It’s a heckuva time to release your newest album. Just ask Bannister Chaava. But when you begin work for over a year on your art, you keep moving.
Chaava said he began work on “Autosophy” in 2019 following a pretty busy summer. A flight to Africa for a family event helped set its formation into place by virtue of his listening music, Steely Dan and “Is This Music?” by Teenage Fanclub.
On the heels of last year’s brilliant “Melodramatica” album, the latest is a “sort of auto-biographical (semi auto-fictional?) collection that focuses on the development of an artist/person and the songs have a sort of “thin continuity” to them, Chaava said. He wanted it to follow a “hero’s journey.”
“I wrote and recorded the entirety of the album at home,” he said. “I intentionally worked on this alone, which turned out to be a profoundly lonely learning experience. It was necessary for the theme of the album, though.”
The album title is a “crude compound word” that Chaava said he made up to combine “auto” (self), and “-sophy” (knowledge, wisdom).”
“The album starts (after the intro) in a familiar, optimistic place then goes from there to a much less familiar place where the speaker is still optimistic but realizing optimism isn’t really enough in this new place,” he said.
A song, “Idee, Fixed” is a play on the concept of a musical theme that functions as a sort of recurring inescapable obsession: “a fixed idea,” Chaava said. The point of the song is to break the obsession. It follows to the lowest, kind of chaotic point in ‘Autofiction,’” he said. The artist comes together again in ‘Errant Boy,’ which is a building rock song that encapsulates the main ideas of the album.”
Ever the deep thinker with his songwriting, Chaava said the final song, “Notes from the Underground” is a “very blatant reference to Dostoevsky’s book of the same name.”
“It’s very much an echo of the idea that ‘men are still men and not the keys of a piano,’ or more simply ‘I can change my own life,’” Chaava said. “It’s very easy, constantly writing about one’s feelings, to get stuck in a very sad hole. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that life can change.”
While Chaava’s no stranger to streaming performances on Facebook, there’s a “much greater sense of urgency” during the COVID-19 lockdown. He’s played through one online medium or another almost daily.
“It’s kept me sane,” he said. “Musicians, visual artists, etc. all need to express themselves to stay sane (and also alive).”
Although streaming isn’t like performing in front people you can see and touch, it allows the artist to “get the things in our hearts across the wires to the people who want to hear us,” Chaava said.
“Artists need the world and the world needs artists,” he said. “I’ve been encouraged by the responses to my music online, streaming has kept me sane.”
You can keep up with Chaava through several mediums: Instagram @notBannister, on Facebook at “Bannister Chaava Music,” and to buy his music, you can go to bannisterchaava.bandcamp.com. The newest album, “Autosophy,” as well some older releases and soundtrack work, are just a click away from that point.
Steven Nuckolls, better known as the hip hop artist Knuckles, recently locked in a contract and dropped his deposit to record a full album with nine songs, executive produced by Andrew “FYU-CHUR” Jackson.
“I am just a few songs into the album but due to the COVID-19, I have put going and recording on hold for a bit,” he said. “I plan to release the album in 2020 for sure though.”
Now is the perfect time for Nuckles to release a kids song along with a dance challenge for the official music video.
“I have always wanted to make a song for my kids along the lines of ‘Peanut Butter Jelly Time’ and ‘Baby Shark’ so here is my addition to annoying and catchy kids music,” he said.
The song is called “The Hoedown” — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f36uTjk_Whk.
“So now here is where the challenge comes in. If you want your child/children to be in the official music video for ‘The Hoedown,’ record a video of them dancing to it and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s give our kids something silly to do during this strange time for them.”
Instructions are available on the Knuckles Facebook page.
Wind keeps picking up the sails behind the #VirtualSoundemoniumFest movement. Performers have been setting up shows or finding a way to keep the live music alive during this time of the COVID-19 shutdown.
I’ve shared loose instructions for participation the past two weeks and will continue to post them to the Today’s Best Soundemonium Musaic Facebook page. Basically, for musicians, set up a livestream show and a virtual tip jar and perform for your fans, gain some new ones and maybe make some money that you can split with your favored venue. Let’s do it as long as it takes before life returns to a sense of normalcy.
Bravo to the musicians who kicked things off last weekend: Big Pete Piehnik, Jared Rosin & the Shuffle, Drop Dead Dammit, Tripple Threat, Fancy Bump and Zack Crow. Cashroh and Ray Bordelon, Dave Smith and Ray Miller all peformed for the second week and are expected again this weekend. Also to first week’s performers: Ryan Tyler, Dave Laurence, Francis “Franky Furious” Balliet & Family, Bannister Chaava, Jacob Moore, Cotton White, Caleb McGee, David Dodson and Dayton Keel the gents in Backwash. All these performances are archived on the column/radio show’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/steveoandthescribe/.
Brandynn “Dammit” Garcia will be hosting a livestream solo performance at 8 p.m. Saturday. Details on the Today’s Best Soundemonium Musaic Facebook page.
Justice “Stash” Hileman and Nick Makiewicz of Dissocial Fury will be knocking out a Dissocial Unplugged: An Easter Special at 7 p.m. Sunday for a not-family-friendly but definitely fun set you don’t want to miss. All funds raised via PayPal are set to go to the Railhead Saloon.
All you local musicians are asked to participate. Just let me know when you’re playing, what time and send me a link to how people can watch. You can contact me through Facebook (Scott WHole Rains) or via my email: email@example.com.
Keep your musician’s spirit and connection with your audience alive.
Tuesday’s loss of legendary songwriter John Prine to Coronavirus was a soul wrencher. He was a master.
A local musician known as a legend, Mike Quarles died this week, although there’s no indication his death was related to the virus. I’ll be writing more about his legacy in next week’s column.
With quarantine quelling new editions of Today’s Best Soundemonium! with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist, we’re returning to our archives for Mix Tape Surprise 3. It’s much-needed local music for this time.
Turn your radio dial to Magic 95.3 FM Radio around 6:25 p.m. each Thursday (if not much earlier) or stream the half-hour show online: http://s1.phx.icastcenter.com/start/kmgz953/ or www.onlineradiobox.com; or on the Apple or Android apps or on the TuneIn app, or: http://www.kmgz.com/.
And, hey, if you have a song you want us to check out, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
#Sundaymonium — Remember that every Sunday night you can listen to a rebroadcast of the prior week’s show followed by this latest show: 6 p.m., Mix Tape Surprise 2; 6:30 p.m., Mix Tape Surprise 3.
Visit, “like” (“love”) and follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/steveoandthescribe/.
Soundemonium Musaic Lawton music archive homepage: Scott Rains — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPw__GedGPOUD-wROFcuZ8w.