Usually the debut album for a band ends up being their most known work because that’s the first time people hear them. It’s like a love at first sight type of thing, but with music. That probably won’t be the case for Colony House. That’s not to say their debut album, “When I Was Younger” is a bad record, it’s just to say that it’s somewhat forgettable in comparison to their new album, “Only the Lonely.” The band shifted gears dropping the over-produced approach and instead opted to record the album organically. It works in a big way. Alternative Addiction recently talked with Colony House frontman Caleb Chapman about the new album and the transition to traditional recording.
“It was all done in Nashville,” began Chapman. “Half of it was produced by Joe Causey, who we’ve worked with since we started as a band. Then, we worked with Jeremy Latito, he was the drummer in Leagues and we were pumped to have him and get creative input from him. We also had Peter Katis mix half of the record which was awesome. He’s worked on some of our favorite albums. Then, Vance Powell who’s worked with Jack White, he helped us out. Really, there’s a ton of people who had their hands on the record, which worked out great for us. That’s big reason it sounds as good as it does.”
The professionals that helped on the record certainly deserve some of the credit for “Only the Lonely” sounding as good as it does. But you can’t give enough credit to Colony House shifting gears in the studio and taking more of a pure approach to recording. There’s not a song on this record that the approach didn’t work. When asked why this record is a step up for the band, Caleb credited the producers and mixers, but he also chalked it up to experience.
“It’s a combination of everything. We pushed ourselves by working with so many different people. Our craft has continued to be refined by touring. I’ll give most of the credit to that. We played over 200 shows the year leading up to making the new record. We knew more about what we wanted to do and what we wanted to accomplish. The last record was kind of a trial and error kind of thing, where this was more of a focused album.”
The focus on the record came from a sit down that Caleb and the guys had before they started working on the new music. They identified what they wanted to do based on some of their favorite albums.
“I think we just wanted to make a rock and roll record. When we play live, that’s what you get. We’re that kind of band, there’s not a lot of tricks. With our first record, there’s a lot going on, but maybe too much. I think the guitars might have lost some of their punch to some synth sounds. It was appropriate at the time, but something we wanted to move away from. We went through and figured out all the records that we loved and why we loved them. We came up with loud guitars and being able to hear everything going on the record. Every sound has a purpose. We wanted to make a record like that,” he added.
There’s a big contrast from the first record to the new record. Both records sound like the same band, but the recording and the work in the studio is vastly different. Chapman talked about the transition between the old way and the new way.
“The hardest part was being okay with leaving mistakes. We could fix what we wanted but there’s something awesome about leaving a performance alone and letting it be what it is. We’re not the most amazing players out there. I’m proud of us, I think we’re good. But the combination of all of us playing together - for better or for worse - is what makes us Colony House. We wanted to make sure we were capturing that. It was all about humbling ourselves and realizing that it was okay if a song didn’t sound perfect.
Working in the studio the way they worked was as memorable of a experience as a band can really have. There was a lot of hard work, but their studio time was more about performance than production. We asked Caleb what the most exciting part about recording an album the way they did was:
“There’s always those moments where you look around the room and you say, ‘wow, that was it.’ As far as the rock and roll tracks go, if you listen closely you can kind of hear my brother who plays drums, you can tell we had a good take if you hear him shout in the background. He kind of hoots and hollers when he’s pumped up on adrenaline.”
You can listen to the new album from Colony House, “Only the Lonely” on Spotify, Apple Music, and other digital retailers now.