12 Phoenix Musicians Share Their 2021 Resolutions

Paper Foxes have a new drummer and big plans for 2021.
Paper Foxes have a new drummer and big plans for 2021. Jordyn Carias

For anyone reading this, you've effectively made it to the end of 2020. Forget all the bad vibes and even worse news; now's the time to look forward to a shred of positivity for 2021. To help usher in that new year goodness, we spoke with several local musicians, each of whom shared their resolutions, hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the next 12 months. Consider it a much-needed palate cleanser, but for the human soul.

Derek Wise (Secret Attraction)

Without [COVID], I'd be putting out stuff just for the hell of it instead of taking my time with it. It's funny, because I had an LP ready to go, but then out of nowhere it disappeared from my desktop. It sounded good, but it was so rushed, and it sucks that it was the follow-up to my last LP, Blush. It's bittersweet. I'm kind of glad that it isn't on my desktop anymore for me to put out. Because now, it's given me a lot of time to really plan for what I really want to put out instead of just something that is just, "Okay, we're not playing any shows, and I got to put something out." Everyone's all like, "Yeah, you shouldn't focus on trying to get that back and just focus on working on something new. You lost those tracks for a reason: you weren't happy with them."

Rafa Calaka (Las Calakas)

I just can't wait to go back to playing more shows. ... That's what definitely makes us happy. I don't think we're nervous; I think we're going to be super-hyper about it. We've been preparing and we've been practicing for so long. Once we start seeing the smiles on people's faces, and just us jamming together and sharing our music, I don't think it'd be nervous — I think it'd be more of an excitement thing, where we'd have to learn to control our emotions so we won't overcompensate. There is something we had planned for in 2020 we may still do: in the middle of a set, everyone brings out percussion instruments and I do a drum solo in the middle of the crowd.

click to enlarge Veronica Everheart's resolutions include reading more poetry. - ALYSSA SONG.
Veronica Everheart's resolutions include reading more poetry.
Alyssa Song.

Veronica Everheart

One of my first goals is to be more patient with myself, and say that it's fine if I don't have this creative energy given the circumstances. I really want to push my limits with writing, so I want to try and force myself to go into other outlets, like the keyboard. I also think reading about and watching interviews of other musicians would be really cool. Maybe I can see if their methods work for me. I also want to read more poetry, because it's just lyrics without the music. Of course, finally releasing the album, and if I complete that, it'll feel like this huge weight off my shoulders. I just want to be happy with where I am and where I will be.

CJ Jacobson (Paper Foxes)

We are in a bit of a transition phase as a band; we just started with a new drummer literally this week. But we were able to finish recording two singles recently, and we're in the process of getting music videos together for those, so we should be able to release those sometime next year. As far as looking forward to next year, we're going to be in the studio in February to keep working and we should record a few more songs. I think a few months ago, if you would've asked me, I would have said it was really important to find someone that's the right fit, so we can all move forward together. This year has really taught me that as a band, we can be kind of abstract as far as who is a member and who comes and goes, as long as we're putting out music.

Richard Nihil (I Am Hologram)

I make my money, and I work a lot. I've been working this whole shutdown as far as my regular job goes. I try to go to as many different places as I can to try to spread the money around, and I hope that other bands in better positions, and some other ones as well, will use their blessings to help other people. We're all in this together, whether we like it or not. I'd like to do more with raising money for people and helping them out and helping them get jobs. I've been trying to do everything I can so far creatively. You start off as a musician pretty selfishly, wanting people to listen to you. Then you start to realize you coexist with a lot of people and businesses. So I want more of that: to see the bigger picture and do what I can to help out.

click to enlarge Henri Benard of Okilly Dokilly (far left) is taking a leap of faith next year. - OKILLY DOKILLY
Henri Benard of Okilly Dokilly (far left) is taking a leap of faith next year.
Okilly Dokilly

Henri Benard (CHKLZ, Okilly Dokilly)

I've been teaching private lessons for 15 years, and I work for Mesa Community College in the music business program. I made enough money to buy a truck and build my studio and build this garden. So I decided I'm going to take a major risk, and I'm going to quit teaching (not altogether) and say fuck the income. I'm going to do gigs and I still want to do the big shows and write my own music. I want to be releasing music every month next year, and I have a DJ project that's going on and I want to pursue that. My life has been ridiculously taken care of by the music gods, and I just really want to open myself up ... My New Year's resolution is to accept in my heart that risk is part of the journey of artists. It's all going out on the table next year.

