When Harmony Tividad and Avery Tucker, the two halves of L.A.-based duo Girlpool, dial into our conference call, they each have the same apology for their respective lateness: “Sorry, I totally spaced.” Losing track of time is probably a fact of life nowadays — with nearly everyone forced by the COVID-19 pandemic to spend an inordinate amount of time at home, it’s easy for the minutes and hours to slip away. For Girlpool, this might be old news — both Tividad and Tucker have long been interested in the potential of subjective realities. Their last album, released in 2019, was called What Chaos Is Imaginary.
Speaking over the phone from their respective parents’ houses in Los Angeles, where they’ve each chosen to spend their time quarantining, Tividad and Tucker recall the moments they first realized life was going to change. “The night before [new single] “Like I’m Winning It” came out, we had this party planned. I remember this intense wave of anxiety coming over me and thinking, ‘This might be the last time I go out for a while,’” Tividad explains. “It was the day before they declared the national emergency. I went out that night to our release party and a ton of people came. We were discussing going out the next day, but at the same time, I was thinking, ‘This might be the last party for a while.’”
“I totally had no idea that anything was really going on,” Tucker adds. “When the word ‘quarantine’ was introduced, I was like, “What the fuck is about to happen?’” A few weeks into quarantine, though, both members of Girlpool seem to have found activities to keep them occupied. Below, they talk us through five activities that have stopped them from going stir-crazy.
Cooking and barbecuing
Avery Tucker: My parents have a barbecue, like a nice one, and I have a shitty one at my house. I live in L.A. too but I’m staying here because it’s more comfortable. Like, they have a yard and an exercise machine that I can use. I love cooking for people, and Harmony does too, so we’ve both been cooking for and with our families a lot. Me and my dad make salmon, which is really good on the barbecue.
Harmony Tividad: I’ve been cooking a lot of salmon also, and grilled vegetables in the oven. I’ve made ramen, I made a cobbler the second day of quarantine, which Avery was here for for a second. I’ve been making lots of spaghetti squash. I make a lot of vegan food because I’m pretty much vegan, but I eat fish. So I’ve been eating a lot of healthy vegetable stuff.
Reiki and meditation
Tividad: I wanted to take reiki class for a long time, and I just haven’t really had the time or the motivation to do it, because it takes a lot of focus and you have to be in a specific mind state. Usually in my life I’m moving quickly for things, constantly agitated — not in an angry way, but in an active way. I’m always trying to go out or see my friends. The day that [social distancing] started, I asked my friend about this reiki class that she’d taken online. I just feel like there’s so much healing I wanna do, and healing I want to offer other people. I’ve always wanted to learn a lot about it — I get a lot of reiki, and do group reiki classes where an instructor gives reiki to the class — so it felt like something I had to do in this time, to work on my self healing, because I feel like I’ve needed to do that for a long time.
Tucker: I meditate. It feels like it’s always very good to do that, but I have so much time that I’m like, ‘I need to stay calm,’ and it’s just grounding to meditate. My mom and I have been doing it together.
Watching TV and movies
Tucker: Harmony turned me and my family onto a show called Hunters, which is based in the '70s in New York, about these people who hunt Nazis. It’s literally incredible, you should watch it. We finished that really quickly, and now we’re watching my mom’s favorite new show, called Imposters, on Netflix. In my opinion, it takes about four episodes to get hooked, and once you do, it’s great.
Tividad: I’ve watched a couple of retro movies — we watched this movie from the '40s called Cover Girl with Rita Hayworth in it. I watched Les Mis. I watched Moulin Rouge one-and-a-half times so far, but I think I’m gonna watch it again in the next few days. I could watch that movie over and over again. It’s the best movie. It’s from 2001, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. It’s a pop musical, so it’s literally David Bowie, Elton John, re-orchestrated as musical songs. I feel like it’s psychologically affected me so much, because there was a winter break where I watched it three times a day for the entire break. I would wake up and watch it, watch it at midday, and then fall asleep watching it. I really feel like it affected my personality.
Tucker: I usually go to the gym every day in real life, so [quarantine] has disrupted my mental shit a little bit, because that’s very important to me. I’m very lucky my parents have an exercize machine here. I do the elliptical every morning — I’m a virgo and I have OCD, so it’s very important that even though there is no schedule here, I need to make one, so I pretty much eat the same thing every day, and then go on the elliptical at the same time. I do that for 30 to 40 minutes. I’ve been doing a hundred pushups a day challenge, and then this eight-minute ab thing that a friend sent me. I have a pull-up bar set up in the garage, so I go and do pull-ups in the morning.
Tividad: Every day I wake up really confused as to how to begin and then scramble around my room with my dog. Yesterday I did yoga outside in the backyard, which was nice, then I did the eight-minute ab workout that Avery sent me. When I do boxing with my dad, I run a mile and then we box for 40 minutes. It’s really fun, it feels really good.
Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Tividad: I’ve been playing so much Animal Crossing. My island is called Petuniala3. I really love the game. I wasn’t sure how I was gonna like it, because I played the iPhone app and I wasn’t a huge fan, but I love the Nintendo Switch version. It’s way more advanced, it’s incredible. I have to share, in the spirit of my low point today, I was playing Animal Crossing while crying.
Tucker: Honestly Harmony, I’ve been there myself. I was much younger than you, but I’ve been there.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do post-quarantine?
Tucker: I would love to record. I wanna spend time with my friends.
Tividad: I’m probably gonna hang out with my friends for many days, stay up late and have a nice time. Maybe record some stuff, I really miss recording with other people, like my guy on this very call. Kiss my friends’ faces sweetly and gently.