We had the pleasure of chatting with Caleb of Colony House, before their upcoming show in San Diego at the House of Blues on Monday March 9th.
Caleb, you’ve previously mentioned that when you met Scott at your sister’s birthday party, you were in the market for a guitarist to add to the duo. Why were you trying to add an additional guitarist in particular, as opposed to another instrument?
Growing up, we always had a four piece band–two guitars, a bass, and drum. At the time we met Scott, we actually had a bassist with us in the group, but he would later part ways and join our cousin. So we were looking to complete the four piece group, and after Scott joined us the rest has been history since.
You’ve noted your name change to Colony House was inspired, at least in part, because it was the space you lived together when you first started; an origin point so to say. Do you see the band’s sound sticking with its origin–the stripped down rock and roll you’ve developed quite well? Or do you see yourselves willing to experiment around, even if sticking to the idea of music created only with instrument?
We will always be experimenting, shaping our sound based off what people are responding to and how they respond to it. At the center of our music will always been an effort to keep the basics of the group’s music so far. The most important thing is to make people on board with us now know how appreciative the band is by keeping touch with its roots. But experimentation is also about trying to capture a wider audience by creating new sounds based on crowds’ reactions. We plan to do this as a living, so ultimately creating new sounds will be about going where the road takes us, and not closing our eyes to opportunity.
So you want to do this for a living, and music is obviously a huge passion in all of your lives. What other passions have you had, and which have you maintained as you’ve moved forward with music? Any that have (perhaps regrettably) fallen to the wayside?
I can’t think of any that have completely fell to the wayside. One thing with music is there are so many different outlets inside of it, opportunities come up all over along the way. I’ve worked for music organizations as a film guy, and it was cool. But it was definitely something that made me say, ‘this is not my passion.’ Finding what makes you tick is really a part of the process. We’re also all huge sports fans, and love playing and watching sports. But touring is definitely not always conducive to being active and keeping. We do what we can to though.
What has been the best experience touring thus far?
The touring experience itself has been the most rewarding. We played a headlining tour last fall and did some smaller rooms and now we’re going up touring with Kongos in large rooms we aren’t necessarily used to. Seeing your songs being sung back to you live is really an awesome thing.
Scott recently noted Nashville’s indie rock seen is getting attention recently where it hadn’t before. What would you credit to its rise in Nashville?
There has been a big influx of young people moving there. The city has always had a share of singer-songwriters, and a strong portion of these younger people coming in have become a part of that group. The door was always kind of opened through these people. There is a sense of wanting make something unique that can compete with the city’s music scene as a whole. The indie rock scene was territory that hadn’t been explored, and now everyone there can piggy back off each other and inspire one another. This is just a theory though, who knows.
You’ve noted you learn a lot from shows attend, especially indie shows from your guys’ local community in Nashville. What is it you’re learning when you go to shows? Is there anything you specifically look for?
Oh yea, I become a sponge at shows–try to soak up as much as I can. Everyone has something they do differently. I try to see how bands I love connect with their audiences, both in the interactions between the band and the crowd and between the band members themselves. I want to see how they create moments in the show that establish a connection between band and audience; moments that ignite a fire in the room people weren’t expecting. And then we try and see how we can do things differently to create moments too.
You mentioned the group’s first appearance on a major television network was very much a head game. You guys certainly conquered the challenge though. That said, would you say rising to the call in that situation, and doing so again since, has improved your performance as a group? What has helped to refine your live performance most since you began playing shows?
Yea, it really was a different experience. It threw us into a situation where we had to grow up a little bit right there and figure out how to get it done. But it was just another experience that was different from anything before. I don’t know if it or any one thing has refined our performance more than anything else though. Every experience we come across is really trial and error. It is about seeing what works and what doesn’t work and figuring out, moving forward, how to do what doesn’t work again.
You guys have previously mentioned you want people listening to your music to be able to get to “feel” and get to know the group. Given your father’s presence as a Christian rock musician, would you say spirituality (even in a secular sense) is something see as part of people’s experience when they listen to your music?
Yea, I hope so. It’s one of those things that is so much a part of our lives that it seeps out of us when we’re writing about personal experiences, family’s stories, and everything. We live in this world of crazy things, with people that believe all these different things. What we’ve realized is that people respond, no matter what their beliefs, to honesty in expression. We write the music we want to write and say the things we want to say and let that be our ‘in’ with people. Our hope is for honest conversations with people. Every room we play has a crowd of people we don’t know. But we know the crowd is a sea of faces that have all been let down at some point or another; everyone has been hurt at some point. We seek to make that connection through our honesty.
Aside from the upcoming Tour De Compadres tour this year, what is up next for Colony House?
After the tour, we are toying with the idea of another headlining tour to end the year. Really though we will be touring for the rest of the year no matter what though. I’m also hoping some new music will be on the horizon, but I can’t make any promises. The band is itching to make music. There are moments to write on the tour, but it’s really a give and take. We’ll have to see.