It’s been a few months since the quartet in the indie-rock group, Colony House, shared their plans of releasing a follow-up to their 2017 record, Only The Lonely.
And since that announcement, the band’s kept themselves hard at work in not only releasing details of the forthcoming record, which is set to be titled Leave What’s Lost Behind, but also a tour and a whole slew of songs teasing the album’s overall sound.
With all this momentum leading up to the album’s January 24 release date, it was a real pleasure getting to talk to the band’s frontman, Caleb Chapman, about the making of the album, fan’s reactions to it and some small Easter eggs you’ll want to look out for when you pick up Leave What’s Lost Behind for the first time.
I know it’s been a few years since you released an album, could you walk me through the steps of this new album process?
So yeah, it’s been three years; we have a problem with touring. When we get antsy – we’re like, ‘Hey, just put us on the road,’ [because] that’s when we feel like we’re making progress and doing something. So, after about two and a half years, we had a little sit-down and said we have to stop touring for at least a few months to record this album. But kind of what led up to beginning this album was we were with RCA records for our last album, ‘Only The Lonely,’ and it was kind of like a little bit of a co-sign thing with a smaller label that we did our first album with.
The small label was no more, but they called us and they were just like, ‘Hey, we’re like not doing this anymore.’ And so, in all of that, the RCA deal went with it and we found ourselves as free agents like we were in the good old days. It was this moment of a lot of emotions, [so we were] like, ‘okay, this is a little bit like starting at ground zero.’ But the overarching feeling was excitement cause we were like, ‘Oh sweet, we really get to do this by ourselves. At least started out that way and create this album by ourselves.’ And that’s kinda how we had actually recorded both albums before that. We recorded them and then after the fact, [we were] then picked up by a label.
So we were kinda in a similar boat, which we were excited about. Leading up to that moment, we had been pulled and pushed in a lot of different directions on what the label thought we should be doing next and what managers thought we should be doing next, the booking agents and all of these things. After all of that went away, it was like, you know, you’ve been on a roller coaster and then you get off and you’re like kind of finding your legs again. And so for months and months we started writing and I think that was just a little bit of a purging process of figuring out what we wanted to say next. And then around the fall of 2018, we decided to scrap everything we had worked on for the last three years and start over.
So you just started everything over?
Yeah, and so we more or less scrapped everything we had demoed and started new. [Which meant] we started talking with different producers and friends that we had worked with in the past and really wanted to create a culture of encouragement and more than anything, an inspiring kind of atmosphere.
And then at the beginning of 2019, we started recording this album that we weren’t sure what was going to end up like, but we were like, ‘let’s do this how we did it when we were in high school.’ Where we would go into the studio and press record and we’re like, ‘Ooh, that was fun. We should do that and not really care about if it’s gonna fit in some box that someone we don’t even know is gonna say if they like this or not. It’s just if we like it and do we care about what we’re saying. So, that was what led us to make this new album.
How would you describe this album’s sound? Is there anything that would surprise fans the most hearing it? Or does it still have some of those old elements that your past releases have?
Yeah, I think we leaned a direction between the first and the second album, we kind of lean closer to the first album in spirit and in sound. There was just something wonderful about making that album. It’s the first album emotion, it’s like your first girlfriend, and it’s exciting, you know? And we wanted to try to bottle that up again in the recording process. So, I’d say in spirit we lean that way. Sonically, and all the decisions we made, I think we really let ourselves off off the hook. Me and my brother, who plays drums in the band, took a little bit more of a forward role in producing the album, kind of co-producing it with our good friend Ben Shive.
And so we experimented. Like, I sang all the vocals by myself – no one was around when I sang vocals and that’s something we had never done before. So I got to really beat up on myself…Like, do things I would never do if there was a room full of people listening to me. Even that is something I think will hopefully have a little bit of a fingerprint on this album. We let my brother go program and do a ton of his own stuff with no one else in the room. When you’re trying to write or draw something and someone’s looking over your shoulder and you’re like, ‘ah, this is not going to be good, you’re watching me.’ And so we tried to apply that through the recording process and I think some just quirky, fun sounds and songs and approaches came from it. I think that will be the surprising element.
What would you say is the story or central theme of this new album – if there is one?
