” with extra spunk and rough edges.
A feisty two-minute track, “Virus” erupts into whirring, echoey guitars, pounding drums and driving bass as Matsamakis rowdily sings, “And now I’m petrified/La la la, don’t go outside/Whoa ho, I will stay inside/I ain’t going out to say goodbye/And now I’m super-duper high/Feelin’ kinda paranoid/Thinkin’ if I go outside, maybe I’m a catch a virus.”
“Stay inside people! Save lives! I was singing about exactly what was on my mind. I’d rather stay inside than possibly die. Timo and I wrote that song in one day, roughly a week ago. We wanted the recording to capture the energy and anxiety we’re feeling as best as possible,” Matsamakis said.
Luckily, Quick Tiko effectively practices social distancing with Matsamakis residing in metro Detroit and Radwan hunkering down in Toronto. The duo met at Michigan State University and wrote and recorded a ton of tracks when they were roommates back in 2016.
“Now we both just have all the time we need to chill in our respective home studios and record. For ‘Virus,’ I recorded some guitars and vocals, sent it to Timo, who then laid down the drums, bass and another guitar part. We’ve already been working on a couple more songs with this method of recording – hopefully to be released soon,” Matsamakis said.
Quick Tiko also plans to release a video for “Virus,” which will include separate quarantine video footage of Matsamakis and Radwan that’s compiled by artist and friend Colin Knighton.
We Three – ‘I Wanna Love Somebody’
The McMinnville, Ore., pop-rock sibling trio of Manny Humlie (guitar, vocals), Bethany Blanchard (bass, vocals) and Joshua Humlie (keys, drums, vocals) tackles the negative, troublesome thoughts that wreak havoc on lonely, anxious minds.
“I Wanna Love Somebody” allows We Three to proudly raise their sonic lightsabers in retaliation against incessant worries of lingering solitude and paralyzing self-doubt. It’s time to silence the “sith” of pessimism and welcome the “jedi” of optimism.
“This song is about the feeling in the pit of your stomach as you are going to bed where you feel like you are unworthy and never will be loved. The concept of ‘I think I’m gonna die alone’ is a feeling we have all had. It is a really dark thing, but we wanted to convey it in a lighthearted way that connects people when they are feeling like that,” said Manny Humlie, who originally appeared on “America’s Got Talent” with his siblings in 2018.
The track soars with vibrant electric guitars, quick finger snaps and bouncy synths that harmonize instantly with Manny Humlie’s quick, cheeky vocals, “I figured it out while I’m in the ground/There’s no kinda lining/Just laying around and counting the cracks/All in the ceiling/Just fooling around and breaking it down/To find a meaning.”
“It was very different from anything we have done since the music was really developed in the studio from demos. Sometimes these demos had magic moments that we had to recreate in the studio and try to improve. At the same time, we didn’t want to take anything away from the melody or chord progression either,” Manny Humlie said.
We Three also finds meaning in their latest video for “I Wanna Love Somebody,” which chronicles the band and several actors attending a funeral at a historic city church. Produced by Fortem Films, the video opens with Manny Humlie singing and lying in a coffin while family and friends wear black masks to hide their sorrow. It’s also intertwined with live band performances at a church and graveyard.
Outside of the video’s dark subject matter, the band released “I Wanna Love Somebody” early to stay connected to their growing fan base amidst the challenging COVID-19 situation. It’s the first new material they’ve shared since last year’s highly emotive EP, “We’re All Messed up – but It’s Ok.”
“We had to postpone our European tour, but it has allowed us to get creative in how we connect with our fans,” Manny Humlie said. “We feel lucky to have a lot of new music coming out that’s keeping us pretty busy.”
In the coming months, We Three will release their second full-length, 16-track album, “Dear Paranoia – Sincerely Me” via Palawan Productions. A departure from 2018’s self-titled debut, it will be a concept album about “dealing with trauma from a child to an adult” and feature more experimental production techniques with co-producer Keith Sommers.
“I am really into personality tests and Enneagram tests, but I felt like none of them reflected my true personality. It made me think that all of our experiences in how we were raised growing up, traumas, etc., alter our true personality, and people don’t realize that you don’t need to keep everything that you were taught,” Manny Humlie said.
“There are experiences even as an adult where I get paranoid about ‘should I react this way?’ and coming to terms with the fact that you form your own values and become your own person was a big part of this album. The theme of the album is dealing with your own insecurities and how they seep into all of our relationships.”