Kill Rock Stars
March 31, 2023
1. Stop Scrolling
2. Chan Says
3. Wicked (Chan’s Edit)
4. Enter Chan
5. Chan Eats Her Chrysalis
6. Chan Meets The Sea Witch
7. Chan Burns Her Bridges
8. Chan Divines Our Future With Her Magic 8 Ball
9. Life Will Form My Body
ABOUT THE RELEASE
“Stop scrolling”, poet and singer-songwriter Caleb Nichols begins, on the opening track of their new EP Chan Says & Other Songs. It’s less of a command and more of a suggestion: an ask for attention at the start of a cycle of spoken word poetry and songs that explores Nichols’ identity as a non-binary person navigating spaces that range from childhood desire to present uncertainty, doubt, and dissociation.
Before Nichols was born, their parents thought they might be female, and were going to name them “Chantal” and here Nichols presents Chan to the world for the first time— a new part of their identity as an artist, poet, musician, and non-binary person.
Time is a major theme in the poems, as Nichols interrogates futurity and whether or not we can really live anywhere but in the past. From “Chan Eats Her Chrysa- lis”: “looking out/ at all these galaxies/ is really just looking back/ now thinking/ that anyway you look/ you’re really just/ looking behind you.” As Chan emerges from the liminal space of the cocoon she engages in an act of devouring the past, and through eating “the black sac” crosses a threshold into a queer time that is not present, future, or past, but between.
The two songs on the EP explore new musical ground for the Kill Rock Stars recording artist, from the 5/4 Stereolab-infused groove of “Chan Says” (which could feel equally at home on an Aldous Harding record) to the dusty, 90’s hip-hop funk of “Wicked (Chan’s Edit)” Nichols’ songcraft tries on a new set of threads and looks good doing it. “I’m not the good witch, I’m the bad one” Nichols sings on “Wicked”, a dark fairy tale track that invokes the dream-pop of Beach House, infused with existential angst and a sort of sassy certainty about being unsure. “I’ll never tell you my name/I’ll never tell you my name” Nichols sings in the track’s funky refrain— a declaration that our true identities are closely guarded secrets, to be cherished, and kept like a trea- sure.
Produced by Caleb (poems) and Zach Rogue of Rogue Wave (music) Chan Says & Other Songs is the audio accompaniment to Nichols’ new collection of poems of the same name, published by Bottlecap Press. The collection, which Guggenheim Fellow Eduardo C. Corral called “moving and marvelously queer” is out now and features 36 pages of new poetry from Nichols.