After reviewing the long awaited new release from Chaz Hearne entitled Rise Of The Voluminous, we were keen to find out more about the songwriter and his recent creative endeavors. Check out the full interview below.
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Hi Chaz – thank you for your time today, and congratulations on the new album. What does this project mean to you, where did the title come from, and is there an underlying concept?
This project is a sequel to my debut solo album The Legend of Core Dynamo. Most of the songs I was writing at the time of Core Dynamo were political but I wanted to find a creative way to express them. Politics is a theatrical endeavor where candidates present a public persona, or character, so I came up with a comic book plot based on electing a political leader called the Core Dynamo.
While The Legend of Core Dynamo analyzed the flaws and strengths of previous leaders in our history, Rise of the Voluminous is about recognizing that we can be part of the problem too. How those of us with advantages have to hold everyone, including ourselves, accountable to improve things. The album is not about guilt; it’s about action. I included myself in the narrative, always using “we” or “us” when referring to how things are unbalanced and using “I” when trying to express myself.
The Voluminous stands for those who have taken it all to stay on top. Those who will never have enough and will always focus on getting more. This album calls them out in particular.
Your writing varies distinctly from one song to the next. How do you begin when creating new music, what comes first, and is anything ever so out there that you choose not to release it?
I like to start with a melody in my head. I come up with them when I let my mind wander like when I ride my bike or take a shower. Each tune has a unique sound and I like to arrange the instruments to match the character of the melody. I grew up on musical theatre and I want my albums to be as varied and fun as a stage production.
I have recorded songs that are strange but I’m not opposed to releasing weird ideas. They just have to fit in with the project. Oftentimes I will record more parts (and more songs) than necessary and keep the sounds that enhance the album while getting rid of those that distract. Theme is very important to me.
Do you have a personal favourite song from the new project, and if so – which is it, and why?
Fun In ‘82 was a favourite for me because it was my first attempt to write a dance song. I’ve played Folk music for a long time but I always had a desire to be the lead singer of a pop-dance outfit where I don’t play an instrument and instead I strut around singing. I also really enjoyed singing with Carrie Allen. Her voice was perfect for the song.
How important is live music to you and will you be touring in the coming months?
Live shows are my favorite part of being a musician. I love connecting with a crowd. I went on a Midwestern tour with my music partner Alex Gilewicz this past summer and we played 11 shows in 2 weeks. It was a blast. I hope to be back soon.
I just moved to Rochester, NY from Chicago and I plan on playing regionally in western New York while I get to know the scene. I have no immediate touring plans but I will keep my shows page up to date on my website chazhearne.com
What is it about making original music that draws you to it again and again?
I love creating things. It’s so cool to work through a melody and an idea and watch it blossom into a full song. Some songs happen overnight and others can take years until they feel finished. I really enjoy the process.
As a child I was involved in a lot of community theatre and I loved expressing myself on stage, no matter what part I played. I had one critical director tell me I was more of a performer than an actor since I was always playing “Chaz” on and off stage. Ever since then I vowed to always use my own voice and say what I want to say.
Who or what inspires you, both in music and in your personal life?
Other musicians first of all. When I moved to Chicago I met so many stellar musicians and all of them were so fun to watch play and grow. They were so active and it inspired me to keep working at music and getting my stuff out there.
As for my songs I am mostly inspired by politics. Folk music and politics have a long history and I like to continue that. But I’m not immune to writing love songs. The One Year EP, which came out last year, was inspired by my recent marriage. I wanted to write an EP full of non-corny love songs and that was my attempt.
What’s the bigger picture for you – what do you hope for in the coming years?
I always love sharing my music with new people. I hope to grow my online fan base and schedule tours that reach broader audiences. I love collaborating with new musicians so I hope to form another group soon.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
People have asked me about the band name for this album. The Goodmen was an ironic nickname that Alex Gilewicz came up with since most of the albums backing musicians were women. It had a funny double meaning since my wife’s last name is Goodman and I took her name when we got married. It honors both the old and the new.
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