When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S., Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott descended into a state of mourning. Her plan had been to join her partner, Jay Som’s Melina Duterte, as violinist on tour, a privilege rarely afforded since both maintain busy road schedules, and for Truscott, the prospect of spending most of the year in a van wasn’t met with exhaustion so much as exhilaration. At long last, she’d be making a living playing music, no side hustle needed. The cancellation of the tour represented a sidelined dream.
Routine was born of this disappointment. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, Truscott and Duterte’s collaborative project offers a glimpse of the creative possibilities that can emerge from a state of defeat. Written and recorded over the course of a month in Joshua Tree, Routine’s lush debut EP And Other Things finds the couple trying on new roles. Truscott, who plays bass in Chastity Belt, wrote the bulk of the material and sings on the EP, while Duterte, normally a band leader, used the project as an opportunity to, in her words, “Take the backseat,” as accompanist, producer, and engineer.
A true collaboration requires trust, intimacy, and patience, three elements that cohered almost mystically in the process of making this EP. “Melina is the most calming presence. She’s so good at sitting with silences in a conversation and just observing,” Truscott says. The quality not only makes Duterte a good partner, but also a good bandmate and producer. Calm and Collected is a tribute to that enviable ability to maintain serenity amidst the chaos of experience. Though it was written in Joshua Tree, Duterte and Truscott recorded it in the attic of their home in LA, where Duterte set up a studio in the free time afforded by the pandemic. The song is the quietest of the collection, a gentle ode underscored by atmospheric swaths of synth that swaddle the listener.
- Cady Road
- Numb Enough
- Song 5
- And Other Things
- Calm and Collected