Brothers Jac and Joel Cornelius began playing, writing, and recording music at their parents’ home in the Chicago suburbs while still in high school. In his early twenties, Jac played with several country/folk bands in Minneapolis where he picked up the pedal steel guitar, but his primary musical influences were rooted in psychedelic rock, grunge, indie and post-rock. Over the next several years, Jac developed material for a rock album revolving around the pedal steel. He moved back to Chicago where he rejoined his brother Joel and founded Flying Potion with frequent collaborator, Ross Tasch. Drew Suarez joined the band shortly thereafter as a rhythm guitarist and keyboard player.
The band methodically arranged songs for their self-titled debut incorporating complex chord voicings, hypnotic rhythms, rich textures, and unusual pedal steel techniques involving e-Bows, dulcimer hammers, mutes, and harmonic arpeggios. The lyrics are reflective and poetic, exploring themes of conformity, love, hegemony, self-preservation and self-destruction.
Joel Cornelius engineered and produced the foundational tracks in a self-made studio in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Overdubs were recorded by individual band members in Chicago over the next several months while Joel mixed the final product. This kind of iterative process and creative control yielded an unadulterated concept album that stays true to the bands’ lysergic vision.
Flying Potion’s debut self-titled album is the realization of nearly 10 years of sonic exploration, iterative writing, and self-recording. Many of the pedal steel techniques featured on the album are totally original, existing far outside the country music circuit. “Constrictor” is among the release highlights.
“This song is played with dulcimer hammers rather than with picks and a steel bar. I used an inverted guitar bridge covered in felt to mute the strings slightly which provides additional clarity. This song is about some chronic health issues I’m still dealing with, and the cycles of avoidant behavior and guilt that goes along with that.”