Songs & Exits: Will Bjorndal releases first album reflecting his life in Austin

Published 6:46 am Saturday, December 8, 2018

There are seven exits when traveling through Austin — plenty of time to find inspiration in the community as you pass through.

Will Bjorndal has done the math, and he’s done the research. Along Interstate 90 and aside from Chicago, only Austin has seven exits.

“Actually, it’s an oddity,” Bjorndal said. “I think this town is special.”

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It’s why Bjorndal has chosen to base the theme of his first album, “Prairie Clamor,” an eclectic mix of sounds and music, around a reflection of his lifetime in Austin.

There’s a soaring mix of styles present on the album that seeks to reflect a story, without necessarily telling a story.

“I call it a song cycle,” Bjorndal said. “A lot of it has to do with Austin and my experiences in Austin. The songs kind of float together, but don’t tell an exact story. It explores my relationship with this town.”

Music has always been a part of Bjorndal’s life, starting at a very early age, with both family and friends.

Will Bjorndal is hoping create a different musical experience rooted in his time in Austin.

“My family is very musical,” Bjorndal said. “I’ve been hearing music since I was little and making music with friends as  long as I can remember.”

Often times, making music has been just that: A creation of sound and ideas that aren’t necessarily on the range of normal, which certainly isn’t a bad thing.

Bjorndal meshes and experiments, sometimes like a mad scientist, like the project he was part of in High School, which Bjorndal conceived with friends Gary Meyer and Taylor Sharp.

However, in this circumstance, Bjorndal pulls together a certain amount of whimsy and accompanies that with an electronic stroll through a variety of sounds.

In each song, there are elements of pop with guitar riffs and synthesizer meanderings.

Some songs seem to take you completely outside of the normal musical experience while others walk you through  a dose of familiarity, like “Angelica” that has flavors of Beck.

“It’s a lot of things, not one thing. I’m trying to do something different in regard to this town.” – Will Bjorndal

“It covers a lot of experimental pop,” Bjorndal said. “But there are songs that are very straight forward, fist-pumping rock and another that’s very ambient.”

There’s definitely an aspect of fun to each song on the eight-track album.

“It’s not very serious,” Bjorndal admitted with a wry grin.

But the effort was very serious as Bjornal did a vast majority of the work himself. Aside form friends and family that helped him along the way by playing on it, Bjorndal did 95 percent of the work, calling the album a definite DYI music project.

“It’s just the way I am,” Bjorndal said. “It’s just nice to be able to do things the way I want to do it.”

It’s not that Bjorndal is conceited, it’s just that he has a very specific way of creating his vision and putting it into something for people to enjoy.

“It’s looking for clarity from confusion,” he said. “It’s a lot of things, not one thing. I’m trying to do something different in regard to this town. I’m trying to say, there are so many different ways to do something.”

“I don’t think it’s different in a way that will turn people off,” he continued.

But don’t expect “Prairie Clamor” to be normal. There might be aspects that are familiar, but this is an experiment in musical idea.

“It’s definitely not normal,” Bjorndal said. “The last song is an 11-minute long, spoken word about finding a dead fish in a field. You do have to have an open mind.”

The album in some ways is about adding his own mark to music that evolves.

“I like things that sound different,” Bjorndal said. “I’m not doing something that everyone is going to like and that’s okay. You can’t please everyone.”

Despite how the album does, Bjorndal is going to keep rolling with his musical endeavors, wherever they may lead.

“I’m definitely going to keep going with it, even if it’s not a career or just a hobby,” he said.

It’s that easy-going attitude that Bjorndal tries to project outward. And it’s something he councils to others.

Music doesn’t necessarily have to be a career, but it shouldn’t stop one from plugging forward.

“Just do it,” Bjorndal said. “If you have an idea, do it, follow it to it’s logical conclusion and do it again. Just making a song then learn to play it.”

As for Bjorndal, he’s just going to continue taking things easy an approach them as they come. He’ll continue to keep making music and evolving as he needs to.

“I’m just doing me.”

More from the prairie

“Prairie Clamor” can be found on most all mediums that include: Spotify, iTunes and Youtube.

“Prairie Clamor”

  1. Volcano
  2. Next 7 Exits
  3. Coffee Table Book
  4. Controlled Burn (video on YouTube:
  5. Angelica
  6. D.B.T.C.
  7. Hayden Prairie
  8. The Mighty Missicedar

In January, Will Bjorndal will play a show at the Austin Artworks Center featuring music off “Prairie Clamor.” He will be backed by the Prairie Clamor Orchestra with a lot of friends joining him. Show is at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 19.