Interview: Colony House
Mon, 09 Mar 2015 10:54:01
Colony House Videos
Colony House's When I Was Younger immediately captivates. There's an urgent vibrancy to the album that immediately pulls you in like all great records should. The Franklin, TN indie rock three-piece underscores the collection's cinematic heft with lithe melodies that are impossible to shake. Airy instrumentation often gives way to big hooks, making for an undeniable sonic pastiche.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Colony House frontman Caleb Chapman talks When I Was Younger, movies, and so much more.
Did you approach When I Was Younger with one particular vision or vibe in mind?
It was sort of like a happy accident. When we started the recording process, we were asking the producer, "Do we have enough songs to do a full-length record? Should we just do a couple of EPs or something?" He challenged us like, "Let's make it happen. Let's go for it." My concern was I wanted it to be cohesive. I had one set of songs that felt one way, and another set of songs that felt another way. As we finished these songs and the lyrics started flowing into place, we saw this thread of youth and growing up. That was tied throughout the whole thing. Even though the vibe of the songs was different, it has this beginning scene of the adolescent stage. It's the fun naïve stage. Towards the back half of the record, it's heavier, and it approaches heavier subject matter and feels more grown-up. It became purposeful, but it was born through an accident.
What's the story behind "Lose Control?"
I'm glad you asked. I don't get to answer this question a lot. It's a good question. Actually, the song was initially inspired by the movie Forrest Gump, which is one of my favorite movies. When I was a senior in high school, I did a report on Robert Zemeckis, and I became a huge fan of all his films. That was my first time watching Forrest Gump. It's sad that it took me that long to see it. The opening and ending scene feature this feather floating through the air. It seems random, but when the story unfolds, the image of the feather floating from place to place makes a lot more sense. In the story of Forrest Gump, he never made any calculated decisions, but he has this tragic, yet beautiful story that happens in his life. It's mainly because he went with it. That's where it started thematically. I took that and applied it to my life. I feel like I've seen people try to control things and it never works out the way that they planned it. Sometimes, that's for the better. Sometimes, it's not for the better. I need to write a reminder to myself that it's not a stable life. It's this false sense of security. There's no such thing as a stable life. There are beautiful things that come out of the unknown. That's where that song came from. There's the story of pain that my family has gone through. We lost my little sister when she was five-years-old to an accident. That plays into the story that everything is out of our control. Why fight to hold on when there's nothing we can do about it?
Where did "Waiting for My Time to Come" come from?
That was a last minute addition. We had finished and mastered the whole thing. Two years ago, we were supposed to play Austin City Limits. This was before anything was really happening with our band. We had the record done, and we didn't really know what we were going to do with it. There was no label or manager. We had a small booking agent who was trying to get us anything possible. We went to ACL, and the day we were supposed to play, it got rained out. Austin is not close to Nashville. We literally drove down just for that. We drove all the way back home, and we were all pretty bummed. On the ride home, we spontaneously decided to record an EP literally just for fun to get our creativity flowing again and inspire ourselves again. There are four songs on that EP, and "Waiting for My Time to Come" is one of them. I love that song. It's one of my favorites on the record, because it sums up where the band was at that point and even still is. The process of waiting is not a short climb. It's a patient, long, and testing time. In a young person's career, you're waiting for things to happen, knowing that it will when it all needs to. Because it's newer to this collection of songs, I'm very partial to that.
Is it important for you to tell stories in the songs?
Yeah! I love telling stories. I love listening to stories. I always have. When I was a little boy, I used to beg my dad to tell me stories from his childhood that I'd never heard before. Afterwards, I'd ask to hear them again. I could listen to stories all day long. It's this fascination with being on the receiving end that made me want to tell stories for other people to listen to. There's a challenge to squeezing an epic tale into three-and-a-half minutes. I like thinking of it as a children's book. I have to get to the point fast or I'm going to lose my listener because the attention span is short. What inspires you outside of music?
I love movies! I'm on a kick lately where I try to write a song after I've been inspired by a movie. Movies are right there on the top of the list of other art forms I'm inspired by. I'm not a huge reader. I'm trying to be better about it, but I do get captivated by books. I love picture books. There's an artist and author named Oliver Jeffers. He lives in Brooklyn, but he's from Belfast. He has an amazing way of telling children's stories. He has beautiful artwork that goes along with everything. Whenever there's imagery attached to a studio, I'm all about that. That might be why I love movies so much.
If the album were a movie, what would it be?
I have to throw Forrest Gump in there, because it specifically inspired the songs. That story is very universal. Maybe it starts as The Sandlot and morphs into Forrest Gump. It starts carefree, but still has weight and hope throughout. That's why I love Forrest Gump so much.
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