First of all, how does it feel knowing Colors turns 10 this year?
It makes me feel very old. That's always the first thing that comes to mind. I mean, it's awesome that we're still going. I feel like we're still writing music that suits us and represents who we are as a band and as people. We’re very lucky to still be doing what we’re doing. Today is the first day of the tour so we’re diving right in and it’s exciting.
How did you feel when the album came out?
I guess the same way I feel every time our album comes out. Relieved, excited, nervous, etc. All those things always come into play just because, I dunno, you never know how people are gonna dig what you do. We’ve always been a band that kinda tries different things and we try not to repeat ourselves a lot. Especially with Colors, it was kind of a big step up musically from Alaska. We were very confident, but at the same time hoping that our fans would be excited as we are with the music. I’ve never been the kinda guy that has expectations when a record comes out.
We put so much work into each album and so much work into writing and recording. It’s such a great payoff and I still think, no matter how the business has changed, that feeling is always the same. You always get that sense of pride when you’re done; all the hard work is paid off. We just got done recording a new record and I just had that same feeling that I had with Colors just now; really excited about what we had done and proud of what we’re doing. I guess if that ever ends, that when I know it’s probably time to hang it up.
Where do you think the album fits in the band's legacy?
I think it fits where it is. I don’t really think anything more important than anything else as far as what we’ve done. I feel like that definitely is a standout record. I think mainly because it's such a big step from Alaska. It kinda showed the world that things might get even weirder from here. As far as the legacy, I’ve been really proud of how well we represented ourselves in the moment. We’ve always been a very genuine band as far as what we write.
It really represents us as people and as musicians in that time period and I think that each record really represents that. I still feel that way today; everything I listen to, it feels right for the moment. Every musician has things we change but I feel like as records, I’m very proud of everything we’ve done still.
How the band approach writing?
Colors was the first record we locked in as a band. Alaska was the first record with Blake, Dustie, and Dan and we wrote that pretty quick. We were still getting to know each other as people, as writing partners, and all that. It went really well, but I feel like Colors was where we realized that we worked really well together. And I feel like that has to do with the covers record [ed. The Anatomy Of) we did. We’ve always referenced that as an important moment for us. I personally don’t really love the record.
I feel like it was such an important moment for us in the studio. We did so many different kinds of music and we worked together on so many kinds of different music and sounds. It really taught us a lot about what we can do, what we can achieve, how to achieve that in the studio. I think when we came out of that, we really enjoyed playing different styles of music. We really wanted to incorporate that in our own music and it really helped us get creative.
Colors was the first time where we really demoed and recorded a lot before we went into the studio. On Alaska, we kinda recorded on a boombox and I wrote vocals over it and went into the studio and recorded it. Everything was a little quick and less thought out and planned in those days. Colors, I think was the first time we really spent a lot on pre-production and getting songs how we want. Now, we’re very into that; we spend most of the work before we get in the studio. We make sure everything’s how we want and record it before we record it for real. I believe we did that with Alaska as well. If we didn’t, we did a less elaborate version of what we do now.
What inspired the lyrics?
Musically, it’s a concept record. It flows as one piece of music and that was the first time we ever did that. We always kinda kept that in mind when writing. That was very fun for us cause it was so different. We’ve done that quite a bit now but at the time it was very new for us. Anytime you approach something completely new, it’s always kinda scary yet very rewarding in the end. Obviously, now we do it a lot so it worked and we enjoyed doing it. I think that was the first time we felt that that’s the kind of band we were becoming.
Lyrically, it wasn’t a concept. I just treated it song by song kinda how I always did back then. Each song kinda is random thoughts that just popped in my head or things I wanna write about. That hasn’t changed a whole lot. Now I write in more story-form, which I kinda touched on with this record. Especially with like Sun of Nothing, and Prequel to the Sequel. I started kinda writing mini-stories which I did with The Great Misdirect. As far as lyrics, I’ve always been a note-taker, if something that I think is unique pops in my head, interesting to sing about or write about, I’ll jot it down on a piece of paper or notepad. I’ve always kinda had that approach. Most lyrics, I’ve always written after music and I believe Colors was the same way
Do any of the themes touched on the album still hold relevant for you after 10 years?
The storytelling aspect of it; I’m really heavy into that with the band. I’ve always written a lot about our society. It’s crazy, a lot of the stuff that bothered me back then about certain aspects of how humanity works. It still really holds true, and I still feel the same way, especially, Informal Gluttony. It’s tough to think back about lyrics even though I’ve been learning them for this tour, it’s not like I’m diving into the conceptually and trying to figure out what I was talking about. Even on a song like White Walls; that song’s about the love of music. I write about that a lot. I wrote that I believe we when were doing Ozzfest.
