Edit: Levatino was at LHJH while Murray attended Forest Meadow. They met after school through friends who were jamming in a band.
Eight months after the release of Bastards of Soul’s second album, Corners, a music video for a new song and preview from a pending documentary dropped.
Producer and creative director Paul Levatino, an East Dallas resident, produced the music video for the song, “It’s Gonna Be Alright,” dedicating it to late Bastards of Soul frontman Chadwick Murray’s wife, Hannah, and their son, Lennox.
Filmed from one of the band’s studio sessions, it was the last video Levatino filmed of Bastards of Soul before Murray’s passing in September 2021.
“They wanted to go in and record that A and B side single kind of true to the original kind of 60s sound that they were going for that 60 soul sound, which was different from the album Corners. It didn’t fit Corners, and it didn’t fit the other album and kind of had its own vibe.”
The band— Chad Stockslager on keys, Chris Holt on guitar, Matt Trimble on the traps and Danny Balis on bass— wanted to go for a retro sound, which is why they went with The Echo Lab to get what they were going for.
Over the course of the pandemic, they had recorded about three albums worth of songs, “It’s Gonna Be Alright” being one of them. It’s featured on a documentary that’s still in the works.
The band had gone back into the studio during the pandemic to record without pro tools or a computer but faced some difficulties, including lockdown and Chadwick’s health concerns.
“So, the thought was why don’t I bring my crew and film the whole process of that happening,” Levatino says. “During that, I started getting a bunch of different interviews, fly on the wall, kind of footage. And we never realized it was going to be the last pieces that we ever caught of Chadwick alive. I got interviews with the whole band and got some really special moments of him before his baby was born.”
After Chadwick’s death in 2021, it became difficult for Levatino to even look at the footage for about six months.
However, Levatino and Murray’s ties weren’t just work-based. Their bond stretched all the way back to junior high. Levatino was at Lake Highlands Junior High, Murray at Forest Meadow, when they first met.
They became friends after school during a jam session in a band. The two went on to graduate from Lake Highlands High School together. Levatino says he was the new kid.
“I moved here from Austin and didn’t have a lot of friends, but I was a drummer. And I guess through the grapevine, he heard I was playing drums. He came over and he asked me if I wanted to jam, I think we were 15 years old, and from there we became really close friends and stayed friends his whole life,” he says.
Though their careers took different paths in the span of those 30 years, Levatino and Murray remained close until his last days.
Currently, Levatino is executive creative producer for Pourri (formerly Poo~Pourri) and is behind the Flip that Funk campaign featuring RC & The Gritz and Black Joe Lewis. Plenty of his videos for Bastards of Soul and other creative work was done under his own label, PL Presents.
He’s also spent decades connected to the music scene, serving as manager for Erykah Badu’s Badu World for 10 years. She hired him originally to help her with production at the historic Forest Theater.
“Erykah is her own manager,” he says. “I oversaw her business at her direction, but I also oversaw for concert production. So, how that happened was we met backstage at one of her concerts. She started talking to me about my connections, marketing, and working with brands, music and film and she wanted me involved somehow.”
When asked where his creative journey began, Levatino draws back to Lake Highlands. Even though he grew up in Austin, he says the culture and diversity of Lake Highlands sparked his passion for the arts.