For the Love of Punk Exclusive by Ross Hostage
False Colours is one of my favorite bands in Denver. They’re innovative, incredibly enthusiastic and are true supporters of both the local scene they reside in and the brash idealism of punk rock. I decided to check in with Jordan Pepper, guitarist and co-vocalist, to find out what False Colours has in store for the rest of 2012.
(Ross): You’ve been around the Denver scene for a while but just recently slimmed down to a 3 piece. Was the transition difficult? How did it affect your songwriting?
(Jordan): Musically, the transition wasn’t too bad. We’ve had to dumb down our writing just a touch, since we’re singing and playing at the same time now. Our former singer, Jeremy, decided to step down to go back to school, so Jimmy and I were forced to take over. The most difficult part has been live shows, getting used to the energy output of screaming, playing, and jumping around. None of us exercise, so it’s murder on our respiratory systems, haha. I feel like our music has stayed close to the same, it’s just a little less technical on guitar. Beforehand, a decent amount of our songs were about the evils and excesses of religion. We’re still huge fans of anti-religious songs, but we’re definitely expanding our lyrics into the realms of bigotry, war, science, homelessness, and human rights; you know, like what punk rock used to be about. There’s never a lack of things that upset us, socially or politically, that are worth bringing into a spotlight. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.
Are you recording some revamped, older material or is it all stuff written as a 3 piece?
It’s a mix of both. Once Jeremy left, we went on a crazy writing spree. There’s gonna be 4-5 songs that we’ve been playing for a few years and 5-6 songs that no one has really heard yet. The hardest part in the studio (as usual) is going to be not going overboard on guitar. We have a tendency to layer guitars to the point on a recording that we can’t recreate it live without a second guitarist, which we can never find as well. So this time around, we’re going to really try to keep it raw and simple (hopefully).
How have the vocals evolved as you and Jimmy started sharing the singing duties?
I wouldn’t call it an evolution, I see it more as an extinction event where a new species takes over, like with the dinosaurs, haha.
Vocally, things are a lot more aggressive. I sincerely loved Jeremy in the band, his vocal ability and style but i feel like an accurate description of the progression, vocally, would be going from Taking Back Sunday to The Flatliners, just minus the talent on our behalves. We’re just trying to find a balance between Jimmy and I sharing vocal responsibilities. Some songs I sing, some he sings, and we’re trying our best to be able to write cohesive songs that we can sing together.
You guys are about to start tracking at Black in Bluhm with Chris Fogal. What’re you guys doing to prep for the studio and what are your plans for the recording?
We’ve set aside two weeks at the end of June to lay down 11-12 tracks for our first full length; a follow-up to our EP. We couldn’t be more excited to work with Chris. I mean, with his track record, who wouldn’t be? We learned a lot from our last studio experience, so I think we’re in a really good place, mentally, this time around. We’ve been mapping out the album like architecture, from the metronome counts to vocals written out note for note. We’re hoping to have a late summer release, begin touring by the end of the year, and, hopefully, to get our record out into the hands of some labels.
When did Nick start doodling on his kick drum head and where did that idea come from?
This has been fairly recently, just since we’ve regained our footing with the line up. We kept waiting to get some new art to screen print on the drum head, but Nick got too excited to wait, and just started drawing stupid shit on it. Every practice, we’d walk into something new; mostly offensive but always funny. We all have such weird senses of humor, so anything written on there is only really to appease our egos and make us laugh and we laugh at some stupid, stupid, shit. Ask Nick about photos, I believe he has one for every doodle he’s ever done. It’s perverse…
Where do you think False Colours fits into the Denver music scene? Do you have any plans to tour?
This is the one question we’ve struggled with since day one. We started off in 2007 as a ska-punk band; with a full horn section and me on vocals. The minute we made our move to a more ska-core heavy sound, we started singling ourselves out in the scene for lack of any other ska-core. When Jeremy came in on vocals, we consciously made a decision to almost play an emo/ska hybrid. Then with the end of the horn era, we became a band that was too emo for the punks and too punk for the emos. We’ve all had such bad A.D.D. with our musical tastes in the past, we’ve tried to literally incorporate it all into one sound, which I think, ultimately, wasn’t the best fit for us. We’ve always felt like musical outsiders and we’ve never really felt like we fit the aesthetic of Denver punk rock music. But, over the last 8 months or so, I feel like we’ve done a lot of maturing and we’ve finally figured out how to do this the right way. Our new sound makes us a lot more accessible to a wider range of people in the punk rock scene, so I’m grateful for all the shows and amazing bands we get to play with, some even on a regular basis. We truly have one of the best and brightest emerging punk scenes in the country when it comes to the quality of musical groups. I just wish more kids would come out to shows to see all of these spectacular bands that Colorado has to offer.
Touring is just around the corner. We’ve been holding out for a really long time to be able to tour behind a full length and the time is finally here. Hopefully, we can head out with another one or two local bands, do a little Denver based musical touring. Regardless, keep up with us online, we promise to hit up a city near you before the end of next year. Of course, keep an eye out for our full length later this summer; we’ll have free copies to download as well! And remember, live music isn’t a matter of life or death, it’s something far more important than that.
You can next catch False Colours live on July 25th at The Marquis Theatre w/ Allout Helter, The Shell Corporation & Anchor Point. Join the event HERE
Follow: @FalseColours @BlackInBluhm