In quarantine with Jordan Robin
Where are you in the world right now?
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC
Are you currently on lockdown?
We are mandated to self-isolate here, except for essential shopping and outdoor exercise. As the weather gets warmer, I notice a lot more people spending time outside which is a double-edged sword. As much as I’m critical about that, I realize I need my bike ride in the park to stay sane too. It’s impossible to isolate completely in a city as dense as New York where most people live in apartments. Even in lockdown, we still are in contact with large numbers of people just going out for essentials. We are having to really trust each other to take the right precautions and keep each other safe.
Are you alone, or with others?
I have a roommate who is a lovely friend and a talented photographer. I’m grateful to have company through this, with someone else who is creative around.
How are you keeping yourself busy/occupied?
I started making perfume before the pandemic hit the US and had already been thinking about how to build it into something bigger. I’m grateful to have this time to devote to building that brand. I’m imagining the product, the community and joining forces with collaborators. This time has been invaluable so far to move it forward, and I’m looking forward to sharing it when it’s ready.J
I’m also working on new music in my studio – where I often work alone anyway. I’m writing a solo record and have been getting ready to release a new record with my band LOVER. We’re finding safe ways to work together – passing material to one another and piecing things together we work on separately. It’s been interesting to find ways to engage with other artists and use social media in new ways to share with an audience.
I’m continuing to DJ remotely and have a new show on KPISS.FM on Sundays at 8PM EST called ‘Disco In Place.’ As much as we need medical supplies and a miracle for the economy, we also need joy. I see sharing music as the most effective way I can distribute joy right now. Since we can’t gather in clubs and dance together, or experience performances, I’ve approached my radio show on Sunday nights as a space to manifest some of that energy and spread the love with anyone tuning in. I’m not in a position to save the world – art and music is the most meaningful thing I’ve found I can contribute.
What are you finding the easiest/most difficult aspects of social distancing/lockdown?
As a creative, my best work often requires being alone. So I actually value the uninterrupted time to work, and sit quietly with my ideas. It’s a rare opportunity to feel this peaceful in New York.
By the same token, I’m really missing the energy I exchange with other people. I am grateful to have a colorful cast of characters in my life who inspire me every day, and I truly miss them. It’s just not the same keeping in touch online, but we are all doing our best to stay connected. I can’t wait to hug them when this is over!
Do you have any positive thoughts on what’s happening?
Until now I’ve been missing the sense of community I used to feel amongst artists and creatives in the city, as well as in my neighborhood in Williamsburg where I’ve lived for 14 years. This experience is bringing people together, and everyone is lending their support in their own way. I can feel that comradery again and it’s really nice.
I also know that if I’m feeling this inspired and creative, that other artists, musicians and designers must be out there doing the same. I’m looking forward to the creative outpouring ahead of us. I can’t wait to see what everyone has made and explore the new ways we can share and exchange in the new and improved version of our world on the other side of this.
What new things are you learning during this time?
I’ve done a deep dive into my yoga and meditation practice and can now lead myself through it each morning and evening. It’s been an influential tool to navigate my emotions and deepen my imagination by keeping my mind and body aligned. I also learned how to make my oil perfume as a candle that I light when I practice. I’ve been really enjoying this more personal version of my practice. J
In your opinion - how will this period change our lives in the future?
We are being forced out of complacency right now, and I’m hopeful that this will give rise to a stronger culture of communication, action and support for and within our world. This situation is shedding light on the positive takeaways we can get from the technology we depend on – the interpersonal connectivity, ability to organize, the access to useful information. It’s casting a shadow on the apathy that has resulted from the underwhelmed culture of convenience and isolating effect of social media. We were overdue to wake up from that, and it’s clear that we are turning a corner beyond this pandemic.
What can we do to help those suffering the most?
I’ve been doing my best to support organizations getting supplies to hospitals and connect people who are on the ground to each other which I hope helps strengthen that web. It’s great to see so many brands making masks and contributing to those in need. I’m doing what I can to support that cause.
What could be a new mantra to emerge from this with?
Take my hand.
Reckless Daughter – a portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe
Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith
This morning’s playlist included James, The Durutti Column, Tirzah, Molly Nilsson, and Ian McCullough among others. I’m always listening to UK rock and roll, and 70s soul from the US. I’ve recently been exploring 80s Nigerian disco - that’s my new record geek project :)
I was on a quest to watch every Luca Guadagnino movie, and now I’ve moved on to every River Phoenix movie. I’m re-visiting all of Twin Peaks next including all three seasons and Fire Walk With Me J I’ve also been watching a lot of art and fashion docs as food for thought while I develop my brand.
As clean and seasonal as I can through this time to keep my body feeling good. I have tried to keep my diet aligned with what I would normally eat without the pandemic as much as possible and am lucky to have occasional deliveries from my friends at Trieber Farms on Long Island to keep the vibe going J
No Es Pituko natural Chardonnay
Rosza Libre unfiltered Rose & Calcarius Orange wine
I broke my oven the night I started isolating so I’m getting creative on the stove! I’m making a lot of simple interpretations of Yotam Ottelenghi’s recipes and other Mediterranean preparations with oil packed fish, olives, chickpeas, and the like. I’ve been preserving the vegetables I can’t finish and using them for mezze later. I’m also learning a lot about cooking with miso. J
When I’m not busy developing the brand or working on music, I’m working through the Uplevel workshop in The Pathway – a program by Lacy Phillips from To Be Magnetic that I started last fall. I can’t recommend it enough, especially right now.
Robin's quarantine diary: