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INTERVIEW: Brooklyn´s Act CHNNLL

Hi Chris, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey, Thanks for having me! Everything has been very good, thanks! Music has been keeping me very busy lately.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Waves”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Waves is the first single that I have released under my new project as Chnnll and is the song that really got this project moving. Waves really stemmed from a relationship that I was in at the time. We were on again off again and when things started going right something would always eventually go wrong.   Some lyrics that outline that in the song are: “With you it will always be the same, and I knew a sunny days gonna bring the rain on down.” There are also lyrics in Waves that refer to insecurities that hold you back in life and prevent you from doing the things that you want to do like, “You’re way too scared of nothing, I know I can see you shed your skin”.   My insecurity at the time was really about if I was good enough to completely switch gears in my music career from a jazz drummer to a front man. I was feeling stuck in the situation I was in and I needed to reinvent myself and that is how I found Chnnll. I don’t feel insecure about it at all anymore.

I also feel like the “waves” are also just waves of emotions that everyone gets, especially if you are going through a hard time with something in your life, the waves are bad feelings, insecurities etc… and they always seem to go away and then come back again in waves.

I had one fan reach out to me about the song. His father had just passed and his world was just crushed. He told me that the emotions and grief came in waves and that every time he felt this way he would listen to my song and that it helped him to get those emotions out. He recently wrote back and is doing much better now and told me that he hasn’t had to listen to my song in a while!

I was just so taken back that my song had helped someone so much. My main goal with writing music is to inspire and help people through a difficult time, or to elevate them during times of happiness, like so much music has done for me. But I never imagined I would get a response like that. It was very touching.

How was the recording and writing process?

When I wrote this song, I went out to get a coffee one Sunday morning and on the way home I had a bass line in my head. Once I was home I immediately went to the piano and started playing the bass line. I then started writing down the lyrics. Some of the lyrics I already had written down weeks before I had the idea for the bass line and they didn’t have a home yet, but most of them were completely new lyrics for that bass line and I just kind of Frankenstein-ed the new and old one’s together.   I worked on touching them up after that day, but for the most part all of the lyrics were written then and there.   I think you especially have to get the lyrics and melody out fast, or you forget the original intention that lead you to write that song and it becomes flat.

After I wrote the melody and lyrics I spent some time practicing phrasing them over the bass line. Once that was good I added a pulse in my left foot, started slapping a 6/8 rhythm on my right leg and played the bass line with my left hand, so that I could perform it live on my own.

When I finally went into the studio to record the song I was thinking of going in that direction, a more acoustic version with the 6/8 rhythm that would be played by the bass, drums and percussion. Emulating the foot tapping and knee slapping that was going on when I was performing it solo. But then, after weeks of performing that song in it’s original version, I turned away from that whole feel and recorded the drums more simple and made the whole tune more electronic and dark by using a heavy Moog bass, which I immediately loved, along with some other darker elements.

I discovered this new instrumental direction after recording the song with my original, more acoustic instrumentation, but something didn’t feel right, so I took everything out of the track except the vocals. I then played the vocal track on it’s own and started writing a different bass rhythm underneath and that’s how I got the Waves you know today.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

A video for Waves is in the works, but there is no premiere date as of yet. Stay tuned!

Why releasing a series of tracks instead of an album?

I am in the studio now writing music for an album and I am hoping to release it sometime this year, but in the meantime, before it’s finished I am releasing singles because I am very eager to get people to start listening. I want to get them engaged before the album is released. Some of the singles that I am releasing will make the album and some will not, but I do not want to wait until my album is done to release music because, who the fuck am I? Nobody really knows of my music yet, so waiting to release music to the public in an album doesn’t make much sense at the moment. I have a bunch of music recorded and I want to share it.

Would be taking different approach on both the music and songs or would they be following a theme or pattern in particular?

I wouldn’t say that every single that I release in the meantime will be worlds apart from one another. They are all fallowing the same voice, but they might not necessarily fit on an album together.

The singles that I am releasing before the album are all from the earliest stages of finding my voice as Chnnll. This project is only a year old by the way. I like the songs and hopefully I find an audience and those singles are all leading up to an album, which will have a whole concept. I think that it will be cool for my audience to see that evolution. I want to keep them guessing just a little too, so they will just have to wait until the next single to see where I am taking it.

Any plans to hit the road?

I would love to hit the road, but as of now nothing is planned. Hopefully sometime in the near future.

What else is happening next in CHNNLL’s world?

All my world is right now is writing music and performing live. The shows will mostly be in New York, but there will be some out of state stuff happening too. As we discussed, I am planning to release a video for Waves, so be on the look out for that. Stay tuned!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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