ephemeral environment

Lens Through A Different Light, Lonely Teenage

This article was developed by one of the International Zine Project’s editors, in collaboration with Lonely Teenage’s Cory Wicklund, whose sounds are featured within.

Lonely Teenage is a project born of Illinois-native, Cory Wicklund’s, commitment to sound and collaboration, as well as a testament to his ceaseless drive as a musician. 

The group started to take shape in Rockford, Illinois in January of 2016, while Wicklund was living on the top floor of an abandoned apartment building that locals used to refer to as “The Loft.”

He had been working part-time in a bar two blocks away, existing somewhere between homelessness and poverty, when he picked up an iPad and a microphone, a Shure SM57. From January until the following September, he worked on what was to become his first single, “What You’re Afraid Of.” 

Wicklund saw this as a time to experiment and to experience a newfound independence as a musician. The environment in which a musician lives — how it changes — is ever-evolving, and forever ephemeral.

“This was my chance to take over,” says Wicklund, “I wanted to play bass, I wanted to play percussion, synthesizer, guitars, I had to learn how to sing, but I knew what I wanted, I had a vision.”

The musician’s existence is nomadic, and multidisciplinary, requiring malleability as well as openness, and an ability to change and to be changed, by the environment in which he finds himself, by the one he creates — alone, with his sound, and with his collaborators. 

The Illinois-native explains that the Midwestern environment has been highly influential to his work, being diverse and comfortable, yet a place where one can experience extremes — extreme solitude, extreme cold, and the kind of vacancy and urgency that are becoming definitive of every contemporary environment.

The idea for Lens Through A Different Light, featured below, came around May of 2019. A fresh song, it echoes with its own contradictions and Wicklund’s multidisciplinary approach, with Brian Mastrangeli on bass. Its notes are often sinister and melancholic, but painted with enough hope, the song is unpredictable, a testament to this environment, to Wicklund’s and to our ambiguous perceptions that define them all:

Lens Through A Different Light, Lonely Teenage

“How do those people see the world compared to how I see it? I didn’t want to forget that there’s more to this life than what was in front of me. That this environment might only be temporary, and that not every scenario is going to be black or white. Not every question can be answered in a yes or no fashion; it’s not always that simple.”

Lonely Teenage has grown and developed since June 2019 and now consists of Cory Wicklund (guitar, synthesizer, and vocals), Brian Mastrangeli (bass), Andrew Yarbro (guitar), Nathan Blache (drums), and Cameron St. Clair (percussion). You can learn more about their own ephemeral environment on SoundCloud and Spotify, and follow them on Instagram.