Craig Owens Leaves Chiodos Behind, Previews New Sound With BXC's 'One Car Funeral': Exclusive Premiere
With Chiodos firmly in the rearview mirror, former frontman Craig Owens is onto the next one -- and one that's much different than any fan could have imagined.
With his new project BXC a.k.a. badXchannels, Owens has moved from ferocious rock to chill alternative soul -- or, as he describes it, "my version of it," drawing from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, early The Weeknd and The Neighborhood's EP and B-sides. BXC's first EP, the five-song WHYDFML comes out Nov. 18. Check out an exclusive premiere of the video for the single "One Car Funeral" below.
"This was the most natural thing I could do," Owens, whose career has also included collaborations with Dr. Dre, D12 and Jon Connor, tells Billboard. "It just feels right. It just feels natural. It's just the right time for me right now, in my life, to do this. I wasn't sitting around thinking, 'How can I pivot on everybody? How can I do something to surprise everybody?' or anything like that. I get that it does surprise people. I find some excitement and joy in that."
The Detroit-based Owens has been working on BXC for about a year and a half, recording primarily with producer Erik Ron (Panic! At the Disco) in Hollywood as well as one track with EDM artist Missio Main in Austin, Texas. "Originally I turned down time with [Ron] 'cause he is known for rock stuff, and I felt like, 'He's not gonna get what I wanted to do,'" Owens recalls. "But we listened to some Frank Ocean and said, 'Let's try to do this track that's reminiscent of that,' and we nailed out of the get-go and just kept going from there. I just kind of chased it. I didn't know exactly what it was gonna sound like. We experimented all over the place to find this sound." All along, however, Owens had a bit of apprehension about how this stylistic left turn would be received by his rock fan base.
"I was a little scared about it at first," he acknowledges. "Alienating a whole group of people that supported me to get me to where I am now and turning my back on them -- it's not like that at all. I've played it for people who can't comprehend it, people close to me. I kind of expected it to be like that. But I think people are embracing it, and they like the fresh vibes. I think I'm at a point where people have some faith in me and will give me a pass to go somewhere new."
Owens will be taking BXC on the road later this month, starting with just him and a DJ but with plans to incorporate live musicians in a variety of configurations. "I'm going to change it up on a bunch of different tours," says Owens, who will also be producing other artists and is working on a collaboration with D12's Kuniva. "This is it for me. This is what I'm going to be doing full-time. I think I need to introduce this to my fans, one on one. I'm planning to put out a few records with this. I'm just excited to develop this thing and move forward in the next phase of my musical orientation."
That does mean that Owens previous phase, with Chiodos, has come to an end after 15 years. "It's done," Owens confirms. "It just couldn't stay afloat. There were just kind of, not necessarily bad vibes, but we came to the realization that we can't do it full-time. I think it just stopped becoming a passion for all of us, so we said, 'Alright, let's stop.'"