Traveling with children – Spotify for artists

It is often assumed that the life of a working musician and the life of a parent represent the opposite end of the spectrum of human existence. But the Brooklyn-based indie-rock artist has been around since giving birth to a son two years ago Sharon Van Atten Discovered that being the former is actually great training to be the next.

“Musicians are accustomed to working in their sleep,” he says with a laugh. “And you’re getting adrenaline – you’re tired of waking up in a new city, but you’re really excited to go out and see it because you don’t have much time. So this kind of lifestyle prepared me a bit for fatherhood.

And when you consider that playing in clubs and tending to cribs both involve some amount of shouting, avoiding bad smells and puke, you realize that life with a child is not like getting stuck for the rest after 4AM SXSW. Of your life. Check out the cover of Van Atten’s Brilliant 2019 Release, Remind me tomorrow, And you’ll see two little kids messing around in an apocalyptic bedroom that could rival the lined backstage bender.

Sharon Van Eaten photo by Ryan Pluffuger

Sharon Van Eaten photo by Ryan Pluffuger

You cannot be in two places at once

Although for all their surface similarities, the lives of parents and actors are ultimately separated by a fundamental, seemingly irresistible difference – one job demands you stay at home, the other wants you to stay away from it for a long time. In addition to dealing with all the normal pressures of the tour, children’s musicians must fight the guilt of losing important moments in their young lives, from the first step to school drama. And while technology has no doubt made it easy to keep tabs at home, a sticky facetime call is still not a good nightmare hug or kiss. But Van Atten has now reached a stage in his career where, if he can’t stay home all the time, he can at least bring her home on the street for a while.

Remind me tomorrow Van Atten’s first album since becoming a mother. And it has fortunately reached a juncture when, after building a strong fan base over the past decade, he could graduate at the tour-bus level. Any indie-level musician who has been grinding it on the club circuit for years is a golden record jumping from a narrow, smelly van to a spacious coach or a career milestone equal to playing Colbert. But for parents on tour, the bus represents more than a fridge, big-screen TV and convenient access to a clean (well, at least a few days) toilet. It also opens up a possibility that is not possible when you are traveling on four wheels and crashing into the floor of strangers: bringing kids out on the street.

Earlier this year, Van Atten took his baby for a one-week date, as well as a sitter he met through friends in the neighborhood. However, as soon as he discovered, what seemed like the best view of both worlds on paper was much more complicated to practice in practice.

“I didn’t know how to be present for my band and my son, and to help the sitter,” he recalls. “I felt like, all of a sudden, my roles were split. And it was hard for Sitter to take him out when he just wanted to be with me. Most of the venues weren’t really close to anything, and if the weather was bad there really wasn’t a chance to go anywhere. Seeing just how limited he was in entertaining access I just felt that it was unfair for him and the band. Van Atten added that the place was also clever – a place for 10 people as well as a child sharing, even a tour bus began to feel claustrophobic. Most of the time they wanted to avoid booking a hotel, but the result was that her son did not bathe during his traditional sleep, and his sleep schedule was disrupted.

National by Graham McIndo

National by Graham McIndo

Finding the right compromise

Eventually, Van Atten realized that it was harder for him to adjust to life on the street than to stay away from his son on the tour, and then return home to start his normal life. So for now, the boy will be at home with his partner, while the mother will limit her visit to two weeks. “While it’s more profitable to go out for three or more weeks and stay across the ground, the mental cost of not being physically present is more than you can afford.”

It is an education to his friends National Learned when they started having kids 10 years ago. At the time, the Brooklyn-by-Cincinnati group was in the midst of their growing emergence from small-theater headliner to arena performances, but their audience was growing rapidly with each record, with the band contracting to tour more than two or three weeks at a time. And they are stuck behind their elegant new double album to prepare North America and Europe for a segmented fashion trip this year, I’m easy to find.

As multi-instrumentalist Aaron Desner puts it, “We are all going through a difficult existential crisis with the duality of being present and involved and joining hands with parents, but living in a band that has a lot on the road, and acknowledges the financial security of our families. We have to tour. You are pulling in two directions at once. ”

But while The National is now at a level where they can travel comfortably, hire professional nanny services, and host a roving rock ‘n’ roll day care center if they want, Desner – the father of three – says the band is very special when their Family planning should be included in the travel plan. For example, the band’s frontman Matt Burninger never takes his daughter on a tour “because he has to save his energy all day so that when he performs, he can turn into a real tornado.” And in the case of Desner, he prefers to plan special events that can double as a family vacation.

“If we take the kids on tour, it’s because we’re playing multiple shows in New York or LA or somewhere in Paris, where we have a lot of friends, so it’s fun for the family. Or if playing a two-week show in National Australia, we Everyone will go there for about a month. But when you really travel, moving from one city to another every day, it is really difficult, because it is not so attractive for children. It only works if the children are in one place for a certain period of time. .

In the end, Desner said, spending more time at home not only benefits her family, but also her band, thanks to the constant creative inspiration that her children have. For example: he came up with the guitar tune 2014 single “I need my girl“National’s most popular track on Spotify’s National0 Million Plus Stream was when he was a kid making lullabies for his daughter Ingrid.

“People used to call us‘ dad-rock ’,” he said, “but we all take it as a huge compliment!

– Stuart Berman

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