There's something about The Colourist that just screams summer. Their songs are fun, eclectic and addictive. The Colourist is made up of Adam Castilla, Maya Tuttle, Justin Wagner and Kollin Johannsen, who have emerged from the sunny depths of California to bring color (or colour) to the ears of indie-rock/dance fans.
Their music is not really influenced (though they do admire Karen Carpenter and Phil Collins), but it flows like a mixtape would. The band released what they call a "NoP," (or not really an EP, but a demo) a while back, but summer is about to get a lot better with a "debut" EP in August.
The band has been touring with Metric and Youngblood Hawke and took the time to talk to us before their Santos Party House show with the latter the weekend before.
We hung out with The Colourist over a few expired Coconut Waters at the lovely Caf-Pick-Me-Up in the East Village where we talked about getting advice from Emily Haines, playing Coachella and why the "ou" is so important in The Colourist.
You guys are from California? What's it been like touring the East Coast?
ADAM CASTILLA: Less palm trees. It was nice drive. We drove through Buffalo. This is our first time really exploring New York.
MAYA TUTTLE: People talk a little bit faster. We're getting used to it.
You've been touring with Youngblood Hawke and Metric. Which band has been more complementary to your sound?
TUTTLE: It's hard. I think it's both in different ways, equally. Metric was incredible. They were probably one the biggest shows we played yet. We had an opportunity to hang out with the band for a bit. It was cool to talk to people who you sort of looked up to, and now sharing the stage with them; you're equally excited about each other. We've gotten a great response on both halves of the tour. Youngblood Hawke are good friends. They bought us a case of beer the first night of the tour which is really cool.
CASTILLA: Youngblood Hawke, first time seeing them live, they have a really crazy live show. It's been complementary. For us, I would say our music flows well with both of those acts. There's not a better one. It's more of a very entertained night for everyone.
Did Emily Haines teach you anything along the way?
TUTTLE: We had a cool hang session with them on the bus. I think she got some solo time with each of the band members. Definitely some advice was shared from the various experiences. They're a few years ahead of us in terms of where they are as a band. We got some good alcohol and great advice.
How long have you been a band for?
CASTILLA: A bit over two years. We've known each other for a pretty long time. Maya and I were in a band before, so the chemistry was formed together. Justin and Colin have both been great friends. It's formed from that.
TUTTLE: We were in another band before this. Neither of us sang. I played drums and he played guitar. We had another singer. When that band didn't work out, it was scraping to find a singer. We kept it in-house so to speak. It's been cool, stretching ourselves and getting to know our own voices. We've had a good response so far.
You have two songs out right now "Yes Yes" and "Little Games." Is there an EP that will be released shortly?
CASTILLA: Yes! We just wrapped it up. We're going to be putting it out hopefully late August. We'll be releasing some more stuff.
Awesome! You guys just played Coachella. Was that your first one?
CASTILLA: It was! That was also an incredible experience. Seeing all these bands you've sort of been influenced by, seeing them at a different leveleverything was so artsy and big. There were so many people.
TUTTLE: Growing up in California, it's the ultimate dream. Justin has gone for year. Adam as well. Kollin and I, it was our first time actually. We've always wanted to go. Going there as an artist was cool. It was really trippy. We saw some cool things backstage. We were a little star-struck.
Who were you starstruck by?
TUTTLE: I think we walked by Katy Perry.
CASTILLA: Not really starstruck. Just struck.
Gotcha. How did The Colourist as a moniker happen?
TUTTLE: This was a really difficult thing. We were trying to come up with a band name. We all pitched in our ideas. Most of them were horrible. Sometimes we brought them up for a laugh. We were talking and a friend of ours was working on a student film and she was like, "The Colourist is going to come in." We were like, what's a "Colourist?" It's this person that's completely in control of the color tone, scheme and feel of a movie in many ways. We just thought that's such a cool concept. The Colourist is in charge of the color. And it wasn't a band name yet. So, we took it on. The British/Canadian view is just because it looks nicer. It's hard to explain.
I totally get that. I think it looks nicer. I was going to ask about the "ou" too. I heard your St. Lucia remix. Did you guys get in touch with them about remixing it?
CASTILLA: Yeah! It was one of those things where we had no idea how it was going to turn out. When we got it back, it was something we would never expect. It wasn't your standard remix, so it was more refreshing.
TUTTLE: Yeah! We're fans of the band. We've seen them in LA. They're really amazing. So, we felt good about handing over the keys.
CASTILLA: It's always kind of weird at first. It's like here, play with what we've put so much into. It was nice, what they put into it.
How do you go about the songwriting process? Where does the inspiration come from?
CASTILLA: They're all based on our lives. It's something we come up with individually, and we all bring everything to the table. There's not one person writing the songs.
TUTTLE: That's something we're adamant about. All 4 of us have equal voices when it comes to songwriting: a meritocracy of sorts. The best idea will win. It's usually some sort of experience that sparks the fire that we'll share with one another. Adam knew this construction worker who was working a lot. His wife or girlfriend ended up cheating on him because he was never home. This has become an idea for a song that we completed for the album.
CASTILLA: Lyrically it's been pretty deep, but the tone of the song steps it back a bit.
TUTTLE: With this latest batch of songs, we're feeling really good about discovering who we are and putting this out to a wider audience.
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Check out photos from The Colourist live at Santos Party House: