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A singular work of many: LA’s Beauty In Chaos on collaboration and new ‘Behind The Veil’ LP

8 October 2022

LA-based collective Beauty In Chaos recently released the Behind The Veil LP in multiple formats via the label 33.3 Music Collective and a new video for the single “Afterlife”, a lush atmospheric track featuring angelic vocals by Tish Ciravolo.

Recorded, mixed, and produced by Grammy-nominated producer Michael Rozon, This all-female featured collection brings back three BIC alumni – Tish Ciravolo, Cinthya Hussey and Betsy Martin – as well as new family members Whitney Tai, Elena Alice Fossi and Pinky Turzo. Apart from six originals, this release features diverse reworkings by such renowned music visionaries as Tim Palmer, MGT, John Fryer, Statik, Tommy Hatz, Julian Shah-Tayler and Rozon himself. The album can be ordered from

BIC Store
Bandcamp

Can you explain what Beauty In Chaos is? I realize that it surrounds you (Michael Ciravolo), but how does your project work, and how it came about? Is it fair to say that a core number of artists return to contribute from release to release, indicating a tight personal and musical bond and synchronicity between you.

Michael: The idea of doing my own record came about while recording my guitars for Human Drama’s Broken Songs For Broken People album. My idea of what I hoped the album would sound like was a bit different than the direction Johnny was going in, and Michael Rozon, who was recording my guitar parts, sensed my frustration. He made the suggestion of doing my ‘own’ album. Thankfully, the concept of Beauty In Chaos quickly morphed into the evolving/revolving entity as opposed to a guitarist’s ‘solo’ album … which I find quite boring and self-serving. Michael Rozon is certainly my partner-in-crime in BIC, and I couldn’t and wouldn’t do BIC without him. BIC is a family … or more like the mafia! Once you are in, you are in!! Seriously though, Dirk Doucette has played drums on most songs, and we have been blessed with some amazing artists that continue to give their time and talents. Wayne and Cinthya Hussey, Ashton Nyte, Johnny Indovina, Betsy Martin and my lovely wife, Tish, have appeared on multiple songs. Truly, I view BIC as a family and take great pride in not only what we do but also introducing new artists that may be less popular (but certainly no less talented) than the bigger names. Indeed, this does work both ways … as The Mission, The Awakening and Kirlian Camera’s large fan bases have welcomed BIC with open arms!

You have been lucky enough to work with some of the biggest names in the rock world. Were there any who you thought was wishful thinking but who you got to work with anyway? If you have one or more favorite collaborations from the many you’ve realized now, which ones would you name?

Michael: I am truly blessed to have a number of amazing artists that I can honestly call friends. And many of them make up a huge part of my record collection. I never take any artist’s contribution to BIC for granted. ‘Famous’ or not, everyone involved in BIC puts their heart and soul into their contribution. And to be fully transparent, no one is making any money from this…. And that never has or will ever be why we do this.

There have certainly been many ‘surreal’ moments that I do have to step back and take in. Sitting on the couch in our little studio having Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander listening to the playback of “Drifting Away” asking ME what I thought of his vocal take… while my mind went back to being a teenager and listening to “Surrender”. Having Simon Gallup .. who I think is one of the best bassists in the world, message me as he’s working on his bass part for “Man Of Faith” and telling me he has a line similar to “Love Song” while asking if that is okay? Yeah, that would be okay!!

Watching Marc Bolan on a late-night TV show as a kid… and fast forward many years later, getting to record a T. Rex classic with Marc’s son, Rolan! This is NOT name-dropping.. just talking from the heart. Any favorites? Every single one of them!

Your albums always contain a fantastic roster of guests – usually a mix of male and female. What made you decide to use Behind The Veil as a platform for female vocalists?

