Painter Fingers is the brainchild of Travis Charles Hagan. Travis is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Leander, TX. He is also a middle school teacher. Like nearly everyone in his profession, and most other professions as well, Hagan has spent the majority of 2020 housebound. We’ve covered a number of quarantine inspired projects here over the past few months. Painter Fingers ranks up at the top with the best of them, and certainly one of the most creative.
“Working For Ghosts,” is Travis’ entry into the COVID-19 songbook. Others have included moving instrumental compositions from Europe, emotional songs emanating from New York City rooftops, and goofy-fun Midwestern quarantine Alt-Pop. Painter Fingers has taken the newly formed genre and given it yet another twist. Travis knew he wanted to chronicle his family’s quarantine experience in song, but he was not sure what form it should take. So he and his wife decided to leave it up to chance.
At school, teachers often use a randomization wheel to ensure they aren’t always calling on the same students, and I thought it would be fun to bring a little randomization into the creative process as well.Travis Hagan
So the Hagans put over fifty different musical genres onto a randomization wheel. “Working for Ghosts” is what happened when the wheel landed on Tejano, a style of music that originated in Texas. It is a hybrid of Mexican, American and European musical styles. In Travis’ hands it sounds a bit like a Mariachi band playing a Pop song from the 1920’s. The bouncy, old-timey rhythm is a perfect fit for the lighthearted fun of “Working for Ghosts.”
The “Ghosts” of the title refers to the disembodied voices belonging to Travis’ coworkers. For many of us, the work experience this year consists exclusively of conference calls and emails. Hagan’s clever characterization of that reality is right on point. But the lyrics are only half the story. To fully appreciate “Working for Ghosts,” you need to watch the video. It has all of the ingredients of a perfect short film; a bearded Texan and his wife, puppies and a ridiculously cute baby.
You can hear “Working for Ghosts” on the Deep Indie Dive playlist. Follow the links below to connect with Painter Fingers and stay in the loop on all of the Hagan family’s experiments in lockdown.