About Essex Chanel
Essex Chanel is an eclectic musical project based in Chicago, Illinois, led by multi-instrumentalist-composer-artist Travis Lee Wiggins. Combining varied influences from indie, rock, folk, alternative, dance/electronica, pop, the music changes from each release and live show as Wiggins intentionally tries to reinvent his music and make something new. Essex Chanel has released a huge catalog of music filled with a large range of musical influences. A thread that runs through most of Essex Chanel’s music is a concentration on the interplay of melodies. The live show of Essex Chanel varies from Wiggins performing solo, to a multitude of musicians cultivated from other Chicago groups. In 2009, Wiggins created Sweet Goodness Music, an independent record label and management company, and Essex Chanel is the primary artist.
Travis Lee Wiggins started Essex Chanel in Chicago in 2005 as an effort to go in different musical directions than his first band, Fetla. After Fetla went on a two year hiatus in the fall of 2005, Essex Chanel became Wiggins’s primary focus. For the first several years it was mostly a recording project, with Wiggins performing live under the Essex Chanel name rarely, and when he did it was solo with an acoustic guitar. During this period, Wiggins amassed a huge catalog of music, honed his songwriting and recording skills, and started his self-run Beware of Dog Studios. Being known as a work-a-holic, Wiggins grew obsessed with music, to the point his friends would call his guitar his “wife.” Not wanting to isolate himself as a solo musician, Wiggins continued to form new bands, most notably The Salts (previously called The Summer Salts), Dolphins Swimming, & The Personal FX, but in Essex Chanel he is the primary creative force, having control of every aspect of writing, recording, and the artistic direction and design.
Before 2004, Wiggins’s creative output was spent primarily on visual, conceptual, and performance art (see www.travisleewiggins.com). Wiggins received his undergraduate degree in painting and graphic design, and this artistic influence has a major influence on his musical work & performance. Essex Chanel was his first foray into recording his own music himself. Without the purposeful influence of a band or other musicians, he was able to leave his creative forces up to experimentation, and his solo music is most notable for the genre jumping from album to album, or from song to song, whether it is rock, indie, alternative, classical, folk, dance, or any other genre he feels like working in. Starting as a guitar player and singer, which can be heard on Essex Chanel’s early albums, Wiggins has developed into a multi-instrumentalist and composer.
Essex Chanel is unique in that not only is Essex Chanel’s music created, recorded, mixed, & mastered by Wiggins, but all the design, tour booking, promotion is all run by him, sometimes under the Sweet Goodness Music moniker.
Wiggins is known to release work that he think has partially failed, in order to present the idea that “not everything you make is great,” and sometimes “because people will like stuff I think was a failure.” The releases of Essex Chanel go beyond “standard” LP or EPs—such as the January 2007 project where he wrote and recorded a song for every day of the month, posting it online as he would finish every day. In late 2009 Love is Proximity, a 42 collection of songs about love was released and showed the most sophisticated recordings be Essex Chanel yet. Most Essex Chanel albums have been released for free on the Essex Chanel website (www.essexchanel.com), and albums very in the depth of how rooted they are in the traditional music structure of albums and singles. Physical CDs and other items are available through www.essexchanel.com, and many digital releases are available through online retailers such as iTunes and Amazon.com.
Essex Chanel Quick Facts:
Name: Essex Chanel
Genre: cross-genre: indie/pop/rock/electronic/folk
Years Active: since 2005
Members: Travis Lee Wiggins; live band/studio members include: Stephen Dranger, Mike Regan, Allison Trumbo, Aleksandra Lederer, Micah Travisonno, Brian Koehler, Joseph Khalifah, Luke Krause, Angelina Lucero, Sara Ma
Full Albums Released: 11
EPs Released: 2
Other Projects Released: 2
Songs Released: 249
Music Videos Released: 3
Essex Chanel Complete Catalog: 9 hrs. 37 minutes
Essex Chanel is an ASCAP artist.