Graham Czach shares lush, genre-blending concept album 'Originalien' via Ropeadope

Article Contributed by Big Hassle Media | Published on Friday, May 26, 2023

Today, LA-based multi-instrumentalist rocker Graham Czach shares his genre-bending full length concept album Originalien out everywhere now via Ropeadope. Alongside the release of the full project, Czach shares the birth story of the album with the momentous track and video, "DOB 2023" out now.

The solo LP Originalien, out today, was born out of the life-altering effects of the pandemic, the drive Czach has to bring about positive change, and the support the artist had from his closest friends and family. Expanding on the significance of the album, Czach says, "It feels like a culmination of my long and diverse career in music that tells a story about universal messages and issues I’m passionate about to help make a difference." He continues, "The world has changed a lot in the last few years, and this is my way of trying to bring people together to realize what’s important in this fleeting life, which is love, kindness, compassion, and respect." It was throughout this creation process that Czach turned inward to expose his deepest vulnerabilities, culminating in his most realized, honest work to date.

Over eleven tracks, Originalien blazes a new path where music doesn’t need to fit into a genre or be classified, rather it ties together a wide range of influences from the past and present to propel the music forward into the future in a new light with a completely unique sound free from any constraints. Czach’s work commands instant attention with its sincerity wrapped in soundscapes rich in texture and depth. Czach expands on his process and the new album, articulating, “I’m a very visual composer inspired by real life experiences, issues, and causes, where I can see the scene and story unfolding through the music. This album comes from a very deep place in my being during some of the hardest times the world, myself included, has seen and lived through."

As it took shape, Originalien quickly became a collaborative effort with many contributions from an incredibly vast range of artists and musicians, including the Budapest Scoring Symphony Orchestra. Most recently, Czach shared, "Can't See A Thing" featuring Angelo Moore on vocals, and drummer Makaya McCraven, who also added drums to "Cut You To The Bone." Al Cleveland III (BTS, Bryce Vine) played drums on five different tracks. Dylan McGee Jones (Booker T) played electric guitar on five tracks, 12-string acoustic guitar on "Get Through," and synth bass on "Born Soldier." The album was orchestrated, arranged, produced, engineered, and mixed in Los Angeles by Graham Czach with additional production by Dylan McGee Jones, mastered by Howie Weinberg and Will Borza at Howie Weinberg Mastering in Los Angeles, and “Come Home Again” was mixed by Geoff Foster at AIR Studios in London, UK.

On the album's genre-blending sonic qualities and his hope for the album's impact, Czach continues, "The limitless realm of sounds in all forms and genres of music, even in nature, help me to conceive ideas and bring the music to life, utilizing the textures of any and all instruments, as well as the help from the amazing talented musicians I collaborate with. I’m just trying to leave the world a better place than it was when I entered it.”

The album's concept begins with the project's orchestral, psychedelic opening track, "DOB 2023" out today. The track follows the collection's main character, his birth marked by the song. Sonically, it builds to represent this pivotal, monumental moment led by a primal, organic symphony orchestra. Czach says, "The lyrics are in the first person perspective of the lead character who is being born and coming into his consciousness asking all sorts of questions about life and what is happening." He continues, "He starts to remember that he has lived before and where he came from in past lives. This is the awakening of his soul." Ultimately, the track captures the instinctive, raw emotions of renewal, hope and struggle.

Watch "DOB 2023" (Official Music Video)

The release of the full album follows the previously shared powerful anti-racism track "Can't See A Thing" featuring longtime collaborator Fishbone's Angelo Moore. The track came to Czach in a dream that showed the two performing the song live and thought it was a cover. After waking up, Czach realized it wasn’t a cover song he was hearing and immediately grabbed a guitar and wrote the track's chorus, where Czach and Moore engage in a call and response. The track, which was created in a palindrome to be the same forwards and backwards, continues the concept story of the album that emphasizes the importance of anti-racism and calls on humanity to unite against a pervasive systemic issue that plagues American society. Makaya McCraven joins the track on drums, Dylan McGee Jones on guitar, as well as contributions from the Budapest Scoring Symphony Orchestra, further amplifying the message and bringing the song to life.

The first taste of the project was the smooth track, "Follow Me and I'll Follow You," featuring GRAMMY nominated singer-songwriter and keyboardist Rachel Eckroth. It's a reminder of the vast amount of love that exists in all forms, including its complexities and its ever-changing nature, as the track lyrically and sonically reflects. It delves into addiction, loss and depression but ultimately emphasizes the power love has to assist in overcoming hardship. Czach explains, "When you feel lost, helpless, depressed, full of hate and anger, or tempted by the demons within, because your love is low, 'Follow Me and I’ll Follow You' back to the light of infinite love around us." The song arrived with a self-directed, artificial intelligence-generated video that was created by Bonji Rum FX Italy and directed by Czach.

Chicago native now based in Los Angeles, Graham Czach is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, activist, producer and composer who has been masterfully fusing jazz, rock, and pop for over a decade. Chicago Tribune praised Czach’s 2010 intimate debut album Lucid, “Graham Czach is already a music lifer… The album swings between polar extremes from guitar-heavy, prog-rock jams into more tender fare like “True Love”, a Paul McCartney-esque ballad bathed in lush strings.” In 2015, Czach shared his sophomore release Star By Star EP including songs co-produced by producer/engineer Bjorn Thorsrud (Smashing Pumpkins), Manny Sanchez (Fall Out Boy), and GRAMMY winner Greg Magers (J. Ivy). The musician later moved to Los Angeles where he formed Rebel Rampage in 2017, a protest rock power trio and released the debut full-length album Divided We Fall in late 2018 featuring Angelo Moore (Fishbone) and Emily Armstrong (Dead Sara).

In 2020, when the pandemic halted live music entirely, Czach began crafting his third solo album beginning with the ambitious "Come Home Again." The track features 33 professional musicians and friends benefiting the COVID Musicians Relief Fund to help musicians out of work and in need. With the success of this endeavor came a flood of creativity taking him on a journey for the next ten months of writing, arranging, and organizing the “One Human” Project featuring a world orchestra and 123 artists from 110 countries benefiting UNICEF, which sought to foster global unity and went on to break a world record for Most Nationalities Contributing Vocals to a Musical Recording (Single Song). Notable artists featured include Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee), Juno award winner Alpha Yaya Diallo, GRAMMY winner Dobet Gnahoré, Senegalese legend Cheikh Lô, and many more. See a full list of the artists here. Today, Czach, alongside a group of acclaimed collaborators, shares an expansive body of work that encapsulates who he is today, as an artist and a person, after honing his craft for over a decade.

Originalien, the lush, far-reaching concept album by Czach is out everywhere now via Ropeadope.