Down Time is a Jezebel series in which we ask our favorite artists and authors what art, books, and activities they’re turning to in this moment of isolation and uncertainty. Lead singer of Deerhoof Satomi Matsuzaki describes how she’s working on her D.I.Y. and survival skills, including making her own hand sanitizer.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
My hand-cleaning, disinfecting, social-distancing strategies progressed gradually. In mid-January Wuhan’s mysterious virus-related death news reached Tokyo, Japan, where I was visiting my parents. I began to wash my hands thoroughly with soap. A few days later, I went to a bathroom at a concert. I washed my hands and had to touch a doorknob to get out. I thought, Wait… my clean hands got dirty again! So I started to bring a hand sanitizer whenever I’d go out.
I was on a full-scale, possible lockdown preparation mode since the second week of February. I started shopping little by little to prepare for self-isolation. I only bought the amount I needed. I contacted my friends to do the same. My instinct told me to not wait until the panic shopping day. It’s important to believe your instinct, knowledge, experiences, and act fast. You don’t want to wait for someone else’s directions, especially what comes out from Trump’s hoax mouth. Think ahead to reduce risk has been my principle, which the bandmates call “Satomi Solutions.” That’s what many of Deerhoof songs are about! The new generation will survive by being tougher and smarter than your executioners who try to screw you. I pray for everyone’s survival from the bottom of my heart.
It’s a great time to care about friends, family, and community. Call, video call or text them and laugh together to make this hard time pass by. Encourage each other that we can do this! I discipline myself to exercise like sit-ups, jumping jacks, stretches, and jump rope, which is my favorite. Also, I try to cook creatively with what I have in the refrigerator. My mother told me not to waste food since I was a kid. Farming is such a great work so we need to respect and appreciate food. Those words stuck to me. I believe all of these make me a better person for a better future. I am reviewing myself and trying to fix it. It’s never too late to change.
I feel good about advancing [my] D.I.Y. skills. It would be nice to gain something out of this crazy time. Hand sanitizers were sold out in New York. I already had one for myself but I thought friends might want them if I make some. Luckily I happened to have all the ingredients to make hand sanitizer at home. I mixed two-thirds of a cup rubbing alcohol of 70 percent alcohol concentration, one-third a cup aloe vera gel, and few drops of lavender oil. That’s it, easy! Then I found out a friend who lives nearby wants it. Her husband has a [lymphatic] cancer and his life would be in danger if he gets infected. I went to deliver it right away! I was glad to be able to help.