Ohio native Eric McCloskey takes a serious turn with today’s release of his new single, “Reset.” Straddling both comedy and musical circles in the city, McCloskey, now a full-fledged Chicagoan, and his musical persona Baertrum are known for injecting humor into his acts. His musical-comedy duo, The Knits, with Michael Ameling writes and performs humorous jingles on the regular on social media, and he’s shared stage (and recently Zoom) time with a number of up-and-coming Chicago comedians.
Despite that comic bent, McCloskey’s Baertrum releases tend to lean into the more cerebral undercurrents of life. In today’s song, he explores the push-pull of moving forward despite that desire to go back for a redo.
McCloskey answered a few questions about the new single and what it means to him in the chaos of 2020.
I feel like many of us can agree there’s a lot about 2020 we want to hit “Reset” on, but this song feels more personal. What inspired you to write this one?
This song is very personal. This year I spent a lot of time with myself; which was good and bad. I realized that sometimes I would get into cycles of negative thoughts during which I felt like I couldn’t do or even think anything right. I started trying to be better at noticing when I felt them coming on, and to just take a moment, take a breath, and hit Reset. I can’t really say that the journey is over and that I don’t fall into those cycles anymore, but this mantra has really helped me to move past failures, and to focus on the parts of myself and my life that I can change. It would really be nice to have a reset button right now though, yet at the same time I’m somewhat thankful that I don’t have one.
Later in the song, “Reset” brings in some layered vocals and shout-along lyrics. After the isolation that a lot of 2020 brought, how did it feel getting to work with other musicians and friends again?
It felt great to be collaborating with all my friends on this record. This song ended up being very different from where it started, and it was with their encouragement that it grew and changed. The way each contribution shaped the song really made it feel like being in a band.
In lieu of live shows during the pandemic, what have you been doing this year to stay connected to your music and to the scene?
Social Media has been a great way to share and to connect with the music scene. I definitely miss being a part of that community in person. Chicago is such a big music city; it makes me sad to see it without the live shows. One of my favorite things about music though, is that you can participate in it just by listening. So I stay connected to music mostly through writing and listening to new music. I also have made friends throughout this city and we stay connected through the regular channels. My friend Greggo Millions and I met up during the summer and it was just nice to see someone else in the Chicago music scene in person.
What else is coming up for Baertrum?
I don’t know. A big part of resetting the way I think this year has been focused on letting go of expectations. I feel fortunate to be able to make music; whatever timeline that happens on is cool with me. I do want to mention that with the release of “Reset” and my last single “Tasteful,” I feel that I am coming into the style of music I want to live and pursue. So now, it’s all about experimenting in this space. What I would say for everyone reading this, reset and stay tuned. This is just the beginning.