A still from "Freaks" by The North Country.


When the pandemic hit in March 2020, D.C.’s The North Country, like most bands, experienced plannus interruptus, having to cancel their promotional efforts for their latest release, America and Afterwards. “We were supposed to go to South By Southwest,” says lead singer Andrew Grossman. “We had a whole two-week tour that we booked that we canceled two days before we were going to leave because it was right when the lockdown happened.” As a distraction, Grossman turned to YouTube cooking videos. “I found it comforting,” he says. “I just found myself with a lot of time, so I started watching a lot of cooking YouTube videos and then started making some stuff. It’s a good way to keep busy, but there’s something calming about them.” This new preoccupation of Grossman’s became the concept for the music video for the group’s latest single, “Freaks,” which shows the vocalist interspersed with stock footage from a PBS cooking show featuring a cook preparing a vegetarian curry with rice. The music video wasn’t the only thing the band managed to created during the pandemic. They utilized this unexpected free time to create an EP—socially distanced—set for release later this year. “We did this recording project where we were kind of passing back files to each other,” Grossman says. “So we recorded a new EP, and it was a completely collaborative songwriting process. It definitely changed the dynamic. I can’t see how it would have happened if the pandemic weren’t a thing.”  The video is available to stream on YouTube. Free.