Linear Downfall is an American experimental/psychedelic rock band from Nashville, Tennessee. The band consists of Charlee Cook (vocals, bass, synthesizer, etc.), Chance Cook (guitar, vocals, etc.), and Will Hicks (drums, keys, etc.) and Dom Marcoaldi (guitar, etc.). All members are multi-instrumentalists and share not only a gift, but also a passion for creativity.
Another facet of Linear Downfall is the outward expression of their music through a dynamic theatrical stage show. Fans are drawn into the adventure and encouraged to participate, releasing their own interpretation of the music and free-flowing expression.
The name Linear Downfall was suggested by close friend and former band member, Nick Shepard. It seemed perfect to Chance, who was becoming increasingly frustrated with the corporate, cookie-cutter, commercial music industry.
The group released their sophomore album ‘gloomillume’ on December 3, 2010, and in 2012 released their third album ‘Fragmental Hippocampus’ and worked with one of their biggest influences, The Flaming Lips.
2004-2008: The Early Years
Linear Downfall began in 2004 with Chance Cook writing all the music, singing all the vocals, and playing most of the instruments. With the help of Cook’s closet childhood friend, Brad Bass, he recorded an album in his grandparent’s home studio titled Abolish TV. The album was never formally released, but sold for $3.00 to their friends at David Lipscomb High School.
Cook experimented with many different genres of music, but was drawn to music that featured unusual sounds and unorthodox compositions.
Almost every step of the way, Cook was being followed along his journey by his younger sister, Charlee, who looked up to him and also shared his interest in music. Charlee began singing the songs that Chance had written, and eventually began writing lyrics and composing melodies of her own. They began searching for musicians but had trouble finding people with the same musical style and obsessive dedication. Since Charlee often used a bass guitar to write progressions, the decision was made that she would officially become the band’s bass player.
2009-2010: ‘Daydreaming at Night’
By 2009, Chance and Charlee Cook had recorded close to 100 original songs, but were still searching for their own sound which would distinguish them from any other band. They purged everything they had written and began composing new music and lyrics for their album ‘Daydreaming at Night’. The addition of drummer Will Hicks helped define the sound they had been looking for.
‘Daydreaming at Night’ includes tracks that deal with common life struggles, such as loneliness, brokenness, and depression, yet talks about being strong and overcoming adversity. Linear Downfall also takes on political issues such as overpowering government control and war and destruction. The album was mixed by Grammy Award winning engineer David Hall.
Late in 2010, Linear Downfall released their second record ‘gloomillume’, a concept album that begins on earth in the midst of the apocalypse and ends on a beautiful planet called ‘gloomillume’. This fifteen-song combustion of originality fuses multiple musical styles. The “gloom” is present in songs like “Just a #” (a glitchy, bass-driven, view of the inside of a mental hospital), “a Wave of” (an ambient, tranquil, emotional experience), and “Pick.Pull.Claw.” (a psychedelic, acidic, composition). The transition from dark to light takes place during “Projector Eyes” (chaos into 60s sunshine pop). The “illume” half of the album contains songs like “Intergalactic Festivity” (disco space party hopping genres) and “Rainbow Don’t Go” (electronic pop).
2012-present: Flaming Lips collaboration and ‘Fragmental Hippocampus’
In 2012, Linear Downfall had a very crazy and ambitious year. They started by adding Dom Marcoaldi on guitar to help fill out their layered sound. Soon after, the band drove to Oklahoma and recorded with Wayne Coyne at The Flaming Lips frontman’s home studio. After this meeting, Linear Downfall was asked to join The Flaming Lips on a record-breaking one day tour, sponsored by MTV’s O Music Awards. The two bands met in Baton Rouge, LA, to play King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” and the Flaming Lips/Lightning Bolt collaboration “I’m Working at NASA on Acid”.
After helping The Flaming Lips break a Guinness World Record, the band secured themselves a spot in the remake of King Crimson’s 1969 debut album In the Court of the Crimson King, featuring The Flaming Lips, Stardeath and White Dwarfs, New Fumes, and Space Face. Linear Downfall reprised their appearance with “21st Century Schizoid Man”, collaborated with the all of the bands on the song “Epitaph”, and supported the album with the “Exploding the Moon a Million Times” tour with Stardeath and White Dwarfs, New Fumes and Space Face.
Among all these events, they were still able to find the time to complete their third album ‘Fragmental Hippocampus’, which is their most experimental and personal album to date. Linear Downfall has big plans for the future, including some interesting albums and lots of touring.
Musical style and influences
Linear Downfall, having a love for many different styles of music, has managed to combine rock, avant-garde, experimental, psychedelic, jazz, blues, indie, punk, ambient, classical, electronic, alternative, pop, and disco. Creating music with a cinematic feeling, Linear Downfall strives to purge emotions through creating sounds and lyrics that paint a visual experience in the mind of the listener.
Influences include of Montreal, The Flaming Lips, Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys, Deerhoof, Tune-Yards, Silver Apples, Portishead, The Beatles, Sonic Youth, and lots more.