In times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to check in on your friends and loved ones. Here at XPN, we’re Checking In With our extended musical family to see how they’re holding up during the Coronavirus quarantine…and what music has kept them grounded. Today, John Vettese chats with Ali Awan.

Philly rocker Ali Awan is taking this strange time of self-isolation in stride. When we caught up with him via phone, he told us he was “Writing and practicing, practicing a lot of cover songs and stuff I felt like I didn’t have time to do.” He calls his downtime activities “a lot of the same, but without a lot of the pressures of normal life, because everyone’s on pause. It’s a weird breath you can kind of take.”

In our conversation we talked about television binging, the sick lineup Ali was part of at Johnny Brenda’s that is being postponed to late summer, and some of his favorite riffs of all time. Listen below.

Checking In With Ali Awan

Favorite Song Of All Time: “Hand of Fate” by The Rolling Stones 

“I like the riff, I like the silly words Mick comes up with. But just the vibe of, as soon as the riff kicks in it’s… you know, Keith Richards, riff king! I mean the lyrics are somber, but the attitude is the song is let’s get up and, even if we can’t go out and do whatever we feel like we need to do, let’s get up and do something today or be stoked about doing absolutely nothing.”

Song That Raises Your Spirits: “Big Bird” by Eddie Floyd

“To be truthful, I don’t know much about Eddie Floyd, or the song, aside from how good it makes me feel. But my friend Justin Pittney who was in a band called Residuels, and we started a project called Electric Candlelight, he turned me on to this song a few weeks ago. He was like hey, dude, we should cover this!”

Song You’re Most Proud Of Working On: “Sisters and Brothers” by Ali Awan

“I’m stoked on how the acoustic works with the electric guitar. To me, it’s not an electric song or an acoustic song, it’s kind of a sweet riff I like. Working on the video was fun, with Braden from The Districts. It was the first thing I worked on visually really, besides the ‘Be A Light’ video that came out a long time ago. It’s kind of a great riff, I like it, it’s the newest one and it feels good. We’ve played it live once or twice but it’s definitely going to be part of the setlist once we start playing out again.”