Interview with Color Palette

Color Palette 

By Brooke Magalis

Color Palette certainly hit the nail on the head with their band name. Their soundscape is like an over-saturated photo, colored meticulously with synths, guitar, a bass, and drums; they strive to connect emotions to colors. There’s so much movement in each song, and it’s all so melodic. The electro-rock band makes music that swells to evince emotion. You can hear their feelings when you listen. It truly is an experience of shared human emotion.  The bassist and drummer seem to have made some sort of pact to remain groovy enough to allow you to dance as long as you’re listening. Add to that some out-of-this-world-ear-worm-status catchiness, you’ve got one hell of a band that seems emotionally capable and sonically aware.

The DC-based band is having no trouble gaining traction, rightfully so; they’ve recently been featured in both USA Today and NME Magazine.

My prescription for the optimal listening experience: Turn out the lights, turn on the black lights, turn up the music, and dance your ass off. Absolutely lose yourself.  This is that kind of band.


Let’s start out nice and easy. How did you all get started as a band? What brought you all together? Where did the name come from?

Color Palette: My previous band, The Silver Liners, broke up – I had a bunch of songs that we were planning on recording, but had since scrapped plans to do so. I went out to LA and linked up with my longtime friend/co-producer, Kyle Downes. In the span of 2 weeks, we recorded an album. When I came back to DC, I reached out to Josh, Matt, and Roger – and we started playing live. I knew Josh, Matt, and Roger from playing around DC. Re the name – I’ve always associated sounds with colors, feelings and emotions. When I write music, this is always one of the preliminary things I want to establish. For me, the name Color Palette makes sense because it ties back to the songwriting process.

A question I like to ask pretty much all artists: can you walk me through your songwriting process? Your recording process?

Color Palette: I don’t really have a “one size fits all” process for songwriting. I start with either a lyrical phrase, a set of chords, a guitar/keyboard riff, drum beat, et cetera–and then build upon it. I bring demos to rehearsal, and then we’ll sometimes modify sections. If I’m not excited about the song after 45 minutes of working on it, I’ll usually scrap it and start over. Re recording – drums are recorded first, bass second, guitar third, keys fourth, and vocals last. Typically, all the parts are worked out/finalized before we step into the studio; studio time is expensive, so it is important to get your money’s worth!

What’s the scene like in DC? Was it tough to get rolling there? Did the city influence your sound at all?

Color Palette: DC has an interesting music scene. There are some GREAT bands that call DC home, but it is a very transient city – so, it’s a little tough to establish continuity. Most of the bands we have met are pretty supportive of each other – there are exceptions, of course. I think the city itself, on a day-to-day basis, definitely influences our sound. We don’t identify with the idea that DC is a purely punk/post-punk/hardcore/whatever music city – there are tons of great bands of all genres that play here.

What kind of venues do you all like to play? What kind of atmosphere do like to feel in the room?

Color Palette: It really depends. We love to play big rooms, and we also enjoy playing house shows. I think they each have positives/negatives. Nothing is better than seeing a bunch of people move/respond well to the music you’re playing. Nothing is worse than seeing a crowd 20 feet away from the stage on their phones checking Facebook.

Lyrically, where do you seek inspiration? Instrumentally?

Color Palette: Lyrically, I like to draw upon personal experiences and experiences that I hear about from my friends/bandmates/whoever. Instrumentally, we all listen to rock/indie/electro/shoegaze – bands who influence us: Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, Phantogram, SOHN, My Bloody Valentine, Wild Nothing, Beach Fossils, and Kurt Vile.

Some rapid fire for you:

Tea or coffee? Coffee…all day. Literally.

Favorite music for a road trip? Podcasts or anything NPR-related!

Acoustic or electric? Both?

Favorite shower music? Motown/Marvin Gaye/Stevie Wonder etc

Favorite books? The Great Gatsby/easy reads because that’s all I have time for these days 🙁

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Author: blackonthecanvas

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