Corsicana, the indie/ambient musical project of 18 year-old Colorado musician, Ben Pisano, will be releasing their first full-length album on September 23rd. The album, Haven, is a follow-up to two previous EP's and is a true testament to how much a musician can grow in three years. Written solely by Pisano over the course of three years, Haven explores the personal and musical growth of the project and Pisano himself. Now, with the album out in less than a month, Corsicana are looking toward the future - with an album release show coming up on September 22nd, more live performances in the works and even possibly a music video or two, the future is looking bright.
Today, Corsicana is premiering the second single from Haven with The Prelude Press, titled, "Patron." The massive track, clocking in at over seven minutes in length, is stunning from start to finish, and tells a story as it moves forward. We won't give too much away - listen for yourself, and read what Ben had to say about the Haven, out September 23rd below.
Interview by Jordan Altergott
The Prelude Press: For readers that aren’t familiar with Corsicana, can you introduce yourself and your project?
Ben Pisano: Of course! Corsicana is basically my main creative outlet. It's been mostly a solo endeavor in the studio, but recently I've been opening my doors to more collaborative efforts, especially live. We're currently a three piece! Our music is indie rock, but with hints of shoegaze, dream pop, post-rock, ambient, and electronic.
Was music a big part of your life growing up?
Absolutely. My parents used to play a lot of Neil Young, Van Morrison, Beatles, and Bob Marley (among many others) when I was really little. The first time I really made my own decisions with music was when I started buying movie soundtracks. I think I still own a couple. I've also always been fascinated with the performance aspect of it, but never truly enjoyed playing an instrument until I picked up bass about six years ago.
How did you get your start in the Denver music scene?
Playing in a friend's basement, haha. I think that was the moment I really decided I wanted to have a presence in the live scene. I started doing some open mic nights, really low-risk gigs, and a few pay-to-plays. Really just connecting with people and getting a feel for a lot of what goes on locally.
What were some of your musical inspirations in process of writing Haven? What about non musical inspirations?
With Haven, I really just took all the aspects of music that I love and tried to make them fit together in a way that makes sense. I really enjoy the large, ambient, reverb-soaked sounds of bands like the Antlers and Sigur Ros, but also the pristine electronics and hard-hitting beats found in the likes of Glass Animals and HEALTH. And of course I'm a huge fan of artists like Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver, who can be more sparse and acoustically oriented. Ultimately, I tried not to pull too much from any specific artist, and just wanted to make a record that I would love. In terms of non-musical inspirations, I would say that I've recently become a pretty huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut's writing, which definitely influenced my word choice, the way in which I use metaphors, and how I structure my lyrics in general. I love the idea using the abstract or a fantastical situation to convey a very specific facet of human nature, or a particular emotion.
Considering that you have been writing this album over the course of 3 years, has there been any significant changes to your writing process throughout the years?
Absolutely. There's been endless revisions and edits to song structure, guitar parts, lyrics, and so on. Still, when I had a rough draft for Solace all of three years ago, I knew that, in some way or another, that song needed to be on the record. Haven is not a collection of songs I've written over the years so much as it is something I've been working towards very consciously. There's also lots of times where material was cut or repurposed altogether. At one point, the album was called Empiricism and featured a title track which utilized the verse progression of Berlin in a very, very different sort of way. Some things are best left in the past, and that's very much one of them, haha.
What progression and growth can listeners expect from Haven in comparison to your past two EPs?
I think I've closed in on "my" sound a whole lot more. It's a much more focused, uniform effort when compared to something like the Discomposure EP. That's not to say there isn't variety though, which I think is very important on a record! Otherwise, I think it's really just a more mature, focused, conscious continuation of the sound I started to hone in on with the self-titled EP, and I think it shows in the songs themselves, as well as the production and mixing. The songs are a lot longer than what I've written in the past, though.
What goals did you have in the process of writing this album?
From the very beginning, I wanted to tell a story. Without getting too much into it, it is autobiographical to an extent, but as opposed to honing in on, say, a real night I had, or a real conversation I had on some morning, I wanted to paint a vivid picture of overarching feelings and emotions. As such, the album is meant to be treated as a whole, and each song is absolutely part of a bigger narrative. I also wanted to make a record where I never uttered the phrase "good enough" in the studio, even once. I worked tirelessly until I was completely satisfied with every aspect of the album. Obviously I'm already hearing stuff I wish I could go back and fix/change, but when I sent it off to mastering, I was genuinely 100% satisfied with it, which isn't something I've been able to say before. I also hope it's a record that people will connect to. Feeling alone in an emotionally turbulent situation is never enjoyable, so if even one person tells me that a song of mine means something to them, then that means the world to me.
"Patron" is the second single off the album. Can you talk a bit about that track?
Sure! "Patron" is a song that's been a personal favorite of mine since I wrote it. Lyrically, It's written from the perspective of the individual opposite the protagonist, right until the last chorus, where the perspective switches back. It relies on the loose metaphor of a director/casting agent and an actor to convey those moments when you know something isn't right, and that the other party is refusing to admit it. I purposefully left the last chorus very open ended. It could be the protagonist furthering the lie just as easily as it could be the protagonist opening up and being genuine for the first time. I know what it means to me, but I'm curious what other will think.
Instrumentally, it's probably one of the most groove-driven songs I've written, and even has a bit of guitar soloing. Over the course of the song, though, it evolves into a pretty loud, post-rock style piece. Vocally, it's right in the most comfortable section of my range, and doesn't deviate too far, which is something I don't usually do too often.
Haven drops on September 23rd. What else readers expect from Corsicana this year?
I like to play studio stuff by ear, so we'll see in that regard. There may be some one-shot covers we'll try and get done. Otherwise, keep an eye out for new merch at our shows (of which we'll be playing a lot more of upon release)! Music videos of some kind are on the agenda too.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. Do you have anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for having me! I can't think of anything specific, but I sincerely hope all of you enjoy the record! Can't wait to share the rest of it with you all.