Brooklyn’s Bonnie Baxter emerges bellowing from a dark sea of sizzling electronics. Kicks and degraded snares fight cascades of bleeps falling delicately over harsh electronics. ShadowBox is powerful, poised… her live act shows a wild and uncontrollable force who at times lets the listener into a delicate and reflective world just for a moment.
“When I was 13 I used to record singing my own words over R&B instrumental tapes or whatever I could get my hands on. Later I got my hands on a right handed acoustic guitar even though I was lefty. So I turned it upside down and taught myself how to play it so I can sing over it.”
Now Bonnie Baxter is a vocalist, instrumentalist, & producer… ShadowBox. Currently residing in Brooklyn NY she draws inspiration from sound sculptures of the 60′s (Daphne Oram/Delia Derbshyre/Tangerine Dream) as well as futurists philosophies, books about metaphysics, space exploration, and the relationship of technology and nature.
Shameem Akthar, author of Hearing the Divine Sound, once remarked “Those of you familiar with quantum physics may be aware that the world as we see it does not exist.” This has been the approach taken by ShadowBox… to create a world beyond the physical. Taking technology and infusing it as a part of her craft as a songwriter. Having drum machines/analog keyboards being an evolutionary extension of herself as she begins to paint on a her digital canvas that is her home studio. Crafting melodies out of thin air from an arsenal of vocal ideas she transcends over electronic beat driven tracks. Plans to head over to the UK in the fall/winter of 2012 are also in the works.
“It may seem strange to some if they hear earlier Bonnie Baxter band material. It was way more Rock oriented back then. It was still dark, but had changed. I’m always changing instinctively,” Baxter explains. Before ShadowBox, she had a live band that performed all over Brooklyn and New York City. Her love of weird eclectic harmonies and music evenlead her to open up for the now disbanded Apes & Androids at Music Hall of Williamsburg. “The band thing was an amazing intense experience but I wanted to strip it all down. Actually, I wanted to tear it down.” Taking a year to herself, Bonnie spent time experimenting with electronic drum machines, keyboards, guitar pedals, sequencing software, and vocal manipulation. And used this technology with her unique songwriting style. “It’s a cliche I know but, I traded in my guitar for a drum machine and that’s really the birth of ShadowBox.”
After hibernating, ShadowBox began testing her songs out live in Brooklyn’s dirty DIY underground trenches. She booked her own tour to 2011 SXSW with a 3 song demo in her back pocket. The demo was titled “Lady Doome” and was picked up by Pitchfork, who deemed one of the tracks “…a gritty, suicide-indebted earworm from that release.” Maintaining focus, Bonnie stepped back slightly to finish writing songs that would end up on the Haunted By Colors EP which was co-produced with long time collaborator, Icky Doome who also performs live with ShadowBox.
“The title Haunted by Colors was inspired by the vivid dreams I was having at the time where no dialogue was present, just these reoccurring images that would naggingly imprint themselves into my head,” Bonnie describes. “Also, the anxieties and fears of waking life.”