Released July 9, ‘Empty Hands’ is the new single from Stephen Chopek. The track comes ahead of the August 6 release of his new EP, ‘Dweller’, on Declared Goods Records.
Stephen Chopek is a name you might know if you read the album small print. Before he released his first solo album in 2012, he had spent more than a decade behind the drums, on tour, and in the studio with other such artists as Charlie Hunter, John Mayer, and Jesse Malin, among many others.
Chopek is much more than a drummer however, and plays all the instruments on ‘Dweller’, a 6 track EP, which takes its name from lockdown – the universally shared experience of having nowhere to go. For a touring artist to be suddenly stationary for the first time in his life as a professional musician, it was a shock to the system. Chopek had become a dweller. It gave him an opportunity not usually afforded, and he was able to take time with new songs.
“I got to a new place with my writing because I was able to completely focus on this one thing,” Chopek says. “I had the time, so there was no rush.”
With its classic hooks reminiscent of such iconic songwriters as Matthew Sweet, Ben Kweller, Bobby Bare Jr., Paul Westerberg, Tommy Keene, and Evan Dando, ‘Dweller’ has an all round appeal. The EP is preceded by two singles – ‘All Play No Work’, which was released on the 8th of June, and the latest, ‘Empty Hands’.
Chopek’s wife accepted a job which took them to Atlanta, Georgia, from Memphis, Tennessee, necessitating Stephen setting a timeframe for his songs.
“The move gave me a deadline,” he says. “If I didn’t finish recording at home in Memphis, it would have really disrupted the process.”
Once in Atlanta, he was able to listen to his songs again differently, revisiting them anew, and so he re-arranged them, and started the mixing process, before sending them back to Memphis for mastering by Matt Qualls at Young Avenue Sound.
New single, ‘Empty Hands’, brings to mind that of Alan Parsons Project – think ‘Eye In The Sky’ – a timeless sound but with a contemporary edge. Chopek’s characteristic drumming is front and centre, but his vocals are also pleasant and warm, while the synths and guitars are jaunty – even ebullient.
The track comes with a stop motion music video which sees Chopek in the kitchen, in a series of different outfits. It’s very simple and yet it feels entirely appropriate to the music. You can watch the video below.