“badXchannels comes from the idea that there is potential for the understanding of beauty and art in unordinary and strange places, unfiltered by the flaws of humanity,” explains CRAIG OWENS about the meaning of his latest project’s moniker. “badXchannels represent the static stations on your television, the one’s coming into your living room without a network or a sales pitch attached… basically pre-homogenization.”
With a healthy output of material released primarily undercover and without any promotional fanfare, badXchannels has been able to germinate and take root in a way that might not have been possible had he been under careful scrutiny of his many legions of fans and critics for nearly two decades. Armed with an expansive sound that is eye-openingly refreshing, he has recently filmed a live performance video of the track “Blue Abyss” which released on Friday, February 9th and can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/Af-XMUMRLDE.
“Blue Abyss was written with my friend Elliott (Fifty Grand),” he explains. “It’s an ethereal string / synth-driven track that moves at its own pace, coming and going when it pleases… a self-introspection of sorts centered around an inner battle of ultimate truth.”
The decision to write and record the track on the infamous Wonderland Avenue in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles was made with purpose. “There were a few reasons Elliott (Fifty Grand) and I decided to record write and record the track on Wonderland Avenue,” he explains. “Anywhere you choose to create, the things around you crawl into what you’re making and eventually show influence. The neighborhood’s famous for its hauntingly eclectic and darker leanings. From Zappa and the Houdini House to Joni Mitchell and Lookout Mountain, to the Four On The Floor murders. This was a common shared interest between Elliott and me that we discovered very quickly and decided to commit ourselves to seeing what so many brilliant trailblazers before us had seen.”
The mastermind behind such seminal alternative bands Chiodos, Cinematic Sunrise, The Sound of Animals Fighting, and Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows, Owens took some time off after the final breakup of Chiodos in early 2015 to re-find his muse. In the two years since, he has moved back home to Detroit after a brief stint in Los Angeles and gotten back to what drew him to music in the first place – the desire to create and shape the music within his soul. Keeping a low profile and recording music as badXchannels, Owens explored the more experimental side of rhythm-based alternative music, drawing inspiration from a broad swath of music that includes film soundtracks and scores, Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean. Having collaborated with such luminaries as Dr. Dre, D12, Fifty Grand (of TeamSesh) and gotten support from underground superstar Bones, Owens leaves no stone unturned, creating music from inspiration rather than record label demands.
“I’ve always sympathized with what is direct, serious, and heartfelt in any art I revel in,” he explains. “As I continue to grow, so does the music I make and the genuine self-expression within it.” While on the surface, the avant garde flourishes that color badXchannels’ music may seem a far cry from the ferocious and abrasive rock of Chiodos, embryonic bursts of these artistic bubbles can be heard popping throughout his catalog of work. “There are similar colors, shapes and shades consistently throughout all of the music that I’ve been a part of,” he adds.
The first EP WHYDFML was released in 2016 and features the single/video “lll. dottedXlines” which Owens describes as “expressing my journey to discovering a deep disdain for being swept up in industry and details the required strength it takes to get back up after a perceived failure.”
As proof of his musical diversity, Owens guests on King Yosef’s “Unshown Feat. Fifty Grand” which was released on Friday, February 16th. He describes, “During my very first time writing with Elliott, Yosef engineered. It’s only fitting that this comes out one week after the first release of the music Fifty and I wrote together. This song is amazing and I’m very proud of Yosef. It’s a song I hope will connect with my old rock fanbase and anyone who enjoys darker aggressive music.”
Without the constraints of a record label (Owens is self-releasing ), this gives him the freedom to create and follow his muse. What he manages to drum up will be the product of his own creative process. “I’ll be consistently working in the studio releasing new music, playing random tour stops from now through the Summer and continuing to share more of my journey as it continues to unfold,” he says. “My goal moving forward is the communication of genuine ideas, and to persist on the exclusion of what’s conventional and self-parading in anything that I write. Honestly, I’m just happy to be making music and moving forward with my life, in a way I can genuinely build on, and be proud of.”