Casey Graham continues to evolve as a singer songwriter and his current project Midlife Pilot is one of my favorite things happening in Richmond, VA right now. Throw in the mix in his outstanding concert photography and music video work and you have a creative machine that I feel everyone in town should know about. I sat down with Casey to talk about songwriting, his process and what he has planned next.
From video and photography to writing songs, recording and performing, you are a man who wears many hats. How do you find the time to balance everything you have going on your life? And what is your current priority?
Well, I just like to stay up late. I usually get my shit done right when I wake up and then late at night so throughout the day — I kind of just zombie it and do whatever I got to do. My main priority right now is Midlife Pilot and all this new material. We have a different producer Dave Alcan at Dave Alcan Recording and these songs have a different vibe than our last ones, especially in recording. Our past albums were by Mitch Clem at Go West Recording and I always gotta mention Mitch Clem at some point. We definitely plan to record more with Mitch in the future too.
Tell me more about your band. When was it established and who are the members of it?
Midlife Pilot really started as a recording project in my apartment on Monument Avenue somewhere between 2017 – 2018. After doing a bunch of demos, I put my first release out, then went over to Mitch Clem to listen to it with him and he loved it. Ready To Be This Way was just this shitty demo I did with middy drums and shitty vocals but he knew he could produce and make something from it. He really brought the album to life and it had just the type of vibe I was going for with this heavy hitting heavy, rock sound but I needed a real drummer. So I got with drummer Joel Hollister. He’s the man.
You’ve written some great music over the years. My favourite song of yours has got to be ‘Telepathic’ from the EP by the same title back in 2020. How has your process changed over the years? Tell me about the evolution of Midlife Pilot.
At first I was writing songs to kind of learn how to record music. That is how the project started. I got Ableton and was really learning how to hash out demos then it kind of became about the songs because I liked the way they sounded. I wasn’t really trying to start a band or a project but then the songs kind of started coming to fruition in the way that I wanted them to. At that point, I really needed to reach out and find some great people to play with.
I found Will Janowitz playing with an awesome band called Plant Sounds at the time and we fell in love. We’re best buds and he brings everything to life. And I got my other guitar player Will Gonzalez and he shreds guitar. He really helps me out as I’ve always kind of been in a lot of three piece bands. And Joel Hollister on drums. Now our songs are really incorporating each member — taking a lot of ideas from each member with my vocal and songwriting still at the forefront.
You have a new single you’ve been working on. When is the release and what can people expect? I’m personally very excited to hear what you’ve been working on.
I’ll give a few spoilers about it, might as well.
Oh, spoilers. I love those.
I haven’t released the name or any info about doing this but the song is called “North” and I have some cool artwork put together for it. The song is nontraditional in a way than I usually write because it’s a story throughout. Usually I have themes that occur and reoccur, but this one is about a bird in a nest and all the other birds being thrown out of the nest learning to fly — seeing them go down, losing vision and then where do they go? There’s a lyric in the line, is that where you really go? And that’s kind of like the story behind the song.
Right on. When do you think it’s going to drop?
I’m aiming for the first week of December unless something happens in mastering or whatever, but no later than December. I’m excited to push it — it’s definitely gonna be a fun rock song.
What does the future look like for your music? Any new video projects in the works?
I was teetering on the idea of doing a video for this new song which I’ll be putting together in the next few weeks. Something that’s really fun and fits the idea.
You make great videos. The last video I saw it had a bunch of paint in it.
The Day Trip music video was a lot! I’m not trying to orchestrate people again for this one just because of time.
It’s a great video! You have done a lot of concert photography and video over the years. Do you plan to keep doing that? What’s your favourite thing about creating visual content?
I fell in love with filming in 2020 and it was a hobby that I never thought I could do. I’ve always put myself down in that sense by putting up a wall on learning about new gear and cameras and all the technicalities. But then I just started going for it and got a camera and then fell in love with it. I just love the way two video clips look together — you put in one clip on and then the next clip and you don’t get to see that until you really put it on the screen. I just like glueing clips together and seeing how it works, editing is fun, I love to edit more than shoot.
Right on man! I will say to anyone out there that wants to hear something great from you, check out Telepathic, it is so good! People reading should go check that out while they wait for your new single. Thank you, Casey.
You can listen to more Midlife Pilot at midlifepilot.bandcamp.com