A relatively infrequent performer, local singer-songwriter Chris Bindloss, also known by the moniker Modern Crusoe, will once again hit the stage of SOhO Restaurant and Music Club on August 20 for the venue’s singer-songwriter showcase, during which he will make the live debut of songs from his new EP “Slow Bloom.” Like at his past shows, Mr. Bindloss will perform entirely solo. To recreate the sound of his two EPs, which he described as “organic” indie-folk with a generous helping of reverb, Mr. Bindloss will play every instrument himself, and will also generate additional sonic textures, loops, and instrumental passages with foot pedals.
Modern Crusoe’s musical activity the past few years has mostly consisted of writing and recording music, with performances once every month or two. Even though he wants to get more involved in live music, Mr. Bindloss explained that he wishes to avoid becoming a victim of overexposure and what in his estimation is an overabundance of live music in Santa Barbara.
“I don’t want to play too often to where people get tired of me,” he said.
The singer-songwriter didn’t begin writing and recording music seriously until 2013, at which time he was halfway through college. After transferring from UCLA to UCSB, he developed a fascination with music that took over his entire life.
“All I wanted to do was listen to music, write music, and learn new instruments,” he said.
Though most of his past live performances have been centered on guitar, Mr. Bindloss considers himself more of a piano player than a guitarist. During his August 20 SOhO performance, many of his new songs from “Slow Bloom” will be performed from a piano, with arrangements he created to allow him to match his album’s “full sound.” “Slow Bloom,” his sophomore EP, was recorded in Norway after a producer named Tyler Neil Johnson reached out to him on Soundcloud.
“I was looking to go on an adventure, mix things up, and go somewhere else to record,” Mr. Bindloss recalled.
Though his immediate reaction to Mr. Johnson’s message was one of skepticism, Mr. Bindloss decided to travel to Norway and collaborate with the producer after checking out his creative portfolio. Upon hearing his work, Mr. Bindloss thought Mr. Johnson was a producer who would understand the sound he aims for as a recording artist, something that has been difficult for him to find locally.
“I think it’s really hard to find producers in the Santa Barbara and L.A. area who get the sound,” he said.
Compared to his first EP “Foreign Language,” which the singer said was all about finding his own distinctive sound, “Slow Bloom” is more about storytelling and using all the elements of his music to “holistically” convey a song’s story. Mr. Bindloss’ musical influences include indie rock band Local Natives, R&B singer Frank Ocean, and pop star Taylor Swift, who he specifically credits with inspiring him to begin using music as a means of telling stories.
Of the six tracks on “Slow Bloom,” the singer-songwriter expressed particular love for “Marine Layer” because of how the song’s melody, lyrical symbolism, and sound aesthetic “holistically” depicts his emotional place at the time the song was written. Though lyric writing is the part of songcraft he struggles most with, Mr. Bindloss is particularly fond of the lyrics in “Marine Layer.” On the whole, he said the song communicates the “peace that I got by letting go of things.”
For Mr. Bindloss, songwriting is an outlet for whatever emotions he’s feeling at the time. Though he described his lyrical topics as “mostly introspection on who I am and my relationships with other people,” he’s sometimes not consciously aware of the emotions his songs convey.
“Sometimes you don’t consciously know what you’re feeling… Sometimes you play through your subconscious,” he said. Mr. Bindloss will take the SOhO stage at 8 p.m. for the second hour of the venue’s singer-songwriter showcase. His set will follow a performance from Lynn Houston, according to the club’s website. The artist for the showcase’s third hour has yet to be determined. Tickets for the showcase cost $8 at the doors, which open at 6:30 p.m.