The Star Prairie Project is the creation of Nolen R. Chew Jr., a songwriter from Star Prairie, Wisconsin. His mission is to write original songs and make radio ready records. Nolen collaborates with musicians and producers from LA to London to bring his songs to life. The Star Prairie Project is named for the village of Star Prairie (50) miles NE of Minneapolis/St Paul and the Alan Parsons Project from back in the day.
The Star Prairie Project released their debut album, ‘Panacea’ in July 2020 to much critical claim. The album accrued over 1.25M streams. In December of 2020 they followed up with their sophomore album ‘Surreal’ that garnered over 3.5M streams with the featured single, ‘The Crying’ reaching #26 on the iTunes UK Top 100 Rock chart.
This go around, The Star Prairie Project includes, Nolen R. Chew Jr., Songwriter, Manager (Star Prairie, WI) and features Rudiger (LA) Vocals, Instrumentation and Production.’Rudiger’s Revenge’:The Star Prairie Project is set to release their third album, ‘Rudiger’s Revenge’ on August 6, 2021.
‘Rudiger’s Revenge’ is a ten song Americana/Indie Folk album.
‘Rudiger’s Revenge’ is a departure from the two previous albums. The rock anthems will return for sure, but for this effort the project focuses on an Indie folk rock bent along with a distinct Americana zest and zeal. An agreeable and piquant flavor imparting a fun and fanciful experience.
Complete with toe tapping lyrical melodies, eye opening guitar riffs, and heart searing ballads, the adventure is familiar yet distinct, simple yet nuanced. Check it out. You won’t be disappointed. It will leave you with a smile.
Lisa: Hello again Nolen! You’ve just released the third album titled ‘Rudiger’s Revenge’. Is there a theme that connects the songs, or is it something else? What’s the story behind it?
Nolen: During the recording of our first album, ‘Panacea’ during the first months (lock-down) of the Covid pandemic. Rudiger and I were churning out these indie folk and Americana songs. It wasn’t an intentional theme we were trying to develop. It’s just where we were at that particular phase of our song writing. We’d finish one and another one would pop out. I originally intended to release these songs as the second Star Prairie Project album but by that time we were already well on the way into what was to be the ‘Surreal’ album with Marcello Vieira and Ricardo Dikk. It was only later that I realized how congruent all the songs were. There’s no deep meaning behind why we called the album, ‘Rudiger’s Revenge’. I came up with it because it sounded cool and we stuck with it.
Lisa: I’ve had a pleasure of listening to it and it is amazing. What inspired “Hopeless People” in particular?
Nolen: ‘Hopeless People’ is sort of my Beatles ‘Eleanor Rigby’ song. But instead of a lonely widow, ‘Hopeless People’ hints of fallen affluence. Tells the story of a person who had it made at one time and then crashed and burned. Definitely an experimental studio-based type of song. ‘Hopeless People’ and ‘The World Goes Around’ are two songs that Rudiger and I co-wrote that are a departure from the other songs on the album. This song features a harder edged guitar riff and a cynical and melancholy demeanor.I think people can relate to stories where we struggle and best laid plans are crushed. It’s part of our life experience. Well for most of us anyway ha!
Lisa: Last time we spoke, you were talking about your approach to recording, and you wanting to fully manifest the songs potential. Is there something new you’ve learned in the meantime, regarding the recording?
Nolen: I’ve learned not to be so egocentric. In The Star Prairie Project I’m surrounded by some incredible talent and I think artists work best when they are unconstrained in the creative process. It doesn’t bother me that some of the best ideas on an album weren’t necessarily mine. Also, I’ve learned to take a few more risks in the recording process. We joke about being “out there” in our composition and production some times. Our listeners are going to hear some of that in our next album coming out this winter. I know with ‘Rudiger’s Revenge’ some fans of the harder rock anthems may be disappointed but then again crossing over genres has introduced our music to a whole new audience. But the harder rock will return and lacing it with some Americana, Indie folk and pop is refreshing and different
Lisa: How do you nourish your creative side when you’re not working? And how do you avoid burnout?
Nolen: I love to write songs! To me it is relaxing and stimulating. When I’m writing a song I’m fixated on a single point of focus. It clears my mind from the business side of music making that tends to demand more and more of my time. I live in a lake cabin in western Wisconsin. Weather permitting, I love to take my old beat up acoustic guitar (I call it my campfire guitar) down to the lake and sit on the bench on the end of my dock and just noodle around. I can’t tell you how many songs started on the end of my dock. Other than song writing I like to take long walks along the lake and enjoy nature. I like to fish as well. I’m also an avid reader and love to slip away for a while behind a good book.
Lisa: Can we expect the live promotion for the new album, if yes when and where?
Nolen: Well, we’re more of a recording act than a live band. And we’re spread out from from LA to Kentucky to Portugal. But we have recently produced a number of music videos and plan to do even more in the near future. This is one way to introduce our selves to our listeners. If there is an overwhelming demand to go live, we’ll see. Right now the Covid situation isn’t as stable as we once hoped it would be by now so that’s a factor as well. But we’ll see.
Lisa: What does your curiosity look like? How do you explore things?
Nolen: I’m a pretty curious person by nature. I have a tendency to approach things more philosophically than analytically. I’m definitely more of a right brained person. I try to be open minded and open to less traditional approaches. I hate how everything has become so political these days. We tend to get driven into one camp or another. I don’t believe most things are binary. Either or options drive me nuts! I’m more of a third option kind of guy ha!
Lisa: Do you get creative blocks? If so, what do you do to move past them?
Nolen: Luckily so far I haven’t had many creative blocks. Usually when I do it’s a blockage over lyrics for a song. I remember seeing an interview of John Lennon talking about writer’s block. And I remember him saying if he was stuck writing a song, he would just walk away from it for a while. Put it down for a while then come back to it later when he was fresh. I’ve found this to be good advice. When I’m stuck, I’ll just give it a break and come back to it a day or two later. It seems to work for me.
Lisa: What’s next for The Star Prairie Project?
Nolen: The Star Prairie Project just teamed up with ‘Minds Behind The Music’ (MBTM) where some of the world’s biggest stars come together. From rock to pop they’re all united for one cause – to save the planet. What’s it all about? All these stars and more are coming together in various ways to spread a message – to save the planet! To inspire through music. To get people thinking and doing. A call to action! MBTM will also be releasing a charity compilation album featuring both music stars and indies. This album has been worked on for months by all those involved and trust me, it is amazing! The Star Project has contributed their song, ‘Why Can’t We Get Along’ to the album. What’s more coming in 2022, the new Minds Behind the Music Record label. We recently learned The Star Prairie Project will be one of a few Indie acts chosen to launch the new label. We are extremely excited about this opportunity and already have a brand new 14 song album in the can, ready for the launch. So stand by for more new music from The Star Prairie Project right behind our current album ‘Rudiger’s Revenge’.
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