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Angus: Finding Comfort thru Music, and Joy in Doing 'Cool Shit'

(EDITOR’S NOTE— With their high falsetto and sensibility, Connor Thomson, the lead singer of Angus, talked with 1120 Press about their move to Buffalo and becoming involved in the local scene. We appreciate their time and enjoyed our discussion. We hope you do too in our story below by Benjamin Joe. — Photos, below and on front page, by Benjamin Joe.)

Playing in venues all over town — from the Rec Room to Mr. Goodbar to Stamps, and from The Lavender Room to Mohawk Place and a date coming up at Music is Art —one might consider Angus a careerist.

But really, it’s the furthest from their mind.

“My main goal is to just have fun,” said Thomson, who moved to Buffalo from Utica in January. “Anything that comes with it: Have fun, do cool shit, make good art.”

Speaking with 1120 Press at Bertha’s Diner on Hertel Avenue, Thomson talked about their struggles with mental health and how they turned to music for comfort. With a background in classical singing during childhood, Thomson hits all the right notes — so much so that one might not even hear what they’re singing about.

“I started learning guitar in December. It came right after a super turbulent time in my life and I just needed some form of expression or outlet,” they said. “So, I picked up my guitar and learned my first song on it… It’s pretty obvious, because if you read any of my lyrics, a lot of my art in music is about mental health.”

Thomson formed 25 songs from his bout with bi-polar — a 'turbulent time' that they said was ultimately worth it.

Two songs by Angus released on SoundCloud — ‘The Ache’ and ‘Loose Leave Tea’ — are similar: A little soft, a little upbeat, and with a certain amount of convention, which Thomson admits freely.

They also share value and feeling.

“The Ache,” Thomson said, was just “an ear worm,” just a tune in their head, but the melody was so insistent, they had to recreate it.

“I was like, ‘that’s sick, I really want to turn that into something.’ So, I found

what key it was in and I was able to play around with the chord until it sounded right.”

The lyrics? Well, they required no playing around at all. Thomson had them down in one take.

“This is actually super funny,” they said, laughing a little. “We — (Connor and bandmate Majia Klute) — were both having a horrible time. Mental health was in the gutter. I was just, ‘I’m so sick of this ache! This ache that I’m always feeling! That I keep on coming back to!’ And then, we were like, ‘Oh my god this is a song!’”

So, what, exactly, is Angus? An outlet? A form of expression? Just a band of friends and talented musicians including Pete Benzin on guitar, Klute playing bass and Ian Belknap on drums?

Perhaps all those. But in the beginning, Angus was not music. It was a personality.

“I was almost named Angus when I was born because I came out like the size of a paint can, so my dad was like, ‘Yeah, we need to name this kid Angus!’ and my mom was not into that," Thomson recalled.

“Then in college, I had this drunk persona that was Angus. Angus was just unabashedly

reckless. And I killed Angus, because for a while I didn’t think Angus was the right vibe. It’s not good to disassociate yourself from your actions, even if you’re in a different state of mind.

“But Angus made a comeback this year, because I was like ‘this is a great name for a band,’ and it’s a good way to tribute what would’ve been my name.”


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