Michael: Three of my favorite songs from our debut release, Finding Beauty In Chaos featured female artists. When we were recording “The Storm Before The Calm”, we set out to do a darker, starker album in a more cohesive way. We wrote the song “Stranger” with Holy WarsKat Leon. A really beautiful song, but I struggled a bit with including it on this album since it strayed from the album’s other songs. In the end, I opted to include it as opposed to saving it for the next release… and this song proved to be the inspiration for ‘Behind The Veil’ featuring all female singers.

As always, the album comes with an accompanying remix album. Are you constantly surprised at where your remix artists take the songs? Who is involved this time around?

Michael: I love handing over the keys to the BIC ‘car’ and seeing what another artist hears in the song. I have always been a fan of remixes… especially ones that are radically different. I am blessed to have some amazingly talented friends that lend their talent to these re-envisions. You can hear the time, heart and soul they put into it. No one phones it in by just adding a ‘dance groove’ to the track. I may be a bit biased, but I feel the BIC remixes are way more than just ‘fillers’. On this record and the limited edition Further Behind The Veil we had a lot of BIC alumni again … Tim Palmer, MGT, John Fryer, Statik, and Bentley Jones to name a few. But a few new names joined the family also .. Julian Shah-Tayler, Tommy Hatz, and Ministry’s Sin Quirin all added stellar versions.

And talking of remixes, so many listeners and perhaps even artists see a song as a fixed and final thing, but do you think a song is ever finished or just part of an ever-flowing story? Can you cite an example among the works that you’ve been involved in?

Michael: The original song, to me, is THE song. But that doesn’t invalidate the remixes which are really reinterpretations. Most of these remixes have additional parts and melodies added to it. Some are built up from the vocal track only. I can’t really name favorites … since that always changes, but I really love the versions that have essentially been re-recorded. Ashton Nyte did two stunning acoustic versions … “Storm” and “The Outside”, as did Johnny Indovina with “Memory Of Love”. Two other stand-out re-recorded versions are “The Long Goodbye” (Au Revoir) with Wayne Hussey and Tim Palmer’s “The Delicate Balance Of All Things,” which features Cinthya Hussey!

With live music becoming a thing again after so many lockdowns, I suppose many folks are wondering – is Beauty In Chaos purely a studio project, and can it even be taken on the road in a way that would do it justice?

Michael: I get this question a lot. I definitely started Beauty In Chaos with the idea of only being a studio/recording entity and then with our many videos being the ‘face’ of BIC. That said, I would be lying if I said the idea of performing Beauty In Chaos onstage has not entered my mind, especially over the past year. One thing I would never do is perform any BIC song with any other singer that is not the original singer on the album. As our BIC family grows, there are more singers, which increases the opportunity to have enough singers available IF there is a live show. In all honesty, I would love to perform BIC in Berlin, London, Paris and Rome along with several US cities, but sadly, this would be impossible due to financial and logistic constraints. That being said, there is the possibility of a 2-night Los Angeles show being filmed for a worldwide release.

And where next for Beauty In Chaos and even for Michael Ciravolo as an individual?

Michael: We do have another video in the early planning stages. We are hoping to complete a video with Cinthya Hussey and her beautiful “Open Wound Heart”. This will be a bit of a challenge, as she lives in Brazil, but we managed to pull together what I feel is a fantastic video for “The Kiss Of The World” with Kirlian Camera’s Elena Alice Fossi, who filmed all her scenes in Italy. Industrialism Films did a magnificent job in bringing this two-continent shot to life.

We also are in the editing stages of a behind-the-scenes documentary entitled ‘Unveiled,’ which we hope to have released by the end of this summer. The great people at Jammerzine are producing, and it will feature all six ladies from ‘Behind The Veil’, along with some of the remixers … all giving a bit of insight to this release.

Finally, I have been kicking around the idea of an anthology release. It is really hard to believe it will be five years since BIC was born. This will certainly NOT be a vain ‘greatest hits’ thing, but sort of a collection of songs that would give a listener a glimpse of what Beauty In Chaos sounds like. With that, we will probably add a new song to wrap up BIC 2018-2022. This is most certainly NOT the end since I know we have so much more that we can and will create!