David Erickson (Ring Finger No Pinky)

I think our main goal is perfecting our process, and getting better at expressing ourselves creatively in any outlet. We have some merch ideas that we're bringing into 2021. And maybe some short motion pictures on YouTube. It's about bettering all of our skills in each of our creative outlets. Our main goal is to not be where we started at this year, and we always want to improve. That's something that we always practice, every day. Like, let's be better. Just get better. We definitely always want to try new things where we don't really get stuck on any one thing we have to do. Some of our more recent stuff is [also] out there a bit, like a song called "400MHz COOCHIE SHRINK RAY." But they're definitely digestible.

Josh Kennedy (The Black Moods)

Once things start going back together and touring, and people can be around each other again, I think that's going to work out better in our favor. Even the guy that plays "Brown Eyed Girl" over and over in the corner of the bar is going to have a huge following. Everybody's realized just how much live music and the arts are necessary for day-to-day life. This is honestly going to help us and everything that we have [planned]. We're like bulls in the chute, man. Where's the rodeo?

click to enlarge Wayne Jones hopes that Twin Ponies will release new music in 2021. - EZEKIEL ESCAMILLA
Wayne Jones hopes that Twin Ponies will release new music in 2021.
Ezekiel Escamilla

Wayne Jones (Twin Ponies)

Before it was, "Okay, that idea works. Let's move on to the next [song]." But the whole lack of deadlines has been kind of liberating creatively. Mainly, I've been really into this idea of individual parts kind of going off on their own time, but still maintaining a sense of harmony. Things don't line up exactly, but they kind of still create an image. I'm trying to use these instruments in ways maybe they weren't designed for. To create some much different textures, or even exploiting some of the weaknesses of, or the limitations of, the instruments. The short answer is yes, we would like to release something in 2021. From how things are going? I don't see why we couldn't. It's just a matter of what happens with the rest of the state of the world. But we're not in any rush.

Nic Dehaan (Banana Gun)

We set up the space to start doing something like From the Basement that Radiohead did with their two records. But then life just got in the way. So we're just going to take 2021 as a clean slate. We're just going to go full bore into writing another full-length record. We have a shit-ton of material that we've been sitting on, most of which has been, I think, inspired by the lockdown and the changes to life as it is. So it's going to be a little bit more of a subdued record for Banana Gun, something other than the upbeat funk rock that we're probably known for.

Tommy Lake (Commiserate)

We finished out [2020] with [Just Smile], the album we've been talking about for over a year. In 2021, I'm basically expecting more content, especially video-based content, from us. We did a session in San Diego for the "Halfway Home," and that'll be out in January or February. And we're going to be doing some music videos and we'll be working on some new material. We're looking at trying to make the desire for music come back again, because it seems to be lacking. It's not like, "Hey, let's come over to your house and we're all going to listen to this album." It's more like people just play music in the background. We're trying to get those old-school vibes back and get people excited to know what's behind music, so expect video content and merch. Otherwise, we've still got the same message: unity, empathy, and perspective.

click to enlarge Sydney Sprague is looking toward the year ahead. - NATASHA WILSON
Sydney Sprague is looking toward the year ahead.
Natasha Wilson

Sydney Sprague

"I recorded my debut [February's maybe i will see you at the end of the world] at the Hall of Justice in Seattle, which is the Death Cab for Cutie studio. I wanted it out this year because I thought the world was actually going to end after the election, but I'm still glad there's a world for me to put these songs into. I don't think we'll ever get back to a place where we know for sure what's going to happen in the future, and so I'm just going to keep going for it and hope for the best and expect the worst. Having all of this free time definitely made me realize the things that I've always wanted to do I just haven't had the headspace for.
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Chris Coplan has been a professional writer since the 2010s, having started his professional career at Consequence of Sound. Since then, he's also been published with TIME, Complex, and other outlets. He lives in Central Phoenix with his fiancee, a dumb but lovable dog, and two bossy cats.
Contact: Chris Coplan