Saturday, April 17, 2021

Bonji Longs for a post-pandemic ‘rebirth’

Nina Ferraro is the songwriter Record as bonji, Was working on her third album, 2018, “Rebirth” It will be a continuation of a completely independent career that has consistently given rise to rich and mysterious songs. Then Kovid-19 hit, and, like everyone else, he had to change his plans. She moved from Los Angeles to Chicago, where she had previously lived; He learned how to be his own recording engineer; He immersed himself in Japanese studies. The centerpiece of her album-in-progress became a song she wrote during quarantine: “Alone,” A sensible, haunting, fairly acoustic ballad that he released in 2020.

As she continued to write and record, the songs for the album – released on March 16 – transformed into a narrative arc ranging from separation to repetition, pondering mortality, and tenacity. “Either you want to die or you don’t want to die / Both are very deadly / I, I am stuck in the middle of a fantastic battle,” she sings, softly and talkatively, “Letter” This is a song he wrote before the epidemic.

“It’s the nature of this unstable rock we’re walking on,” Bonzi said on a Skype video call from his home in Chicago. “We feel some of these things very strongly right now, but they always have been. It is not impossible to be influenced by the state of the world, but a lot of things are constant for me. “

25-year-old Bonzi wore a hoodie with one of her designs Favorite songwriter, Daniel Johnson. It featured “Silver Sufferer” (a skull-encased parody of the Marvel superhero Silver Surfer) singing the Beatles’ opening line “My Friends from a Little Help from Singing”. An electric bass and an electric guitar leaned against the walls; His yorkies, Kirkee (“Sunday in Armenian”), spent time on her lap.

Behind him was a large picture frame holding a small yellow rectangle: a sketch on a Post-It note made by Chicago producer Steve Albany, one of Bonzi’s early supporters. It showed a bell curve of creativity – a work of inspiration and quickly followed by diminishing returns.

“I just thought it was ridiculous,” he said. “There are two people in you all the time. One is this endless soul, it is just creative and will last forever. And then the other person is slowly trying to guide that person, reminding you that you are material material. The curve represents the time spent creatively, and then x represents where you stop. “

In the new album, Bonji’s music combines guitar, piano, and singer’s staples of song lyrics alternately with synthesizers and program beats. For most of the album, Bonzi worked with co-producer, DJ Camper, who has extensive credits in hip-hop and R&B. One song, trap-tinged “Up to You,” was co-produced by Yeti Beats, better known for working with Doja Cat. The album’s title song, “Rebirth,” carries forward to a later renaissance: “We’ll change, I swear we’re going to make changes,” its chorus insists.

Bonzi was 12 years old when she began singing her songs weekly at a coffeehouse in her hometown, Rushin, Wis. She did not want to use her name, and she eventually chose Bonzi as an abstract word that looked good in capital letters. Using a stage name “I felt better being able to say everything I wanted to say,” she said, “and don’t be worried when I was singing about all these dark, dark secrets that I was giving to someone I will not tell.

She moved to Chicago with her family, where as a high school student, she performed like well-known clubs. Shubas Tavern And Hit the kitchen. She self-released a debut EP at the age of 15 as Nina Ferraro, followed by her full-length debut album as Bonzi, “Rift into the Secret of Things” – a phrase by Henry David Thoreau “Walden” – in 2013. She had already begun the basics of Foki Coffeehouse with electronic experimentation, and found fans among the city’s inseparable musicians.

“He was seriously impressed with his drive and at an early age,” Albini said by phone from his Chicago studio, Electrical Audio. “She was more serious about her decisions and the beauty of many people her age. It was clear that he listened and thought very deeply about what he had done. And the thing that drove him out right away was just an eccentric drive – not to become famous, not only to be known, but to express himself in a way that meant something to him. “

His second album, “Zone on Nine”, released in 2017, added more to Bonzi’s music. It emerged from a straightforward acoustic strum to the delicate folklore of the murmurings of the tough soundtrackers and the complex backup vocals of the delicate backup-folk; His lyrics can be shockingly direct or poetic and elusive. Now, with “Rebirth”, he has withdrawn his music. “I wanted it to be more personal,” she said.

Her interest in Japanese culture – which began with high-school appearances for Pokémon and anime – led her to beauty wabi-sabiHe said the idea that “the artworks that come through you, which you have not intended, are the ones you uncover and you keep,” she said. “You preserve these natural imperfections which are really beautiful details. It is accepting the nature of your imperfect humanity. While producing this record, I thought highly of it. Like, it’s not quite right with my voice, and it’s not like the brightest, brilliant, beautiful take, but loves the imperfection that we all have. “

She also wanted what she heard in gospel music. “Some of the best voices in the world are gospel singers,” she said. “And I like that it seems that there is nothing that is unnecessary in the production of the gospel.”

She appeared in DJ Camper’s productions – having worked with Brandi, Drake, Jay-Z, Tamer Braxton and HER – while living in Los Angeles. Coincidentally, she found her Twitter account on her birthday, which was also her elder brother’s birthday. He approached her. “We felt like we’ve known each other for a really long time,” she said. “He is a musician’s composer.” We belong at the level where we are producing and we did not talk at all. We will find something and we will just see each other for a second. And then it would mean, yes. “

“Rebirth” begins with “Caves”, which features psychedelia-tinged electric guitars and lyrics that can be about obsessive love or addiction. “I’ve been waiting all my life / just to feel this good for one night,” sings Bonzi.

He said, “You have to start at the place of letting the stuff go, and then you can explore other things.”

In “Slated”, she sings about a lonely oblivion, intended “I hope you find me,” as the electronic tone wave around her; “In eternity,” she fingers the silence and repeats, “I wish you could stay, but these things fade,” as Veena, the orchestral strings and electronics and disappears around her lustful voice . But she ends the album with a frightening confirmation: “Come to me.” Floating over the synthesizer and organ chord, she sings, “You hold / No fear / We are free.”

He said, “I feel like so much has changed so fast, and we are still adapting to the epidemic. We are still in a period of shock. Once we get out of it, I get It seems to be essentially creating a new type of life. I think a lot of positive things can happen in another part of this era of humanity. “

Like Bonji’s other songs, “Come to Me” is not merely topical, conceptual or autobiographical. “A lot of things go into the pot,” she said. “And then there’s some alchemy, and then the song comes out.”

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