Interview | Jess Viscius of Bnny
Updated: Jan 8
I had a great conversation with Jess Viscius of the Chicago band Bnny who recently put out their debut album Everything on the New York based label Fire Talk! We talked about the all important issue of the missing "u" in the band name, dealing with death, returning to touring, her favorite Chicago artists, and more!
Was Everything a culmination of all the emotions you’ve felt going through a turbulent relationship and dealing with the death of your partner?
Jess: Yes. To me, the album is about accepting my past and preserving my memories. The songs live on and with them so does Trey.
Since you have been working on this album for a number of years through many sessions, how many phases did this project go through sonically?
Jess: Although we have gone through a few different drummers, and have recorded in different spaces, I think sonically it’s remained similar to when we first started. I’ve always had a pretty clear idea of what type of sound I wanted and at it's core it hasn’t altered too far from course.
Is Bnny the project of Jess Viscius or was it always a family affair with your sister, Alexa as well as Tim Makowski, Matt Pelkey and Adam Schubert? What are their roles in the group?
Jess: I (Jess) write the songs in Bnny and am the bandleader, if you will. Generally I write the songs alone and then bring them to practice with a clear vision of how I want things to sound and then the band fills in their magic. Alex plays bass, Tim plays lead guitar, Matt plays drums, Adam plays keys, guitar, auxiliary percussion, he kinda does it all!
Silly question, is there a reason you dropped the “u” from your band name?
Jess: By the time we got around to releasing our debut album there were so many bands named Bunny, so I thought it would be best to just slightly change the name… I do miss the U though sometimes… haha.
How did you connect with the New York based label, Fire Talk? Are there any small labels in Chicago that you were in contact with before working with Fire Talk?
Jess: There are a lot of Chicago bands on the label. They were in town to see one of their bands and ended up coming to one of our shows. Then I sent them the songs that would be “Everything” and a few weeks later we signed with them.
What are some of your favorite musicians based in Chicago that you think people should know about? I personally love Ganser and Ratboys.
Jess: Right now some of my favorite Chicago bands are Divino Nino, Squirrel Flower, Ulna, Tasha.
With live music slowly becoming a thing again and shutting down simultaneously, are you planning on Bnny tour anytime soon?
Jess: It’s been so nice returning to live shows. I have a new enthusiasm for watching live music! Before quarantine I took it for granted, like it’s so incredible to watch people/ your friends get up on stage and perform their art. We are very excited to go on tour with Dehd next week!
Listen to Bnny:
Read my other written interviews!