This week we bring you new music from Washington DC’s Color Palette, a rock quartet with flashes of electronic influence whose sound is as varied as the range of hues their moniker implies.
We had a chat with Jay Nemeyer, the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist, about working outside of DC stereotypes, future plans, and how to get the perfect “vibe”.
Please introduce us to each member of the band and what they do.
Jay Nemeyer – vocals/guitar
Josh Hunter – guitar/keys/bass
Roger Naressi – keys
Matt Hartenau – drums
For those unaware of what Color Palette do, why should people listen to the band?
“We’ve received press that has compared our ‘sound’ to Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Phantogram, SOHN, Cocteau Twins, Beach Fossils, and Wild Nothing. We like to think it’s a cool, lush mix of keys, guitars, ambient and vocals.”
What kinds of bands influence the music of Color Palette and why?
“We all listen to different styles of music. Influences range from electronic music to hardcore and metal. As the principal songwriter, I listen to a lot of guitar-driven rock, electro, and dream pop. Currently, I’m listening to a lot of Beach House and Tame Impala – both of those bands have carved out a really cool niche, which is something we’d like to do.”
How did you guys first form? It seems there’s a mash of influences and styles going on amongst the songs, so do different members bring different ideas to the fore?
“I wrote the songs, and went out to LA to record them. I worked with co-producer Kyle Downes, and a handful of other musicians. When I came back to Washington, DC – I got in touch with the guys, and we started jamming.”
You guys are from Washington DC, which obviously has a rich musical history with post-hardcore and punk. Has that history factored into your own sound in any way?
“Nope. Not at all.”
So would you say that DC’s history in that sense is a help of a hindrance for bands like yourselves moving away from that aesthetic?
“Definitely a hindrance. While I respect and admire those bands for making ground in the post-hardcore and punk scenes, I think it is important to understand a couple things: 1) That happened a long time ago. Let’s move on. 2) There are so many great bands in DC who do not pay homage, in the slightest, to post-hardcore and punk. And, that does not mean that they suck, or that they aren’t acknowledging the history of the scene. It means that they are trying carve out their own niche – which, to me, is a lot more admirable than imitating bands that were popular in this city 30 years ago.”
What sort of approach do you take to songwriting and recording? It seems you guys have two sides – one which is more electronic and one not so much. How do you decide what instruments fit a certain song for instance?
“I’m the principal songwriter. Every song, for me, starts around either a lyrical idea, a guitar line, vocal melody, etc. Once I’ve written something I’m confident about, I’ll begin to build the other parts. It can be a very quick process – it can also take a ton of time. Re: instruments – it’s a matter of trial and error. The most important thing is that the ‘vibe’ needs to fit through and through.”
What can people expect from the record? Is it all one type of sound or is there a variety to the music?
“There’s a wide variety of sounds – it’s more psychedelic than you might think. Lots of guitars, keyboards, and washed out vocals.”
Have you been getting much attention from UK shores, and how has the oversees response differed from the coverage closer to home?
“Yeah, I think we’ve gotten a good response from UK-based music blogs. We’ve also been contacted by UK booking agencies and management companies. The general response outside of DC seems to be more positive than the response within the DC city limits. Don’t know what to make of that, haha.”
What fellow DC bands would you recommend people check out?
“Boon, Honest Haloway, Drop Electric, A MARC Train Home, and Cruzie Beaux.”
What does the future hold for Color Palette. Touring plans, new releases? Perhaps you’d like to make it over to the UK one day?
“We are currently planning our Fall show schedule, and we’re planning on releasing an EP and album before the end of 2015. We’ve been in contact with several small labels, and we hope that something positive comes out our talks with them. Aside from the already-recorded material, we’ve been writing a lot – probably have enough material for another EP at this point ha. We would love to make it over to the UK! Seriously, though. Drop us a line anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org”