I had noticed all these bands kinda changing the way they did things, the way they were on stage, the way they wrote music. They did it to appeal to what they thought an audience wanted. It felt very phony to me. A lot of the bands I thought were doing a routine they seen other bands do in order to become famous. Everyone was on this mission to be rockstars. That’s never really been our thing. We’ve always just done our own thing; White Walls is a lot about that and I still see that to this day. We’ve never been that band. It’s crazy to think that most of those bands that I saw that were like that aren’t even around. I guess the “be true to yourself” motto is still very dear to us and it’s worked. I think most of the lyrics are very relevant to my ideals and the band’s as well.
What were your hopes and expectations for Colors during the writing and recording process?
We honestly didn’t have any. I really don’t have expecations. I’m still not sure if the band does. You always hope that something crazy is gonna happen and all of a sudden, you’re this monster band. We do play pretty dense, heavy, off the wall music. We have no expectations of that being a mainstream thing or something that’s gonna make us all rich. You always hope that happens; who doesn’t? I’m 36 years old, I have a family. I’d love for some record to catch onto a group of people that would never in a million years give us a chance.
There’s always that expectation but you never know. I have learned over the years that in the business, you have a lot of people kinda telling you expecations; you get very misinformed. I feel like no one should ever tell a band that “this record is gonna make you huge” or anything. It’s all so circumstantial and it all really depends on your time and place and luck in a lot of instances. I think expectations are silly especially in this day and age with music.
When you were in the studio, how was the morale of the band?
It was great. We’re very lucky as a band; we really get along. We work really well together. At this point, we’re a super well-oiled machine in the studio. Back then, I would say we were probably around each other more, watching each other record. Nowadays, we just do our own thing and come in here and there. Like I said, most of the ideas and problem-solving is beforehand and pre-production stage. The morale has always been great with the band. Jamie King, we recorded Colors with him and still record every album with him. We just did the new record with him. He helps with the morale and he’s a great friend of ours. We really mesh well with him and work well together.
When was the last time you listened to the record? Are there memories and emotions that come back?
I’ve listened to it a few times to get ready for this tour. I don’t listen to it as as a fan, I’m listening to it as like “I need to learn this to play on stage.” There’s not really memories and emotions. The main emotional reaction I get to it is just the fact that, it’s 10 years ago and that people are really stoked on that record still. I think that’s awesome. At the time, we never knew we’d be around this long. We didn’t have expectations for that. I would say those are the emotions running through my mind. I’m very lucky that where I am in my life now, I’m still getting to look back at these songs and play them for a lot of people again.
What do you remember most about making the album?
It’s weird; I have a bad memory. I just remember being in the studio, which is the studio we always go to. It kinda feels like it always does. The practice space we still practice in and studio we still record in. We still work with a lot of the same people. We weren’t as confident back then. It still more kinda figuring things out. That’s fun though. It’s fun to be young and not know exactly what you’re doing. Little things like the bar scene in Ants of The Sky; we recorded that ourselves. Fun little things that we still try to do nowadays. Those are all little magical things that happen in the studio and things that I think about when I listen back to these songs.
Were there any bands, in particular, you enjoyed playing with while touring for the record?
I’m the wrong person to ask about this. I don’t know what bands we toured with that album cycle. We’ve toured with so many bands over the years and so many great bands. As far as a timeframe and who the tours were with, I honestly don’t know.
What sort of place was your life in when the album came out?
It was very different from now. I’m married and have a son; he’s five year old and just started kindergarten. I think if you were to go back 10 years and be like “Hey, you’re gonna live in California. You’re gonna have a son, you’re gonna have a wife,” I probably would have thought you were lying. Life was way different. It was the band, the band was “it.” It’s still a huge part of my life. As anyone who gets older knows, you have to juggle a little bit more. At the end of the day, music is my artistic passion and I love it. That hasn’t changed at all. My life has changed a lot, it’s all for the better.
Did you ever expect the album to have the influence it did?
Not really. I would say we’re fairly humble dudes, I’m probably too humble. I think every record we’re like “yeah, I guess it’s cool.” People dig it and still dig it. And I guess a lot of younger bands, it influences them. That’s like a huge compliment because, at the end of the day, I’m still a huge fan of music. I’m still influenced by a lot of music. To hear that we helped bands start or helped a band gather their sound because of stuff we’ve done, it’s a huge compliment. That makes me feel old too. A guy in a younger band said we were legends a couple weeks ago to me. That made me feel old. I think of legends like old dudes so I guess I’m one of those old dudes now [laughs].
Do you remember what you were listening to at the time?
Probably a lot of Radiohead and I still listen to a lot of Radiohead. I’ve been into a lot of different stuff. I still listen to a lot of metal, rock, weird shit, and a lot of jazz. I assume it was very similar back then. I’m probably a bit more mellow now. Not as much really brutal stuff. I wouldn’t say it’s changed too much.
Looking back on things 10 years later, would you change anything about the release?
I’m very happy with the record. There are little production things and stuff that doesn’t matter to anyone that bands always wanna change. Things happen for a reason, recordings happen for a reason. The way you recorded it is for a reason. I think the layout is cool, I think the lyrics are cool; they still hold up. Musically, it’s still fun to play and people still dig it. We’re very lucky to be in this position and I wouldn’t change a thing.