From a songwriting point of view, things have been on the up and up for Start The Week Over as 2021 has moved along. The pop-rockers released a string of singles over the last several months that have had wide crossover appeal between fans of more traditional pop and rock. Their sound is heavily influenced by those hit rock radio ballads and the more modern, groovy synth-pop that has dominated the popular music scene over the last several years. Their most recent single, “You on My Mind,” released at the end of the summer, is mellow power pop at its finest, with lead singer Bobby Gioisa leading the way with his infectious, heartfelt vocals.
Still a relatively new band, Start The Week Over made their official debut last year with the release of their Wonderland EP. It quickly found an audience thanks to its big hooks, impressive guitar work, and pop-rock traditionalism.
2021 has certainly been a success for Start The Week Over, but it’s also had its fair share of challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic kept the band members apart physically, but making the best of a bad situation, they carried forward and found new and unconventional ways to remain productive and collaborative. In a brand new Top 10 list, the band has shared with us ten ways in which this global pandemic has affected them as songwriters, performers, and musicians, and how they’ve successfully navigated their way through it all.
1. Reduced Listenership
“The pandemic hit the week after we released our first EP, Wonderland. Needless to say, it hit us pretty hard and took a lot of the wind out of our sails right at a moment when we were starting to gain momentum and traction with the audience that we had been building in Boston at the time.”
2. Emotional Turmoil
“Not only did the pandemic hit us in the audience, but it also really shook us up internally and emotionally, as we know it hit everyone else in the world. This helped us write some of our new songs that have a darker tone, like ‘Losing Control,’ but it was definitely a challenge to balance the additional stressors to our collective mental health with the energy we needed to keep writing music and growing as a band.”
3. Geographic Dispersion
“The pandemic also shook us up geographically, as many of us had to move, either to new apartments, or, yes, back in with our parents. When a global pandemic throws you out of school and a job at the same time there aren’t many other places to go. We were scattered across the East Coast, from Boston to Baltimore, with no two of us living within miles of each other, which makes writing and playing together pretty tough.”
4. Discord as a Centralized Platform
“Our first step towards adapting was to find a platform that would work as a place to centralize communications and where we could interact with each other live all at the same time. Obviously, the pandemic created a huge new market for software that does this, but we settled on Discord. Some of us were already familiar with the platform from experience with streaming and gaming, and so it felt like a natural transition to get the other members on board. Then we had a long period of experimenting with how to write songs together when none of us live in the same place or can be in the same room.”
5. Experimenting with Remote Songwriting Methods
“We had to change our songwriting style because of the pandemic and some of the issues discussed above. Whenever anyone had an idea, we would do the best we could to record it in some way, sometimes that would be in a rough demo, other times it would be as simple as a voice memo or a screenshot of the Notes app. We organized them all in a shared Google Drive folder, and we’d organize them by how close they were to being finished songs.”
6. Songwriting Video Calls
“Then on a regular basis, we’d all hop on the Discord to video chat through some of the demos that we’d put together, and hammer out song structure, chords, melodies, and lyrics. Some of these sessions we would sit down with a sketch of a song and (guitarist) Matt (Wikstrom) would have his guitar out and ProTools open on the call and we would turn a sketch into a fully-fledged song in an hour. Other times we would sit for hours trying to fill three syllables of one line of a lyric that we just couldn’t figure out. But we kept at it, and it worked. Through sketches, remote collaboration, and Discord video sessions on ProTools, we wrote and demoed all six of our most recent releases, ‘Up Tonight,’ ‘Keepaway,’ ‘Sex in Berlin,’ ‘Mr. Independence,’ ‘Losing Control,’ and ‘You On My Mind.’”
7. Recording Studios That Have Adapted to the Aftermath of the Pandemic
“We’ve also been lucky enough to record at The Bunker Studios. It’s of course not a feasible option for bands and artists to just stop recording completely, we’re fortunate and grateful that Bunker Studios has quickly and effectively got themselves up to COVID safety standards, so artists are now able to record new music with minimal disruption.”
8. Venues That Have Capably Gotten Up To Necessary Regulations
“As a part of coming back from the pandemic, venues and artists have had to adapt. We’ve done this by playing shows both outdoors, as well as in venues that require proof of vaccination, negative test and/or proof of antibodies. It has been really great to see the creativity that organizers have shown and the commitment that the industry has shown to keeping its artists and audiences safe for live performances.”
9. Retaining New Skills
“Something that we’ve really focused on as a band is how well the new tools and techniques have worked for us. Even as we readjust once again to a more normal lifestyle as individuals and as a group, we haven’t lost sight of the innovations we’ve had to make and how they remain useful, like utilizing Discord and Google Drive to organize our material digitally. The progress that we were able to achieve during the pandemic does not need to occur in a silo, and we can bring these innovations with us into the future and past the pandemic era.”
10. Gaining New Partners and Collaborators
“Something the pandemic showed us is that we are able to best thrive if we are working with a team of talented individuals, rather than taking on everything ourselves. Especially with our expanded ability to collaborate digitally, we were able to start working with a new PR agency, Carry The 4, a new manager, a new producer and sound engineer, as well as extremely talented visual creatives on album artwork, merchandise, and music videos. With a strong team around us, we’ve been able to trust highly skilled experts with the work that they are best at while we focus on writing and performing the music we love. We hope that as we exit the pandemic we are able to even further expand our network and team of collaborators.”