highly suspect arizona acoustic
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Watch Highly Suspect’s Rich Meyer play stripped back “Arizona” in a stairwell

The artist performed in the stairwell of his apartment complex.

April 14, 2020
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Concert cancellations and stay-at-home orders have been tough on fans and musicians alike. However, Highly Suspect are keeping busy and hoping to calm peoples’ spirits through their acoustic rendition of “Arizona,” which is exclusively being shared on AltPress.

Bassist/vocalist Rich Meyer recorded the MCID track in the stairwell of his apartment building with an easy camera setup and his acoustic guitar. AltPress got to talk to the artist about self-isolation and ways to stay sane through it. Check out the acoustic video and full interview below. 

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What inspired you to share this new video with fans? What advice do you have for musicians and other creatives who may be stuck in a rut during this time of self-isolation?

It’s true I was inspired by this period of isolation to do an “acoustic” version of the song… What’s more appropriate than creating music by ourselves right now?  

If you’re having a hard time being creative doing a certain thing, like writing music for instance, try a different medium. For me, that could be sewing crochet or sculpting ice with a chainsaw. These are things I’ve never done before. Trying new things can help get the creative juices flowing and give you a different perspective when you return to writing.

Out of all the songs from the Highly Suspect discography, what motivated you to perform “Arizona”? Does this song reflect your feelings right now during this unprecedented time? If yes, how so?

I wanted to do “Arizona” because it’s still new for people, and I’m a shameless self-promoter. But seriously, that’s why I chose it. Also, it’s the only song on the MCID record that I sing by myself. It’s about the hardships of trying to have a relationship as a traveling musician, so it doesn’t feel wildly relevant, but I wanted to do something to show everybody that even though isolation might be difficult, it’s important that we all do our part in this time of national and global emergency.  

Though the video was simple and acoustically dynamic, did you run into any problems while filming? What was your favorite part about performing this track?

Recording this video was fairly easy. I just chose a spot next to my apartment that has cool acoustics. I think one person used the stairwell during the shoot. You can hear the door opening and closing if you listen carefully.

Normally I perform this song with my buddy Mark Schwartz playing all the cello parts with a midi controller and the orchestra backing tracks from the album, so this was a very stripped-down version of the song from my point of view. It reminded me of how I felt when the song was being written, so that was fun.

Many fans find comfort and solace in your music during rough patches and times of hardship. Where do you find your comfort in uncertain times?

YouTube yoga! Normally I like to get outside and exercise every day. I go to the gym a lot, and I take my dog to public beaches and trails. Since those aren’t really an option right now, I find that watching instructional yoga videos calms me down and gets me feeling good.

Though we do live in uncertain times, what do you hope to accomplish within the year? What can Highly Suspect fans expect in the coming months?

Right now we’re hunkering down and creating new music. It’s really the only way for us to be productive these days, but I can’t complain about that.

Written by Maria Serra