It rotates themes in a way…it would be like reading your diary aloud of like, well you were having a good day today and then the next day you are not having a good day today. So in that way the theme kind of bounces around. But I think tackling uncertainty, asking a lot of questions and wading through the season of my life, specifically cause I write the words, but yeah, I think all of us fell in a similar boat of like wading through a season of life where we’re like, ‘wow, so many things are changing and I have to put all the things that I grew up with like on the line and kind of just weigh and measure them and then also weigh and measure ourselves.’
I think a lot of that comes across as songs full of feeling like you’re not enough. We had tried to be really honest and not in an overly emotional kind of way…I think the theme is honesty and really wanting people to see straight through us and being okay with that. I also think with all of that said, I really do feel passionate about hope…hope kind of gets the last word in all of it. I think it’s a hopeful album – I think hope is a huge theme in the album.
Since you guys have announced the album, I’ve kind of been like hovering over any news that you guys have shared, and I got a press release for the song “Looking For Some Light.” And what stuck to me when I did that story is you had mentioned in that as soon as that chorus materialized, you wanted like ‘a common thread truth to be woven throughout the project.’ Could you explain to me what that actually means to you and how you had that message incorporated?
Yeah, totally…That was something that kind of popped into my mind as I was like writing the quote for that…but the common thread truth being everybody’s looking for some light and this idea, this kind of the imagery that I had in my mind, is that as I was writing that chorus was like, standing in a dark room and not knowing where the entrance is or where a window is…Like you have no reference for where you’re at. And then someone turns the hallway light on and you see the bottom of the door illuminate, you know, and it’s like, ‘Oh, I have directions now.’ That’s kinda the imagery of the chorus that I want. Like this idea that we’re all in this room where our perspective and everything is constantly changing and we don’t really have a reference for where we’re going and we’re all looking for that little bit of light to just give us a direction and help.
And I think that that is universal. So that’s what I meant by that. And as far as it continuing to show up through the album, I’ve always loved lyrics kind of repeating themselves in different songs. And so there’s definitely the idea of looking, even verbatim, looking for some light, and it’s kind of woven throughout the album. And this is not me getting myself off the hook, but I kinda like it being an Easter egg hunt. Like ‘oh, this is what he’s talking about.’ And it’s in songs that you wouldn’t expect. It’s not all serious. The idea of looking for some light is even in the songs that you wouldn’t expect.
I like that – it gives fans a chance to look at it in little pieces once it comes out.
[There is an] Easter egg I’ll give away because I like it so much…I love the idea of starting an album and finishing an album in kind of a similar manner. Obviously, the first track is ‘Looking For Some Light’ and the final lyric of the entire album incorporates the title of the album and this idea that we’re looking for some light. The final lyric is ‘I’m leaving what is lost behind to find the light. Cause maybe it’s the hope inside that comes alive when it’s all that we have left.’ So that’s one Easter egg I’ll give away because I was just like, ‘Oh I like that.’ It kinda tied a nice bow on this whole thing.
And then, circling back to the album as a whole, when it does come out, what do you hope the main takeaway will be once like fans listen to it?
I definitely want that final lyric I quoted earlier to be a takeaway in theme…where like this idea that when you hit rock bottom, that’s not the end, that’s often the beginning of a new season and that there’s hope there. And sometimes we only see it when it’s the only thing we have left to see. So that would be a huge takeaway for me. I also want people to be stoked that we’re continuing to push ourselves and [trying to get] outside of our creative comfort zone and do things that some people [may ask] ‘why’d you do that?’ And some people might be like, ‘thank you for doing that.’ We’re trying to grow as artists and as people…and we’ll see. That’s kind of what I hope people see in all of this.
I know you did mention you have a tour for this album coming up. Is there anything else that fans can expect for the rest of this year that you could share?
I can’t share super details because my band will get mad at me, but we are definitely going to release a few more tracks before this album drops. And we went on this really long road trip to take a bunch of photos and videos and it was ridiculous and crazy…a lot of driving, a lot early mornings, but we got like some really, really fun stuff to share with people. We just want to be able to like continue to give them stuff while they wait for us to put this music out. So there’s a lot of like fun things that we’ll be able to continue to sprinkle in as we wait for this album to drop.