Exploring ancient mysteries through Rock. The Star Prairie Project unveils ‘The Shining Ones’

"The truth is under constant attack these days and our systems and institutions do not appear to be up to the task of defending it or freedom for that matter"
29 April 2024

A concept album delving into human evolution and reality

In a captivating fusion of music and mythology, Nolen Chew Jr. and The Star Prairie Project return with The Shining Ones. This latest work delves into the ancient secret priesthood, aiming to uncover profound truths about human evolution and reality. Crafting a concept album as a transformative dive into consciousness, the band’s seventh studio release challenges perceptions and ignites imaginations.

Each track showcases the band’s mastery, with a shift towards harder rock while maintaining depth and complexity. Listeners are urged to explore existential mysteries through transcendent music.​  With this release, The Star Prairie Project reaffirms their commitment to crafting captivating musical adventures ahead.

The Shining Ones’ is truly a concept album in the traditional sense. The topic is not common. Rather, it’s esoteric in nature and that of course reveals itself in the music as well.

Nolen Lake

What inspired The Star Prairie Project’s exploration of the mysteries surrounding the antediluvian secret priesthood known as the “Shining Ones” for their latest album?

Nolen: I stumbled on the topic of ‘The Shining Ones’ through a series of synchronicities that led me to the topic of these human-like advanced beings that existed before the biblical flood. They helped us survive and evolve after this catastrophe. Without their knowledge, mankind might have faced extinction. These beings were called by many names: fallen angels, watchers, Nephilim, Anunnaki, Elohim and feathered serpents. They are mentioned briefly in the Bible and extensively in apocryphal texts, such as The Book of Enoch, The Book of Jubilees, and The Book of Adam and Eve. And as you might know, they are fully integrated into modern conspiracy theories, involving everything from Aliens to secret societies and the deep state. It’s a fascinating story that I wanted to explore musically. The result is ‘The Shining Ones’ album.

How does the musical direction of The Shining Ones differ from the group’s previous albums, and what motivated this shift towards a harder rock sound?

Nolen: The idea was to create a concept album on the topic of The Shining Ones and create a hard driving metaphysical rock album. It seems to me that most spiritual music I listen to is softer, more gentle. To make a long story short, we wanted to introduce this esoteric myth with an explosion of sound, mostly because not all aspects of the spiritual experience are gentle and soothing. Maybe they are ultimately, but usually the pursuit of “nirvana” is characterized by defeat, pain and suffering. That’s a lot to put into a dozen songs or so but I think we pulled it off. As far as the harder sound is concerned. It’s been there from the beginning, just not compiled in a single concept album. If you listen to our first album ‘Panacea’ there are expressions of the harder sound emerging in songs like ‘Do What You Do’ and ‘Frantic Mind’. We’ve come a long way with this album. It’s much more complex and layered than our previous work. In fact, it’s almost symphonic in nature!

With millions of streams and international chart success, how does The Star Prairie Project approach crafting music that transcends genres and resonates with listeners on a deep level?

Nolen: I love writing songs. That’s what I do. As a songwriter there is special thrill to create something from nothing. It is so fulfilling to use the medium of music to express your inner self. When I started writing the songs that became the ‘Shining Ones’ album, I sat down to express a certain vibration of sound and story. There was a demand to bust out in energy and imagination. The challenge was to create music that illustrated and matched the myth and answered the primordial questions engraved deep in all our thoughts: Who are we? Why are we here? Where did we all come from? I believe collaborating with other amazing artists created a wider depth and bread to the songwriting. You never know at the start where that initial riff or lyric will lead. That’s part of the process I enjoy the most.

Marcello Vieira | Sandrine Orsini | Ricardo Dikk

Can you elaborate on the creative process behind The Shining Ones, including the roles of vocalist Marcello Vieira, Sandrine Orsini, and guitarist/producer Ricardo Dikk?

Nolen: It all started with the lead singer/producer Marcello and me. Through him I met guitarist Ricardo Dikk and vocalist Sandrine Orsini. For The Shining Ones, we brought in Mauro Ramos on drums and that really sealed the deal. We sounded fantastic together. So with some of the band, I’ve worked together before, but the chemistry you hear on ‘The Shining Ones’ is brand new and just fantastic. I think we all worked tirelessly on this album and as a result, kept surprising ourselves throughout the process. I couldn’t be prouder of the result.

In what ways does The Shining Ones serve as more than just an album, according to the group’s vision, and what message do they hope listeners will take away from it?

Nolen: The Shining Ones is truly a concept album in the traditional sense. The topic is not common. Rather, it’s esoteric in nature and that of course reveals itself in the music as well. It’s really all about self-introspection. We want the listener to reach deep into essence of their being, surrender to this music and experience an alternate history that reminds us of a world that might have been or more probably, the world that will be in the future.

How does The Star Prairie Project’s exploration of esoteric myths and legends intersect with broader questions about human evolution and perception of reality, as hinted in their latest work?

Nolen: I became fascinated with the topic and decided to pursue a concept album with a metaphysical bent about it. Our daily lives have become so very complex that I see great many people that are desperate for change, trying to find solid foundation under their feet. And I understand why. The truth is under constant attack these days and our systems and institutions do not appear to be up to the task of defending it or freedom for that matter. Our political and religious institutions have been infiltrated by corruption, greed and power grabbing. This has led us to question everything we hold true and valuable. Going back and examining primordial questions like who we are and why we are here, helps us bring things back to focus. Simply going back and examining our most fundamental beliefs opens doors to new perspectives and realities.

Considering the profound impact of The Shining Ones, what future endeavors or projects can fans anticipate from The Star Prairie Project in the wake of this release?

Nolen: Right now, I’m involved in a couple of fun projects. I’m finishing up an album with Rudiger and Ivy Marie called Little Gems. It’s a collection of Americana and Indie Pop songs. I have ten songs complete and I think we’ll probably add two more. It’s similar in style of our previous album New Day at Dawn. I’m also involved with Tom Tikka on an album that started out with a couple singles and has now evolved into a full-length album. We have about five songs complete now and the album is starting to take shape. There’s a couple of songs Tom and I have written that I’m really excited about. In addition, Marcello Vieira, Ricardo Dikk and I are in the planning stages of a new album that is going to be really exciting. So stay tuned because there is a lot happening.

If you could open a show for any artist who would it be?

Nolen: Right now, I’m really into The Black Keys and Greta Van Fleet. It would be fun to open for either of those bands.

Where have you performed? What are your favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

Nolen: Currently The Star Prairie Project is a recording project that only writes and records. Currently we don’t tour. Our members have multiple gigs they are involved in. They have years of performing experience. We have just recently mused about touring, but we need to find a sponsor and be able to book venues that make sense both financially and artistically. Also, the project’s players are scattered around the world. Some live in Europe and some in the United States. But anything is possible I suppose.

What is one message you would give to your fans?

Nolen: We exist for the sole purpose of writing and recording music. Our music is nothing without listeners. We open our hearts and minds to give our listeners the best new music possible. We hope you like it because it’s nothing without you.