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Corsicana Explores Self-Imposed Isolation in "Bellwether"

Corsicana is back with "Bellwether."
Corsicana is back with "Bellwether."
Jordan Altergott
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Denver musician Ben Pisano took his stage name, Corsicana, from a song by one of his favorite bands, The Antlers, which took their name from the song "Antlers," by The Microphones. His project's enigmatic name matches the character and music it belongs to. Pisano's music is mystifying, leaving listeners lost in the lyrics, giving them the chance to interpret his songs' meanings as they see fit.

Pisano's music career started over a decade ago, when he played in a rock band with his friends after swim practice. He picked up the bass in 2010. His band attempted to make it professionally, an ill-fated endeavor, so Pisano ventured out on his own musically in early 2013, playing guitar and eventually piano and calling his act Corsicana. 

Now, at 23, he has two albums under his belt. He works in a recording studio and makes his own music, so music currently takes up most of his life, though he also works two days a week at a coffee shop on Pearl Street.

Although Pisano says that "committing to anything for the duration of your entire life is a scary thing to do," he is fairly committed to music at the moment. His latest release, "Bellwether," has been in the works for a year and a half.

"Sometimes the way I write lyrics is I’ll just mumble nonsense and syllables and try and find something just by singing out loud," Pisano says about writing "Bellwether." "I had this line jump out at me: 'Glass jaw hinged on the pain / I cannot wash the blood I taste.”'

Finding it difficult to develop the song from that line or create a story out of it, he shut off the logical side of his brain that tells him songs have to follow a specific storyline. Instead, he started writing lyrics that resonated with him and conveyed the emotions he wanted to describe.

The song is about being "constantly immersed in this inability to move on," he says. Too often, people feel as though their trauma is something that defines them and that they are forced to identify with, and the song attempts to express that feeling.

That said, Pisano prefers that musicians leave their songs open to interpretation, allowing listeners to relate in their own way. So when it came to making a music video for "Bellwether," he let director Reilly Elizabeth lead the vision.

From visuals of Pisano staring at himself from behind in a mirror to pieces of paper with his reflection on them falling before him, the video is about a person struggling with his past and his identity.

Pisano is the only actor in the video. "The reason there isn’t anyone else in the video is kind of the point of the song," he says. "It’s a big thread that is self-imposed. It’s the self-driven state of mind. The narrator in the video puts himself in that position."

Pisano views "Bellwether" as a thesis statement of sorts for his upcoming record, which right now is stored in one long-running note on his phone. "It feels too permanent to write it down and say, 'Yep, that's what it is.'"

That long-running note is likely to continue forever, as Pisano says he doesn't believe there will ever come a day where he has said all he has to say as a lyricist. For him, there is nothing that makes him feel the way music does.

He describes that experience as "elation, release, satisfaction and inspiration. It feels like being alive."

Corsicana will be opening up for Saint Nomad at Levitt Pavilion on Friday, June 25.

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