The Biltmores (Chicago) vocalist Dan Baxter releases debut solo project “Finnegans Wake: Requiem”
Originally recorded 10 years ago, Baxter remasters his “labor of love” concept album for official release as his first solo project
Pittsburgh, PA (March 13, 2013) – Throughout the last 7 years, Dan Baxter has enjoyed great success with The Biltmores, a band he co-founded with Providence College classmates. From Rhode Island to Chicago, New York to Boston, The Biltmores have developed a loyal fan following and have recorded 3 full length albums and an EP. Their music has been featured on major commercial outlets such as MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, PBS and NBC. Two years ago, lead vocalist Dan Baxter moved to Pittsburgh, got married and has been predominantly working outside of music.
Recently, Baxter decided to unearth and release an album called Requiem he recorded in 2002 under the moniker Finnegans Wake. Finnegans Wake’s Requiem, like its name sake – the James Joyce comedic fiction – may be a struggle for some listeners to listen to; “it’s a challenging listen, you may simultaneously love it and hate it,” Baxter says of Requiem. Baxter was inspired from reading the stream-of-conscious literary work of William Faulkner and James Joyce, saying that the challenge of the material made the “…epiphanies more profound. You have to read the material slowly to make sense of it, which makes it more rewarding once you do.” Using that approach, Baxter wanted to create a concept recording that told a story with a fractured narrative. Baxter had attempted to write a concept album off and on for several years, so he had the musical structure in place before the lyrical content; “I always write the music first and just hum it out and come up with the lyrics later.” Using a friend’s computer software to record and create the instrumentation, Baxter says the album was born as a result of “having a lot of time on my hands” and “a lot going on” at this period of his life. The record took 11 months to conceive, write, record and mix. It took 10 years for the recording to be mastered.
The album is one that the listener needs to listen to closely in order to appreciate it; “you have to play it loud…you’re really not going to enjoy it if you don’t do that.” Track 3 – Kaleidoscope is one that Baxter is especially proud of. “I was able to do things I had never done before on the track and I’m proud of the melody, writing and recording. Self-recording really opened up a lot of opportunities that I couldn’t accomplish within a traditional band construct”
Requiem may be the first solo project for Baxter but there is no denying the influence of his prior success. “Everything influences (an artist),” says Baxter.