Duos have been making waves since the dawn of time, especially when it comes to music. Think of all those distinguished duos that have come and gone over the years. Well, now add Bed Signs to that list because Casey Livingston and Chris Lonon are making big strides with their music, and are ready to do more with their 2023 release, ‘Silver Lining Breakdown,’ out on March 24th. We talked to Livingston about how these two came to be, North Carolina cuisine, their single “Veronica Ruse,” and so much more!
Kendra: You two met in and around the local music scene in North Carolina, but what initially sparked the friendship that’d eventually lead to making a record together?
Casey Livingston: It was really organic. I had always really liked Chris—you know when you just have refreshing, great conversations with someone, though short and in-between band sets? I’ve always had that with Chris. Years ago, he set up a musician’s collective and asked my bandmates in No Me Toques if we were interested. It didn’t work out at the time, but I always thought about it in the back of my mind.
Finally, I found the courage to reach out to Chris about it; I didn’t even have his number, so I went through his wife Megan. This was Christmastime 2000. The following May 2021, Chris asked if I could sing backup for a song he’d written. Then, he gave me a blank composition to write lyrics/vocal melodies. I had never done that before. That became “Radiant Moment.”
While working on it, I ended up hearing additional melodies that turned into “Casey’s Song.” It’s called that because it’s the first part I heard in my head that I shared and made a full song out of. Chris was like, “Yeah…that doesn’t go with ‘Radiant Moment,’ but let’s make that song!”
From there, we trade off: Sometimes I hear and record vocal parts, and Chris writes the music around them, and sometimes he gives me blank compositions to write over.
Kendra: Last month I talked to another duo from your neck of the woods. Must be something in the water there – producing so many musical pairs. For you two, what’s the most rewarding thing about being able to bounce ideas off of just one other person?
Casey Livingston: I’d say just that: only having to coordinate two opinions and two schedules. Chris and I have great respect for and trust in each other if either has a problem with a decision or a specific musical part. Even if we don’t hear the same issues, we trust that the other knows what they’re talking about and try our best to work it out.
Kendra: Since we noted North Carolina a bit already, I wanted to know – if you had to compare ‘Silver Lining Breakdown’ to a local eatery in NC, which would you choose and why? Also, what dish from there would you say would be the best opening track?
Casey Livingston: As we worked on this project, we kept finding ourselves at Intermezzo Pizzeria and Café in Charlotte. From the dim lighting to the wooden ceiling beams and cozy alcoves, I hope our album creates a similar vibe: a little dreamy, eclectic, and intimate. Intermezzo is a locally owned café, and you can feel the comfortable, family vibe. However, home and family aren’t always the smoothest, so there is certainly friction on some tracks.
And if you are what you eat, Chris and I are the chicken pesto pizza. In that case, a shared beet salad would be the opener: fresh, perfectly cooked with oranges and the slightest kick of fennel. We might be a new band, but we each have a lot of experience and, just as with finding the right flavor, we pay attention to nuances and subtleties in the music we’re creating.
When I asked my friend Deborah Greene, who took our band photo, what dish Silver Lining Breakdown was, she responded, “Mussels and white wine at The Artisan’s Palate in Charlotte: clean, classy, innocent with a hint of exotic.” We’ll take that!
Kendra: Let’s talk about “Veronica Ruse.” It’s a song about betrayal but in a friendship. We’re so used to songs about romantic ships but rarely do we set sail on a friendship in song. Do you think that every broken friendship can ultimately be mended?
Casey Livingston: My first instinct is to say, “No, not all friendships can be mended.” But I guess it depends on how you define “mended” and “friendships.” If someone is a true friend, the love is unconditional. So, you always forgive—you always do your best to “mend.” That’s not to say the relationship doesn’t change. After something is broken, it can never return to its original condition. Hopefully, new chapters are possible, if you really love this person, but the friendship cannot return to what it once was.
Kendra: The video for “Veronica Ruse” utilizes AI artwork. I have seen many pictures of people on Twitter and Facebook but this is the first time I’ve seen it used for something like this. What drew you to this art form for this song? And will you likely do this again for future videos from this record?
Casey Livingston: The local filmmaker Joe Cornelius, who helped us make the video for the 2nd single “Tongue Shred” actually turned Chris on to the Dall-E website/AI thing. They both were very interested in the technology and thought we might have a chance to put out one of the 1st videos utilizing it! So, they went for it. It’s really cool because the video uses images the AI created in the style of four famous artists interpreting concepts and lyrics from the song. It also went to some really wild areas on its own that we didn’t expect. I think Chris might be utilizing the process for a video for 1 more track from the LP –“Radiant Moment”- that I mentioned before…
Kendra: Time for a side note – We’d love to know when you perform, do you have any sort of lucky charms you take with you on stage, or do you have any sort of pre-show traditions you do to ensure you have a great show?
Casey Livingston: I usually drink “Throat Coat” tea and use this terrible throat spray that’s like 10 years old. It’s these herbs that taste disgusting, even before they expired. Chris always makes sure that he carries a screwdriver and extra batteries to every show because his pedals/pick-ups always seem to lose power whenever he doesn’t!
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Silver Lining Breakdown’ out on March 24th, what else can the world expect as we focus on spring and soon enough, summer?
Casey Livingston: We’re writing our second record that will hopefully be ready in the fall and working towards playing live shows. We don’t have a full live band put together yet, and that is something we are excited about trying because it will mean working with other musicians again!