Interview With Colony House

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Hailing from Franklin, TN, Indie Rock quartet Colony House are no strangers to the touring life. We recently caught up with them on the Canadian leg of their tour supporting NEEDTOBREATHE.

We’re here with Colony House. So, can you let our readers know who we have the pleasure of speaking with this evening?
Caleb Chapman: Well, this is Caleb Chapman from Colony House. [Lead vocals/Guitar]
Parke Cottrell: This is Parke Cottrell from Colony House. [Bass/Keys/Additional Vocals]
Scott Mills: And I’m Scott Mills from Colony House. [Guitar/Additional Vocals]

For those who may be unfamiliar with Colony House, can you give us a quick rundown of the roots of the band? What would you compare your sound to?
Caleb: The quick rundown is, the one person you’ve not heard yet, my brother Will (Chapman) [Drums]. We grew up playing music together, and shortly thereafter during our high school days we met Scott Mills and formed kind of formed the first version of Colony House. Except we weren’t called Colony House. We played music together for I don’t know, 4-5 years, and then started recording our first album. Right before we put out our first album, we changed our name to Colony House. We met Parke somewhere along the way. He finished our first When I Was Younger co-headlining tour out playing bass for us. That’s the quick story of how we all met and started playing music together. If we were to compare our sound to anyone, I’m not sure.
Scott: Dave Matthews Band
Caleb: Not quite Dave Matthews. The official biographies say that we draw influences from the greats like U2, Kings of Leon, The Killers. Those are certainly among our favorite bands. I wish we sounded like them, so maybe if we sort of sound like them I’ll take that.

Your RCA Records debut Only The Lonely has been out for almost 4 months now. It’s still early in the album cycle, but what has been the overall vibes you’ve received for this full-length? Are you surprised by the response that you’re getting?
Parke: I feel like the overall vibe we’ve had from this album so far has been a two thumbs up positive vibe. We just finished a headlining tour not too long ago. We were pleasantly surprised with several of the turnouts on that tour. It was first real official Colony House headlining tour, so there was certainly some moments where we were like “Man, who is going to show up tonight?”. Tons of people kept coming out to our shows. Most of the people that were coming to our shows were not only singing older songs, but also singing along to songs from Only The Lonely. I feel like was one of the biggest boosts/wind in our sails so to speak. We just say tons of people really digging it daily.

What was the most memorable moment or the highlight of working on the album?
Caleb: Oh yeah! I think we could all go around and tell you some different ones. We recorded it quite differently than the first album. We were all in the room together a lot more, as opposed to being in there separately and recording track-by-track. We did alot of it as a band. The general overall recording of it will always stamp Only The Lonely for me as the we were able to look at each other while recording the songs. Who knows how much of that we’ll do in the future, maybe we’ll do it again or maybe we’ll not. But at this point that’s the unique thumbprint of Only The Lonely for me. There is alot of memorable moments inside of that.
Parke: One of my favorite moments is the last track of the album, “This Beautiful Life”. Caleb just went into the room with a mic on his acoustic guitar. For his voice, the two tracks (acoustic/vocals) you’re hearing, he did that live. One take, no stopping. That was one of those cool moments that it happened, that he didn’t stop. It was one of those moments that wasn’t necessarily perfect, but was perfect. Maybe the hand gestures that you can’t see right now helped explain it. Haha!

Artists often have a song or two on their album that they hold near & dear to their heart. What would you say that/those songs are on Only The Lonely?
Caleb: Which one is your baby?
Scott: The album is my baby
Parke: What is one of your baby’s babies?
Scott: There you go, one of my grand-babies. I really like the song “I Want It All”, it’s one of my favorite even though you’re not supposed to say that.
Parke: You can say it
Scott: I also like the song “Was It Me”. Both of those songs have been really fun and snappy.
Parke: My answer is the same. “I Want It All” & “Was It Me”
Caleb: Mine is probably “This Beautiful Life”. That was one of those songs that just wrote itself. And those are nice surprises along the way when you’ve kinda got wrestling matches all day with writing songs, sometimes years. It’s nice to have one kind of just happen.

Your first album When I Was Younger came out in 2014. What did you learn from that album that you brought forth on Only The Lonely?
Caleb: Yes. I think there is always a learning curve with making a record. The one we learned and probably applied the most to Only The Lonely was to not fix stuff too much. We fixed a lot on When I Was Younger which I think gives it its own thumbprint, it was polished. And Only The Lonely was more of a what was the best take for the band, not what was the best take for Scott, Caleb, Parke or Will. It was what felt the best together. And with that comes the squirrelly variables. We tried to go with our instinct a bit more. If you ask me this same question with the next album, I’ll probably tell you that it was to think about things a bit more. But it was good for us to not think about things too much on Only The Lonely. We’re kinda in a boat, rocking back & forth. We’ll figure it out. Maybe. Probably not, we’ll probably never figure it out. That’s what’s awesome!

