The release of Side 2 exposes a different view of Des Moines musician Tony Bohnenkamp. For nearly twenty years Tony has been active in the music industry, but Side 2 marks the life-long musician’s debut solo album. Tony has played just about every role — owner of a successful recording studio, well-known dueling pianist, drummer for The Nadas, singer for Lunchbox, not to mention producer/songwriter/composer — but now it’s time for Tony to showcase his own material. “Every project I’ve ever worked on has been for someone else. I wanted to produce something that was mine; that I had complete control over,” shares Tony.
Side 2 features a collection of 10 original pop-rock tracks written, produced and recorded by Tony. His experience, passion, ability and appreciation for music quickly becomes evident in every single track. This drive for music began at an early age when Tony started playing the drums and piano when he was 5 years old. It was at that point he knew he wanted to make a living through music. As the years went by, Tony discovered an enthusiasm for the songwriting process and taking a concept all the way through the final stages of recording. He confesses, “Songwriting is the most excruciatingly awful and most incredibly rewarding experience I’ve ever had the chance to feel.”
Tony’s personal songwriting style draws inspiration from an assortment of musicians, “especially artists that fill the spectrum of sound to the brim.” He does this in his own way on Side 2 by quickly enticing the listener by weaving hook-laden melodies with commanding vocals that seep in and out of rocking arrangements. Tony says he likes almost every single instrument that exists, which is certainly apparent in the album when appearances are made by a banjo, dobro, pedal steel, sleigh bells, and even some auto-tune.
“These songs have been creeping up on me for the past ten years, so it’s a huge relief to have them completed and out there for people to hear. But, on the other hand, I’m pretty terrified,” he confesses. “For a long time, it’s just been me and these songs. And now, it’s like I’m standing in the middle of a stadium, naked, saying ‘Okay, everyone. Here I am. Judge me.’”
Now with Side 2 complete, Tony is already working on another album of original, solo material that he hopes to have released at the end of 2012. “My overall goal for the year is to create something every day, no matter what it’s for, to continue the development of my abilities as a songwriter, producer and composer.”