Introducing Chet Williams.
Chester “Chet” Williams is the type of musician who doesn’t hold back – the kind that isn’t afraid to take risks and experiment with music.
He’s also no stranger when it comes to musical success. Currently a junior marketing major, Williams has played jazz festivals and 2009 Warped Tour with his former band Awkward Silence. Williams’ solo album “We All Walk Fast and Nod in Unison” is set for release on Feb. 25.
The album, which has a folk influence infused with pop and rock, was funded through a Kickstarter fundraiser and was recorded with the help of guest musicians. Hoping for even more success for his solo album than his former acts, Williams is preparing CD release shows in Philly and Scranton. The Philly show is set for Feb. 25 at PhilaMOCA. The Temple News sat down with Williams and discussed his solo project.
The Temple News: What made you decide to take up a solo project and move away from your previous bands: Awkward Silence and So Long, Pluto?
Chet Williams: When I came to college my bands went in separate directions. So, taking up a solo project was something I wanted to do for years. Having a band made it easier to get into the scene and made me realize what I had to do to succeed.
TTN: Your solo album incorporates different musicians to create a full-on collaborative album. What inspired that idea?
CW: I wanted to see what other people would do. I showed them skeletons of the songs and they made it up and sent it back. I knew they were good enough and they did stuff I never even thought of. I had musicians from different states come in, too. Some of the musicians I never even rehearsed with in person. It took longer than recording with a set band but it was worth it, [and] my songs sound totally different. Another reason I did it was because, due to the huge scale of the project, I didn’t want to keep it all to myself.
TTN: How did you come up the idea to finance your album through the website kickstarter.com?
CW: I had a realization that I didn’t have the money to pay for the album. I had to think of something that would make people want to donate and get something in return. I emphasized the rewards for their generosity. Seventy-nine people donated and I raised a little more than $1,800.
TTN: Each level of donation received something in return including a handshake for donating $1, to a personal performance for $150. How did you establish each reward?
CW: I tried to think of what I would want and how much it would be worth for me. Obviously, you don’t buy a CD for $25 so I had to think. To me, a CD is worth $10, so you pay the $10 for the CD and have a $15 donation.
TTN: What was the recording process like?
CW: I recorded at East Room Recording in Kensington, [Pa.] with Carl Yost. I wrote some of the songs a couple years ago, some a month before recording. But it was weird because every song was an acoustic guitar and my voice. I didn’t know what it would sound like with a full band. It was a risk but at the same time it was fun to leave that up to other people.
TTN: You’ve played a lot of different shows. What’s the most fun you’ve had playing?
CW: There’s a place called the Maggot House where I played an electric show. It was unbelievably insane. Things were getting knocked over, people were crowd surfing and it made me want to play more full-band shows – it was packed and full of energy. Nobody got hurt either so that was good. I’m trying to make my CD release shows even bigger and crazier.
TTN: Do you prefer more intimate, small shows versus large venues?
CW: I really like being right on top of the audience. Playing Warped Tour was kind of strange because it was me, the security guards and then the audience. I’m not trying to put down playing Warped Tour but there’s something about people grabbing the microphone off of you and singing the songs that you wrote. That happens at really intimate places where people are really into what you’re doing.
Brianna McGrody can be reached at email@example.com.