Being from Franklin (TN), there is many different music genre/scenes to be influenced from. Do you find yourselves drawing inspiration from other Tennessee artists?
Scott: Its a bit of both. There has been an Indie Rock resurgence happening in Nashville over the last few years. Even crossing into Canada last night, they asked where we were coming from. We said Nashville, and they said Country band? There is a really cool group of bands that we are honored to be a part of that are pushing the Alternative Rock thing in Nashville. I think its easy to look around and get inspired there. And then, we’re always drawing influence from bands across the pond and West coast.
Caleb: And the history of Nashville is so rich, it’s hard. I would hope it’s seeped into my blood a bit. Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, a lot of that old school country and Elvis. The Grand Ol’ Opry. Country music isn’t outside of the things we enjoy, it would just probably be the country music of a few decades ago.

You’re currently on tour with Needtobreathe. This isn’t the first time they’ve taken you guys on the road? How’s the tour so far?
Caleb: First off, they asked us to join them on this tour, so that was good. We were friends, Josh from NEEDTOBREATHE and Scott/Parke grew up in the same town of Knoxville, TN. They grew up knowing each other. So there was a connection beyond the band. We always thought it would be cool to go on tour with NEEDTOBREATHE. They’ve been crushing it for a long time.
Scott: The first tour we got asked was the Compadres tour a few years back. It was big amphitheaters, it was our biggest tour by far at that time. It was nice to see how our songs vibed in 5,000 seat venues. That was fun. With this one, we’ve not quite cross all of Canada with Colony House, so we thought it would be a good idea. Tonight (Toronto) really feels like the beginning of the tour.

Caleb, you obviously grew up in a household that was very music-minded/oriented with a Grammy award winning father. Would you say a music-related career was a childhood dream? Aspirations to follow in your father’s footsteps?
Caleb: Yes, totally! That’s gotta be where we got the bug for music. I have vivid memories of going out on tour when I was in elementary school. Some of my earliest memories are probably going to big Christian music festivals with my dad, and watching him run out on stage. I’d sit behind the soundboard, push the lights. All those are what makes up my childhood memories. From the earliest time I can remember, I’ve wanted to do what dad did. It’s taken on it’s own shape, it’s not quite exactly following in his footsteps. We kinda slingshot, we grabbed onto his coattail, he went around one corner and we slingshot our own path. He’s our biggest supporter, he’s been nothing but proud of the whole thing. We have my dad to thank for a lot for sure.

Do you feel that the band’s dynamics differs by having two siblings in the band? Would it be different if it was only four buddies?
Caleb: Yes, probably! Those guys could probably answer this question better than I could.
Scott: There is a certain bond that you build in a band. I think we all have real brothers, which makes it easier for us to understand. You certainly build a friendship & family in a band. I think there is something to bands with siblings in them. There is some tension that can be really good or bad.
Caleb: I wouldn’t get rid of the hard things, even if I could. I feel like that’s what makes it a band, even with these guys. It’s almost like having Will in the band enables these relationships to be even more brother-like. That threshold gets crossed all the time, because it’ll get uncomfortable with them crossing your typical confrontational threshold. So by default, they’re brought into that. A lot of times we figure out things that way. I’ll take the tension, because I think that’s what builds a true band.

You’ve experienced the highs and lows of being traveling musicians. What advice do you have for up-&-coming artists?
Parke: Keep doing it!
Caleb: It takes time. If there is overnight success, I don’t know who it is. Even those who seem to blow up in your face, they’ve been at it for years & years with heartbreak, trials & triumphs. For us, it’s been over 8 years now, and we still feel like we’re just starting as a band. Perception is everything. People will tell us that we’re crushing it, selling out venue, etc. But, it’s like once you’ve stuck a flag in that territory, there a whole…I was talking with Bear from NEEDTOBREATHE about it. He said they are such a competitive band, they sold out this one club and then sold out that other club. They wanted to sell out Ryman Auditorium, then they sold out Ryman Auditorium. Then Red Rocks Amphitheatre. He said it gets boring after a while. Because you have to question yourself after a while to why you’re doing this. It’s awesome to knock those goals out. I think that’s the lesson we’re still learning: Patience & perseverance. We have to believe in this, there is too much time and work that’s gone into it to not.

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