After the breakup of his last band of nearly seven years, the Revision Plan, Logan Square musician, Garik Niffenegger is back at it with his new project the Westward Spirit (@WestwardSpirit). Since the beginning of January, Niffenegger has already written, recorded and released a single titled Chemical Imbalance (for which he played all instruments as well as vocals). He also played his first show as the Westward Spirit at the Beat Kitchen on Feb. 16, and he booked a date for Death to False Hope Fest IV in Durham, N.C.
“The whole thing is moving pretty quickly,” Niffenegger say. “It kind of just feels like somebody else is driving.”
Starting the Project
Last summer, Niffenegger found his musical career come to a screeching halt with the breakup of his former band, the Revision Plan*. Two weeks before entering the studio to record their first full-length album, the band decided to call it quits.
“It was completely shocking because at the time, we had a lot of great things on the horizon,” Niffenegger says. “It was just one of those things where not everyone in the band was on the same page, and it was impossible to move forward.”
Things started moving again when friends from local band, the Cheyenne Line, asked Niffenegger to play a show on Feb. 16.
“I basically had no songs, no name and no plans with about a month to prepare for the show,” he says. “It was just the motivation I needed. I holed up in my apartment and wrote a pile of songs.”
The Westward Spirit was born.
Although Niffenegger played full band to the record single, Chemical Imbalance, he is currently playing solo shows as an acoustic act.
Niffenegger has dreams of making shows on the road a full time gig, but finding members with that sort of commitment can be difficult. So Niffenegger opted to start the journey alone.
“I sort of decided to try it out instead of spending a lot of time trying to find band members who are willing to tour and make a huge commitment to something that’s just starting out,” he says about playing solo.
Though the Westward Spirit is currently a one member act, Niffenegger is open to the idea of building a full-band down the line.
“My hope is that I can build some credibility while touring as an acoustic act and attract the attention of potential band mates whose priorities are a little more lined up with mine,” he says.
Recording the Single
Niffenegger recently recorded the Chemical Imbalance single with Jarrett Pryzgoda, guitarist for the Cheyenne Line.
“We tracked everything in the suburbs at their practice space, which was in this weird ’70s office building that they occupy after business hours. It was pretty awesome.”
Niffenegger says he decided to take on the responsibility of recording each instrument himself.
“It was the first time I ever recorded drums for something I planned to release,” he says. “That was interesting. I’m not a very good drummer.”
Neighbors can check out the Westward Spirit on April 4 at the Cobra Lounge with local band Gunner’s Daughter. Fans can purchase tickets to the show online.
Editor’s Note: Author, Kerry Holsinger played bass for the Revision Plan for a short time.