Clunis offers musical outlet for expression

James Robertson

Somewhere among jazz, indie pop and neo-soul, Clunis stands as a band which reflects the genre-bending, cross-pollinated nature of the modern music scene. 

Founded by jazz junior Chris Loveland, Clunis is a deeply personal project that marks the next evolution in his musical career. 

Beginning his career in the background as a bassist and songwriter for Indigo Honey, Loveland takes center stage as the vocalist, bass player and songwriter for Clunis. 

“I wanted (Clunis) to be less of a band and more about me,” Loveland said, playing out a few notes on the piano. “I was really confused with Indigo Honey from the beginning. I knew it was a good product technically, but it just didn’t feel right.”

With Clunis, Loveland said he found the clarity to see his songs from the beginning to the performance and starting the band gave him more creative control over the direction and process of his music.

Loveland said he always starts the process of writing a song alone and either sitting down at a piano or with a guitar. Sometimes he works methodically, taking melodies he’s heard before and recontextualizing them. Other times, Loveland said the process is more natural, and the melody just flows out of him.

In the rehearsal room, Loveland begins by bringing in songs he has written and then directs the band members toward his ideas. From there, he works with other band members to improvise, collaborate and allow each instrument and member to put their own spin on it.

“All six of us were fortunate to be jazz majors and cultivate our own authentic vibe within the group, all having a love for jazz and music in general,” said Zach Kursman, jazz junior and the dummer for Clunis.

Clunis gives Loveland a place to be earnest and wholehearted. He said his songwriting process aims to express the plight of being earnest in a largely cynical world. Like other musicians today, Loveland wants his music to inspire change.

“What separates Clunis from other soul and pop bands today are the melodic choices they make and how their progressions give more power to their lyrics,” said Will Robert, civil engineering senior and
Clunis groupie. 

From this interplay of personal lyrics and fresh melodic choices, Loveland said he achieved a new level of fulfillment in his music he hopes to connect with a wide range of people in a way that the high-level jazz he once focused on wouldn’t allow him to. 

“I want to relate to people that just meet at a party, and maybe they aren’t into music, but can still enjoy my music,” Loveland said. “Music is my life; I want to make music just part of your life,
you know?”