From The Colurs website:
“The Colurs combine contemporary pop production with the songwriting aesthetics of Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren, and The Beatles, and lush orchestral arrangements reminiscent of scores by Frank Churchill and Oliver Wallace (from Disney’s Alice In Wonderland, Bambi, etc.), to create a fresh new sound.”
I was able to chat with Max Townsley and Drew Erickson aka The Colurs. They also played an “acoustic” version of their song Washed Away. Click thru already!
Max, Drew and I started out our chat by discussing how they met and formed their musical partnership. Those musical connections mostly took place while in Boston.
Drew Erickson: We both moved up to Boston, over on Westland Ave by Berklee. That was when we first started playing everyday, collaborating and writing music together.
Gadi: When did you all first play together and realize “Hey we kind of work well together”? Did you have that moment?
Max Townsley: (to Drew) You came over to my house in High School and I think we recorded on that old Roland 16 track I had. Yea, we just started talking about music, played a bit together and clicked. We played a lot of gigs here and there as well, you know, jazz gigs, cocktail parties, things like that. Drew played drums on a couple.
Drew: We were both in Michael Palma’s trio for a while. Max was playing bass and I was playing drums. That was probably the first time we played in a remotely professional environment (laughs)
Gadi: What did you guys get to play, or did you ever play out-of-state? Where did you get to go?
Max: No, (laughs) they were all pretty much local events, corporate parties…
Gadi: Was it weird playing to older audiences like that?
Drew: Oh no, we’re used to it.
Max: Yea, we’ve done that for years.
Gadi: So which song came first?
Drew: The first song that was written was “Where We Belong.”
Gadi: And how exactly do you guys write together, what’s that process like?
Drew: Generally we’ll bring main themes and ideas, or sometimes we’ll have almost a whole song written, and we’ll bring a skeleton of the song, like a demo or a recording of us on a cell phone playing it. We’ll both work on it and piece it together, polish it up and make it a final production.
I started to ask the fellas about the cool house they were living in and how it’s become their studio, recording space, and musical haven.
Drew: We had an idea of recording with a large ensemble of strings and horns before we got a house, and so we were kind of looking for a place in Denton that would accommodate those recording sessions. So we based our decision on which one would be the best for recording an orchestra (laughs) which is kind of unusual.
Max: Yea, when you go house hunting that’s not usually at the top of the list of requirements.
Drew: We came in to the house before we moved in and kind of stomped around, clapped our hands and heard this amazing reverb, and that’s what sold us.
Max: And we called the realtor and asked for a tour. We didn’t mention that we’d just come in through the back, cause the house was unlocked. So we acted like it was the first time we saw it (laughs) and then it was ours.
Gadi: You just lucked into this beautiful place…
Max: Yea, good fortune for sure.
Drew: We initially tried to do it without the carpets, but the drums were echoing all over the room.
Max: Even with the drum shield
Drew: Right, and the PA system was echoing a lot too. It sounded like you were at a middle-school dance or something. The reason we had that carpet is because in our back studio, when we got the house, the carpet was just disgusting, so revolting….
Max: You couldn’t even tell what color it was supposed to be.
Drew: Yea, it had burn marks and I’m thankful I didn’t go in there with a black-light cause Lord knows what I would’ve seen (laughs)
Max: So we got some new carpet up there and it just so happened to be the exact dimensions of half of this room, so…another stroke of fortune.
Gadi: You guys are very lucky it sounds like.
Max: Yea, knock on wood, I guess. So far, so good.
Drew: You know, I think I can take credit for breaking Max out of his shell.
Max: Yea, cause I wasn’t really a singer at the time.
Drew: He was a guitar player, he never sang, he just sang in private. But I heard him a couple of times and said, “you can sing.” He sang on my demo, and a bunch of people heard it and really liked it, and he started building confidence….
Max: (dramatically) …and a singer was born!
Gadi: Do you enjoy singing much more now?
Max: Oh yea, a ton. You know I used to not want anybody to hear me, but that was also because I hadn’t had as much practice singing as on guitar or piano. I felt real comfortable with those instruments, but as far as opening up my mouth and singing something, it was a different story. Fortunately I’ve gotten a lot of practice in the years since then, so now I really enjoy it.
Gadi: Well it sounds good, the EP sounds really awesome.
Drew: Thank you
Max: Thanks a lot, appreciate it.
Gadi: What about the name? Where does “The Colurs” come from?
Drew: I don’t know, I seem to be the guy that comes up with the names.
Max: Yea, he’s the official namer.
Drew: I had the name written on a piece of paper from when I was in high school, and I had “Roy G and the Biv.” That was one of them. That was actually my AIM screen name for a while, just cause I thought it was funny. (laughs) And we started discussing band names and I mentioned that one.
Max: I liked that one a lot.
Drew: Yea, usually if I have a funny idea like that I’m a little skeptical but when Max joins in and says it’s good, it’s like Oh, OK. He’s like my other concsience.
Max: Yep, that was a good one.
Drew: And “The Colurs” came about around the same time.
And here are The Colurs singing “Washed Away”.