by MATT MOLINAR/Opinion Editor
Benjamin Cissner has gone from living in rural Kansas to performing in tours throughout Europe.
Cissner debuted his album, “Birds in the Night,” with a single titled “Follow You Down.” The album was released on April 22 and is available on SoundCloud.
The aspiring musician recalls growing up in a small town. However, in a small town, opportunities for artists are not as prevalent as there would be in a larger city.
“I grew up in a really rural town about an hour away from there [Kansas City],” Cissner said. “Then in ’95, I moved to Austin and lived here until about 2004.”
After living in Austin for almost a decade, Cissner decided to pack his bags and move 2,000 miles away to Seattle, WA. But he soon returned to Austin.
Cissner says that getting to where he is now required hard work. From working in funeral homes to selling music at a record store, Cissner has always been on his feet.
“My first job, in high school, was at a funeral home that was about four doors down from my house,” Cissner explains. “There weren’t a lot of jobs available where I grew up, but that’s no excuse to not get a job. I mostly just cleaned and delivered flowers. I would clean the prep room after they would embalm people. The whole thing sounds goofy in retrospect.”
Cissner says he has also worked driving cabs, worked as a bar tender, and played in different bands.
“Musically, I didn’t start playing in bands until a little bit later,” Cissner says. “I have terrible stage fright.”
The first band Cissner began performing with, as well as toured with, was “Winds Under the Durby” before joining a new setting and falling into a new experience he wouldn’t soon forget.
“Jason, one of the other band members, got offered to play with Radio VPR,” Cissner said. “So, I just tagged along. I had never been to Europe until I toured with Radio VPR.”
Cissner ended up touring Europe multiple times with Radio VPR. According to Cissner, he had only ever toured in Canada and in Mexico before.
“It was absolutely amazing,” he recalls. “We spent a good chunk of the time in Northern Italy, stopping at different vineyards. It was the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had. Lots of bread, cheese and swimming in the Mediterranean.”
Cissner played with the group off and on, as well as branching off and playing with “The Golden Bow.” However, the group fell apart, Cissner says. This is when he began performing solo shows and writing his own music. He also decided to return to Seattle.
“I like playing under my name, because it gives me full creative liberty,” Cissner says. “I write my own music on my free time anyway.”
Cissner will soon be releasing “Birds in the Night” as his first solo album. Cissner explains that the album will contain songs that shine light on bad experiences.
“In this album, I tried to find ways to vocalize abstract emotions. I wrote a bit about bad experiences with friends. Some of the songs on the album are kind of jokey.”
In July, Cissner is scheduled to tour the West Coast. He says he is excited for both the Tour and writing more music for his listeners to enjoy.