By Tiffany Razzano
For some, art imitates life. For others, like singer/songwriter/guitarist Patty Chung, art is life.
Not only does the New York University grad write and perform music as a solo artist, but she also has a solo side project that goes by the moniker Glory Winds and a new rock outfit called Brave Girl Run.
Chung, who grew up in Phoenix, packed up her guitar and headed to NYC after high school to major in music at NYU. "But I think, in retrospect, a formal education wasn't entirely necessary for me," she said. "Gigging, collaborating and recording in NYC is raw training ground for any aspiring musician. It can make or break your relationship with music."
During her junior year, she established a relationship with the antifolk haven the Sidewalk Cafˇ, attending and occasionally participating in Lach's Monday Night Antihoot. "Whoever says NYC punk aesthete is dead couldn't be more wrong," Chung said. "It's very much alive in this circle of musicians. I guess it's a community that is very much a community driven by having fun, collaboration and not plotting entry into 'the industry.' That was my real education in musicianship, and by far still the most valuable." Sidewalk also challenged Chung's notions of what makes music 'good' or 'bad' and further ingrained her in the DIY ethic.
After graduation, she stayed in New York for a short period before heading back out west, this time to Los Angeles. Once there, with her music heading in a new direction, Chung created her Glory Winds project, culling the name from a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. "I felt generally uncomfortable mixing my recent songs with some of my older stuff," she said. "And the tone of my recent work was undeniably more pensive, maybe even more experimental." The term Glory Winds reminded her of growing up surrounded by the Arizona desert. "I wanted a name that provoked natural phenomena and the desert... The name Glory Winds reminds me of the summer dust storms we'd have in Phoenix growing up. They were bizarre and destructive, but amazing to watch."
And inspired by K Records, she started her own label, Oddball Rolling, on which she released her self-recorded EP, 3/3 Time - an offering of quirky, lo-fi, indie folk-pop - which can be purchased online at oddballrolling.com. "I think one of the most disheartening things a songwriter can go through is paying grand sums of money to be recorded by a person who either can't meet your vision or who is generally uninterested in your project," Chung said. In New York, she had briefly worked in a recording studio in Tribeca, so she set up "a modest operation" for herself at home in California. "It's probably the best 'long, arduous walk through the park' I've ever had. I have so much more sonic possibly and - in the words of DIY king R. Stevie Moore - 'freedom.'"
Easily the best track on 3/3 Time - and the one that Chung is most proud of - is "Let's Not Be Afraid," about two gay high school students growing up in a small, rural town, who fall in love and leave. "I wanted to try my hand at tackling issues of gay marriage and equality without being didactic or preachy," she said. "In actuality, it could be about all kinds of equality. It could be construed as a couple who lives in a community frowning upon mixing races, religions, etc. I wanted the song to express fear, hope and courage to live as you are despite the odds."
Since releasing this EP, Chung was driven by "boredom and a need to collaborate" to form Brave Girl Run, a more rock-oriented group and her first band. The group will be playing shows with Streets on Fire in the L.A. area this fall. Then, this winter they'll record their first EP.
For more information on Chung and her projects, go to oddballrolling.com, myspace.com/glorywinds or myspace.com/bravegirlrun.
Published August 22, 2008
Perpetual Toxins © 2006-2012. All rights reserved.