LOS ANGELES, CA- In the pulsating heart of the live music scene, moments are captured, immortalized through the lens, yet often remain unseen by the wider world. These snapshots, brimming with raw energy and unfiltered emotion, are the silent narrators of stories untold. Today, we turn the spotlight on such a collection – a treasure trove of concert photographs that, until now, have been tucked away in the dark corners of memory and hard drives.

In an exclusive feature for Blurred Culture, we embark on a journey of rediscovery, pairing these vibrant, yet unshared images with the voices of the artists who have been digitally immortalized. These photographs, more than just stills, are time capsules capturing the essence of live performances – the sweat, the fervor, the sheer electricity of the moment. In order to give these images their moment, we are reaching out the artists to perhaps reflect on the moments captured, sharing insights into their creative journeys, the euphoria of live performance, or the unspoken bond with their audience.

Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

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In the ever-evolving tapestry of the music scene, certain bands flicker brightly, leaving an indelible mark on their audiences before vanishing into the annals of musical lore. Calliope Musicals, an Austin-based band, epitomized this transient brilliance. Known for their raucous, vibrant performances, they were a staple in my SXSW itinerary, embodying the festival’s spirit of discovery and unabashed joy.

Their live shows were an eclectic fusion of sound and spectacle, a carnival of music where each song was a doorway into a universe of unbridled fun. It was this infectious energy that drew me, along with countless others, into their orbit.

So, when I learned that Calliope Musicals would be opening for Broken Baby at the Moroccan Lounge on September 8, 2022, I leaped at the opportunity to document what I anticipated to be yet another exuberant performance. Little did I know, this show would etch itself in my memory for a different reason. Amidst the whirlwind of music and merriment, an announcement rang out, sobering and unexpected – Calliope Musicals were disbanding. In that moment, a piece of the music world, and a little corner of my own heart, seemed to fracture.

Months have passed since that night, and the echoes of their final notes still linger. In a quest to understand the journey, the crescendos, and the silent finale of this extraordinary band, I recently caught up with Carrie Fussell, the founder of Calliope Musicals. Our conversation, much like their music, traverses the spectrum of emotions – from the exhilarating highs of performance to the poignant realization of an era’s end.

In this exclusive interview, we delve into the aftermath of the announcement, exploring the paths that have unfolded since that last, unforgettable show. Carrie, with her characteristic candor and depth, opens up about life post-Calliope Musicals, sharing insights into the personal and creative metamorphosis that follows the conclusion of something so defining.

Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

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BLURRED CULTURE: Looking back on your time with Calliope Musicals, what are some of the most memorable moments or achievements that you cherish?

CARRIE FUSSELL: I came from a town where the closest thing we had to a music venue were the local churches. So the fact that I made my way around the country powered by the songs we made up, in itself, is really special and honestly beyond my dreams. The feeling of hundreds of people collectively singing a Calliope Musicals song with me is majorly warm and fuzzy. The Calliope Musicals tattoos that exist out there, the singalongs, the deeply personal stories–I feel so grateful for all of that.

What were the key factors that led to the decision to disband Calliope Musicals? Was this a gradual decision or triggered by specific events?

I started Calliope Musicals in 2009, and after thirteen years and countless evolutions it just felt like it was time to move on to something new. I had prioritized the band my whole adult life, and I was realizing that there were a lot of unauthorized hangers on: feelings and history that stuck with the band, never really being processed but always having a say in how we moved. By the time I recognized it and wanted to change, it felt like it was just a little too late. I couldn’t separate what I wanted to keep from what I wanted to toss out, so a fresh start felt like the right answer. 

How has your personal growth and evolution as an artist influenced the trajectory of the band, and ultimately, the decision to move on?

Calliope Musicals has been the facilitator of so much of my personal growth; the band and breadth of sound really inspired me to push myself. I feel like I’ve just been a giant snowball, rolling over the musical terrain and picking up my favorite parts to take with me, and you can really see that in the Calliope Musicals story. I hadn’t thought about it till this question, but I guess that probably was a factor in my desire to branch out, see what’s next. 

Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

Disbanding a group that’s as tightly-knit as Calliope Musicals must be emotional. Can you share a bit about how you’ve navigated these emotions?

Oh my gosh, well I cried pretty much every day of that last tour. Not because I was sad or happy, but I was honestly overflowing with just about every emotion that exists within me. Happy and sad were certainly there, amongst fear and gratitude and anger and nostalgic longing and faith and confusion and shame and love. We had, I think, two tours after we decided to end things, and I ended up having so much fun without the fear of the future looming over me. The hardest part was the feeling that I was letting my band down, but I knew I had to follow my precious, stupid heart. They were really understanding and supportive and they’re all doing very cool things now! No shock to me!

How did the fan community react to the news of the band’s disbanding, and what message do you have for your fans during the transition?

People were really supportive and sweet. I still struggle with the concept of fans, and our community really did feel more like friends than anything, and that was especially evident in everyone’s reaction to us moving on. Our last show in Austin was one of the most special nights of my entire existence and provided some real closure for me. The stories our friends and ~fans~ shared, the memories, very sweaty hugs, a seemingly unending well of tears. I think there was a part of me that figured I was imagining the impact of our music, but it was such visceral proof, not even my shady inner saboteur could convince me that what we all had together wasn’t the stuff of dreams.

From your experience with Calliope Musicals, what insights have you gained about the music industry that you wish you knew when you started?

[Laughing] I wish I had never met the music industry! I wish I had known the music industry doesn’t operate like an idealistic, farm community where everyone looks out for each other and tells the truth and lets you borrow sugar and take clippings off their rosemary bc they aren’t going to use it anyway. i love people, and i think “industry” tends to put people (myself included) at their worst. when it comes to the music industry, i am probably a cynic and it’s honestly about fucking time. [Laughing] Are you all happy??!!! she cries [shakes fist and screams into the industry]

Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

What are your current musical projects or plans for the future? Are you exploring new genres or collaborative projects?

2023 was my first year without Calliope Musicals. I have most definitely been kooking around 🙂 I have a new project called BRUCE. I have spent many years in collaboration, so BRUCE is really my opportunity to only do whatever I want! A cheerocracy if you will. At the moment, it is live looping, fake opera, part performance art/part rock band. I also have a rock band called Fio on the horizon. It’s about wearing jeans and being nonchalant. There is a band called Mouth. I am in that band, and we’ll be putting out a record soon. I have been doing background vocals and synth/guitar in a band called Half Dream; my first ever time being in someone else’s band! So fun! This past year I performed as Britney Spears, David Byrne, Patsy Cline, and a bilingual bunny rabbit in a farm musical. So suffice it to say, I have been getting around and loving it. 

What are some key lessons you’ve learned through your journey with Calliope Musicals that you’ll carry into your future endeavors?

I guess I would say not to take anything too seriously and nothing is more important than wanting to be alive.

Based on your experiences, what advice would you give to emerging artists who are just starting their journey in the music world?

If you want to be an artist, prioritize your time that way <3 Don’t get too caught up in the parts that you don’t love. Like, do the work, yes, but honey, if you’re spending THAT much time doing office hours, you should work at an actual office because it has salary and insurance and doesn’t involve sending tight lipped emails about the deepest, purest part of your heart!

How do you see your artistic identity evolving post-Calliope Musicals, and what themes or messages do you hope to explore in your future work?

Aren’t we all just infinite? in just thirteen years i became unrecognizable as an artist, and it’s possible i’ll do that every thirteen years until i die! so looking forward to it! (the evolution, not death, but i’m sure death will be just fine too, but just not in any hurry for once!!) haha comma comma comma

Follow Carrie Fussell on Facebook and Instagram.

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Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at Moroccan LaCalliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.ounge 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at Moroccan LaCalliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.ounge 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Calliope Musicals at El Cid 9/8/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@DKLPHOTOS) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

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