the OKLAHOMA quarantine demos
BY KIANA MORIDI
As live concerts have come to a screeching halt, artists are finding ways to keep the music alive. Local musician, Alex Coleman, discovered a new way for artists to come together through the creation of The Oklahoma Quarantine Demos—a collection of 23 songs ranging from pop, funk, singer songwriter, and instrumental, each recorded and created by 39 local musicians.
“The idea came to me in March when I was sitting at home scrolling through old songs. I had written a ton of songs over the past few years and I knew if I didn’t show them to anyone, they would have just died on my hard drive,” says Coleman. “So, I had the idea of making my own personal demo record. The more I got into it, the bigger it grew and eventually turned into a collaboration of other artists’ work and not just my own.”
The project took four months from start to finish, beginning in March and releasing on June 18. Not only did The Oklahoma Quarantine Demos bring artists together in a time of creative isolation, but it’s also contributed to the OKC community, donating about $1,200 (to date) to Dress for Success, an organization that helps to empower women in poverty to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and life. “The most rewarding part was finishing the record and giving it all to Dress for Success,” says Coleman. “It felt good to know that I did something productive with my time off, and that the product served a purpose to help people in need.”
Photography by Daniel Mudliar
Since the pandemic has forced professionals to work from home, Coleman encouraged each musician to record on their own, encompassing the reality of what the pandemic has brought each of us—a sense of imperfection while adapting to the new normal, all flaws and mishaps included.
“Because of the pandemic, there wasn't really a safe way to record together, so this record was completed through file sharing.
I tracked most of my parts in my home studio. If I needed to track someone else, I took a mobile recording rig around town, but most of the demo was recorded by individuals in their own homes. I encouraged the musicians to record their parts however they could and not worry about being perfect. I told them to embrace imperfection.”
As for his favorite track on the demo, Coleman gravitates toward one with personal significance. "Nothing Keeps Us Down was my favorite song because it's the first time in a decade I was able to collaborate with Kyle Mayfield and Israel Hindman on a song,” he says. “We all played in a band called The Uglysuit together and I've been waiting ten years for us to make music again! The lyrics of that song (written by Israel) really hit home for me. My favorite lyric from that track is, ‘We just keep moving on and thinking it's going to be awhile. Someday life will make a place for us.’ That's exactly how I feel about life right now.”
Track by track, The Oklahoma Quarantine Demos brings a sense of comfort, fading the feelings of isolation and confusion this past year has brought. “I wanted to create an album that was a reflection of the challenging and unsure year we are all having,” says Coleman. “I believe this album shows that even though we’re not physically together, we can still come together as one to create something imperfectly beautiful.”
You can listen to The Oklahoma Quarantine Demos at https://oklahomaquarantinedemos.bandcamp.com/releases
Be sure to also check out all of the talented local musicians on this demo, as they’re often releasing new albums and singles.