Bando by Chancius
Concept albums are a great way to break free from your usual repertoire and create a unique and mesmerizing experience for your fans by telling them a story through music. Any idea can be brought to life through song and Brooklyn based street musician Chancius has given extraordinary life to the sci-fi based tale of Bando, a young man afflicted with a life threatening disease. Bando agrees to an untested experimental procedure that will prolong his life after death, with questionable and earth shattering consequences. As Bando's humanity is lost to the technological procedure he begins to wonder if he made the right choice, ultimately accepting his fate.
The opening track, 'Hold On,' is a track reminiscent of Ziggy Stardust and begins to unfold the tale of the hero, Bando, using alternative guitars and electronically modified vocals. The light, poppy 'Making It Up As We Go Along,' features bells and sharp key tones that unfurl into the titular track, 'Bando,' and we are introduced to our hero, who has just learned of his illness and becomes reflective on how he has led his life and if he is truly comfortable with the idea of death. In 'Pliers Donar' Bando meets the men who would give him the procedure, with the promise that they can save him, as well as further the life span of all mankind. Bando is wary of the procedure but is also willing to seek salvation in any form. The optimistic 'A Piece of You Wherever I Go' finds Bando undergoing his procedure by way of electronic swoops and swirls and ends abruptly as Bando passes from his natural life to his new, mechanical one. The instrumental 'Chrysalis' sees the transition of Bando into his new state, then moves into 'Time and Space Died Yesterday,' an awakening of sorts for Bando, and he begins to regret the decision that he has made. In 'Big Wave,' Bando is taken over by the wonder of life after death and realizes that he can see and feel and hear things never thought of before. He is awash with enlightenment and starts to convince himself he made the right choice.
After some time, Bando begins to realize that even though he continues to live on, all that he knows and loves will not, and this leads him to feel detachment, as represented in the track 'You're Not One In A Million, You're One Of A Million.' His sorrow is compounded by the fact that his loved ones worry for him and wish he could take it all back, in the track 'Hologram King,' which features lovely female vocals that express longing and loss for the time before Bando's procedure. The last track, 'Thunderhead,' fins Bando accepting his fate and resigning to make the best of his situation, even if he must go it alone.
I am a fan of concept albums as long as they are done with a sense of purpose, a wanting to express a truly amazing and enrapturing story that touches something in all of us. My two favorite concept albums, “Galaktikon” by Brendon Small and “Year Zero” by Nine Inch Nails are perfect embodiments of this, and I am happy to add this album to that list. I was truly entranced by the idea of man meets machine and the ramifications that it would ultimately have. Chancius delves deep into the heart of the matter and brings forth a fantastic album that captures the curiosity and whimsy of the future that we are most assuredly headed towards. The tenacity and willingness to explore the many genres of alternative rock and pop shown by Chancius makes for a broader, richer listening experience that I would highly recommend to any and all listeners of alternative music.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Chancius; check out his response below!
Tell me a bit about your background and why you started playing.
I've always been drawn to music. My mother worked in a record factory while pregnant with me and it was her job to listen to all the master copies and make sure there weren't any flaws. It's possible that itwasjustinstilledinmein-utero. I can remember a time when I was a young teenager and my father heard me singing; he told me that I could really carry a tune and he would support me becoming a musician if I wanted which was a compliment I'll always cherish. From there I was just drawn more and more into music.
What/Who are your musical influences?
I think the main goal of anyone seeking success is how to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. There were 3 reasons why I chose to create a concept album as my newest project. First I thought about what other artists were and weren't doing. The few musicians that do record concept albums do so mostly in a theme of loosely related songs rather than a complete cohesive story like Sufjan Stevens's Age of Adz or The Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin. This lead me to my second reason which was a purely from a marketing standpoint. With the rise of mp3s albums having become unbundled and fans just pick and choose the songs (or song) they really like, but if an entire album's worth of songs were all connected by a central idea this could possibly peak the fan's interest enough to want to own and listen to all the tracks on the album like The Killers' Sam's Town which is another concept album with a personal, more linear narrative. Third, I've just always been a fan of sci fi and I wanted to try my hand at that kind of album like David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.
Concept albums aren't exactly rare, but they seem to be few and far between. What appeals to you most about the idea of a concept album?
The challenge. It's far easier writing a bunch of songs that have nothing to do with each other and throwing them all together. It's intriguing when an act has the vision to create something that challenges their song craft and shares a larger ideainawhole. It actually paints a more intimate picture by going on this journey or mini adventure. It's how people prefer their entertainment in general nowadays. Most people would rather be watching their favorite programs than sit down to a 2-3 hour film. It's just more satisfying when a story grows bigger and longer because it allows the characters and plot to expand which we then become more attached to it.
You started out as a street musician- do you believe that street musicians and performance artists have become more prolific in our day and age or less relevant?
Unfortunately, less relevant because even though I met a lot of nice people while playing in the subway, most people will still associate you and your art with the street. Music is a very perceptive thing. People in general associate certain things with success and that success is going to play a big role in how much people will like your music (or art). It's a rarity when someone can just like something for it's purest form. People are tricked every day into liking things because of marketing or if their peers like it or not. Most people have gotten very used to being told what to like and what not to like. That's the issue with most street performing. It's art in it's most basic form. It's in your face, unedited, warts and all when most people are used to shiny, shrink wrapped, overpriced, trinkets.
How do you feel about the digital revolution in music and has it helped or hindered your success?
It's the best time in the history of mankind to be a musician because the tools and the cost to make and distribute music are extremely accessible to the masses. The one thing that most people thought though, was that it was going to finally level the playing field, that DIY musicians could and would be successful, and the old system with it's major labels would burn out. I do think that there was a brief time in the 00's when this was somewhat true, but the opposite has happened. Now too many people are making music and they're all competing for the same piece of the pie. There's too much competition and not enough quality sources to market through. That's why the majors are stronger then ever because they've regrouped, rethought their strategy, and used their money and connections to leverage the rest out. So it's better today to be a musician if you're only interested in the creation of music, but it's harder today to make a living from music.