Seattle-based group Colorworks oozed dreamy, psychedelic sunshine on the Barboza Stage during the third day of this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party. KXSU got a chance to talk with the local outlet about their influences, their newest project, and some tour stories. Read what Bret Dylan (guitar & vocals), Nick Myette (bass & vocals), Andrew Ginn (drums), and David Easton (guitar & keys) all had to say!
KXSU: Thanks for chatting with us, guys! So how did the band start out?
Bret: Nick and I used to have a punk band in high school, and I was returning from living in South Korea after two years. The two of us had the intention of making a 1960s pop band, with the idea of covering all the classics from the era (and making a few originals). We were in need of a drummer, and I ran into Andrew at our old band manager’s memorial, Mike Vraney (who was Andrew’s friend and mentor). We knew each other from back in the day, but it had been some time. However, we instantly reconnected and officially started the project the next week, covering the Beatles, the Turtles, the Mamas and the Papas, the Beach Boys, etc., and we started putting together original tunes. We had a different guitarist for a while, but it didn’t work out and we did the power trio thing until we met—dun dun dun—David. He was in search of musically-compatible people, and it just seemed like the perfect fit.
KXSU: Who are some of your musical Influences?
Nick: The whole decade of the ’60s is where we pull a lot of our inspiration from. We really dig the songwriting of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Zombies, Carole King, Burt Bacharach, etc. But artists from other time periods too, like XTC, Captain Beefheart, Blur, Radiohead, Judee Sill, The Mars Volta. We love the old stuff, and we love the care and craft that was put into creating it. We try to do the same in a contemporary setting with our own compositions. Artists like Father John Misty, Temples, and Tame Impala are inspiring because they’re doing exactly that.
KXSU: What was your inspiration for Dreams of Mangoes? After listening to your 2015 release, Joyla Red, and comparing it to this newest release, I got a little bit of a bouncier and sunnier feel. Is this how you would describe it?
CW: What’s interesting about your observation is that the songs from Dreams of Mangoes were already written before we recorded Joyla Red. We tracked all four songs for our last EP, but they didn’t turn out quite right, so we spent more time refining them while trying out various studio situations. Dreams of Mangoes is actually a compilation of two of our newer songs (“Daydreams” and “Pears & Mangoes”) with two of our oldest songs (“She Said No” and “Collision”), so there’s a natural progression in the sound and the songwriting from our last EP, especially in the two title tracks. ‘Mangoes’ has a very upbeat vibe that describes summer in the city, which definitely makes it bouncier and sunny. Something funny about this record—David had been in the band for less than a week and he was already tracking guitar parts and piano. He works fast!
KXSU: What is your songwriting process like? Where did you draw your inspiration for the songs off of Dreams of Mangoes lyrically?
CW: We take inspiration in the Lennon/McCartney partnership, so with following that model, the main writer of the song is the lead singer. We also work with a friend on all of the songs, Greg. He began as Bret and Nick’s guitar teacher when they were 17, and it’s turned into a veritable team effort. Again, somewhat like George Martin to the Beatles, with Greg helping us find just the right chord, suggesting we try for more interesting structures than we might have started with, and pushing us to be as lyrically honest as possible (while excising clichés and other excess). As far as lyrics go, “Collision” and “She Said No” both came from failed relationships (Bret and Nick, respectively). Those were some of the first songs we wrote, so we were trying to write in a relatable way, in the style of the early 60s. “Daydreams” and ‘Mangoes’ both are progressions from that, with definite psychedelic influences. ‘Mangoes’ is specifically about Nick busking at Pike Place Market and breaking his collarbone on his bike in the summer. “Daydreams” was directly inspired by a relationship Bret had with a girl who moved to France and left a strong impression on him. Also, mushrooms.
KXSU: Favorite show you’ve played?
Bret: Our release show last month with Erik from Silver Torches and dreamcatchr at Barboza was pretty spectacular. In David’s words, “that was definitely in the top one shows we’ve played.” The energy in the room was crackling, and the crowd was made up of friends and randoms who were very generous with their enthusiasm. Barboza always sounds terrific, too. However, we’ve never been so drunk on a stage like we were at that one beer garden in Leavenworth…
KXSU: Best band story or tradition?
Andrew: There were a couple good moments in the last month. In the middle of a set in Leavenworth last month, a drunk woman was asking us to play a Rolling Stones song. We kept telling her we didn’t know any Stones. David looks at us and says, “I know how to play Satisfaction…” We had consumed just enough beers to think learning a new song on stage seemed like a good idea. We actually managed to pull it off pretty well (the crowd seemed to like it) and have since learned it for future gigs. Best part was, the woman was so drunk all she did was scream “I can’t get no!” through the entire song.
Then a couple weeks ago, we took a trip to the ocean to get out of town after a string of shows. My aunt and uncle have a beach house we stayed at to unwind. They are also involved with the small radio station in town. We were invited to play a few tunes that night and stopped by during the day to check it out. As we pulled up, we quickly realized the station was inside some crazy thrift/general/funky beach store. They also do open mics some nights (this place was wild!), so a drum set and a couple amps were set up for anyone to use. After about five minutes of being there, some drunk guy (it’s 2 p.m. by this time) sits down and starts slamming on the drums. No rhythm. Just insane amounts of noise. The confidence he exuded was uncanny. You could tell in his mind he knew our minds were blown by his Stewart Copeland-esque skill. This went on for a solid 30 minutes before we left… It was like Peter in Family Guy hurting his knee. It went on for an uncomfortable amount of time.
KXSU: Who are some other acts you were most excited for at Capitol Hill Block Party?
CW: Tangerine! We love those gals; they have great songs. Also Thunderpussy, The Cave Singers, Iska Dhaaf, The Grizzled Mighty, and Wampire.
JULIA OLSON | Head Reporter