Some songwriters are very much products of their upbringings and their surroundings, and it informs who they are as artists and performers. The influence that his hometown has had on his songwriting is undeniable for Chaepter and his brand new single “The Boonies,” which comes ahead of the release of the Chicago-based songwriter’s debut record Kicking The Cat on October 7th.
While he moved to Chicago a few years ago, Chaepter’s roots lay within small-town Illinois, in rural communities where hopes and dreams go to die and fade away into oblivion. This is the general theme behind both the album and this specific single “The Boonies,” and what both cities and rural communities represent to their inhabitants, and how our surroundings dictate the individuals that we become.
Explaining his thought process behind the new single, Chaepter states:
“When I wrote ‘The Boonies,’ I was thinking a lot about the rural Midwest. It’s full of so much decay: dying towns, abandoned factories, Jesus billboards. I wanted to capture that feeling of surrealness that comes with seeing it or being around it, as well as the collective anxiety of rapture and end times, and how that exists in both cities and rural communities. City dwellers and rural folks alike feel that the end is near, but for different reasons.”
Kicking The Cat has been in the works now for a few years, Chaepter’s debut full-length that he wrote, recorded, and produced entirely on his own as a sort of bedroom project. Collectively, its 14 songs are his own musings on aloneness, family trauma, and religious decay. He has described the record as a “Midwest gothic” about how trauma tends to manifest itself and then get passed on from generation to generation. ‘Kicking the cat’ is a metaphor of how this trauma gets passed down, taken from an old adage Chaepter was exposed to as a child; boss gets mad at worker, worker goes home and yells at their partner, the partner gets angry with their child, and the child kicks the cat.
Growing up in a Catholic family and attending Catholic school, Chaepter saw a lot of religious decay and got a firsthand look at how it moulded himself, his community, and his own worldview. There’s a significant connection here in how geographical regions influence who we are and our emotional state. Wise and mature beyond his years, Chaepter is certainly not short on big ideas, and he’s capably put together a very refined, cultivated, and progressive piece of work.
Kicking The Cat Track Listing:
1. If You Love Me
2. In Flux
5. New Day New Bby
6. Oddity / Lobotomy
7. As My Witness
8. On the Mend
10. The Boonies
11. The Prairie
12. The Preacher Has Been Lying
13. Kicking the Cat
14. Habits (the best in people)