Hand Habits, the pseudonym of multi-instrumentalist Meg Duffy, embraces minimalist song structures with earnest compositions, which detail the fragile nature of the human condition.
Duffy has been involved in the independent music circuit for a majority of their life. Beginning from a quaint upbringing in Upstate, New York, which gradually evolved into Duffy becoming a sought after touring musician for Kevin Morby and Perfume Genius among others. It was during their downtime between tours and a move to Los Angeles that the Hand Habits project would come to life.
In 2019, Duffy’s sophomore album placeholder became a critical darling shaped by its harrowing honesty and vulnerability. Like so many of their peers, Duffy’s touring prospects for the future were dashed away by the onset of the pandemic. Returning to a shared-living space in Los Angeles with fellow musicians Sasami Ashworth and King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas, Duffy crafted what would become their latest EP, dirt. The two-track project features the emotional swell of “fourth of july” and a soothing cover of Neil Young’s “I Believe In You.”
Below, Duffy details how yoga, craigslist word forums and The Microphones’ latest album helped them get through the year.
Since lists have been one of the things getting me through the vast amount of time I was met with when all the touring started swiftly cancelling, I was excited to contribute to a list of actions, objects and media that has gotten me through a world amidst a pandemic.
Yoga With Adriene has been the fulcrum of my routine stability the past year and a half (and counting). Me and my bandmates started doing yoga on tour as a way to stay somewhat healthy and clear minded — sometimes doing yoga in dirty rancid smelling back rooms or hotel hallways. It became a grounding time of connection with ourselves and each other; a fresh way to spend time with our own bodies and minds, but together. I think it’s an incredible resource, at home yoga, and I’m a sucker for Adriene’s brand of corny humor.
Haiku Hotel (an online forum) is a part of Craigslist I will wander into, when I need a burst of random word inspiration. Lately I’ve been thinking about the “random” and how it can seem nothing actually is “random,” but very acutely intentional, spun by the hand of some mysterious forced hand. Another place I’ll head to is Oblique Strategies Online (the web version of a card game created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt that seeks to prompt creativity through phrases and quotes) for a creative or otherwise prompt. I just clicked it right now while writing this, and the digital card I drew was “Take A Break.”
Be right back…
I binge read Madeline Miller’s Circe and The Song Of Achilles back to back. Both kept my mind in a fantasy world of fictionalized but historically accurate (I think) Greek Mythology.
Walking at sunset or in the evenings has always been a source of activation for me; a moving mediation. Typically if I’m alone I’ll listen to music, either demos I’m working on or records I’ve been meaning to spend some uninterrupted time with. Microphones in 2020, was the soundtrack for a very teary walk that also divinely inspired me to write one of the singles off the record I made in the fall (a pop song that sounds nothing like Phil Elverum).
This has been edited for clarity.