Twenty seconds of hand washing. 60 to 90 percent alcohol. Six feet of distance. People worldwide have absorbed these guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic has closed its fist around the world. But humans also need to keep the spirit moving, as did Charles Dickens — who lived through a few epidemics — by taking a daily "breather" in the fresh air. Here we offer recommendations for psychic health from people who go deep into their own hearts and minds: artists and writers. Creative people have been uniquely affected by the onset of the current pandemic. Still they continue to dream, and to create. They can help us understand how. —Ann Powers
Today's Breather comes from the songwriter and producer Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat. His new album "It Is What It Is" is out April 3 on Brainfeeder Records.
"I've got a record player and DVDs and everyone's like, 'Oh, the internet is getting slow.' In this one moment, it pays to be an anime nerd because I buy all my DVDs – so if the internet goes down, I still have all my DVDs.
I've been listening to the theme and outro from [anime series Neon Genesis] Evangelion repetitively for the last week. And with Evangelion, there are moments you can attach some nostalgia to if you've been watching it as long as a guy like me. But more than just the nostalgia, there's the overall amazing animation and quality of the story, and the story arc and the message ... There's nothing that makes up for that. It stands on its own. So the significance of it is a bit bigger than just the part where it's like a cartoon for me; I feel like it has a very big purpose behind it.
Watching the show is like watching the creators' minds spin while creating the cartoon. There's a very famous story behind about the depression the creator was experiencing while creating the cartoon, how that started to bleed over into the actual story. When you go into all of the different character's minds, you're kind of going into the animator's and the illustrator's minds. It's a really, really wild cartoon."
Also: "A lot of crying has helped. Like real silent crying: Crying by yourself in the dark in the bathroom. Crying helps." — as told to Emma Bowers