Colony House Tour Journal #2: Why Every Song MattersAll photography by Cody Bennett Music Features Colony House
Paste was smitten with Colony House’s debut album, When I Was Younger, a sterling, spirited collage of story and songcraft with more maturity than should be expected from any first album from new recording artists. This makes us more than curious about what new tales the Tennessee natives will tell in their sophomore LP, Only the Lonely, out this January on Descendant/RCA. Fortunately, the group is also sharing its current narrative in a series of tour journals as they set out on the road with The Mowgli’s. (The entries will later be collected via the Bonjournal app.) In today’s journal, vocalist Caleb Chapman recounts the watershed, sobering moments that can remind a band of its impact on its fans. Check out the first journal entry here.
We have a rule in our band that came into effect a few years ago. It hasn’t really been named up until this point, but for the sake of the story let’s call it “The 60 Minute Rule.” Here’s a brief description of how this legislation works: if we, in any way, feel negatively about the show that was just played we have to wait at least an hour after we get off stage to discuss or critique our performance. We made this rule a little over three years ago to try and avoid unnecessary negativity in the band. Walking off stage is probably the most vulnerable time of our day. You spend an hour giving a group of people an inside look into your heart and soul then walk off stage to their applause with the question ringing in your mind, “I wonder if they actually liked us?” To then have someone come up to you and tell you why your heart and soul weren’t quite up to par that night can be, to put it lightly, deflating. The 60 Minute Rule is like taking a deep breath when you’re flustered or walking outside to get some fresh air. It just helps reset your emotional state and can put you in a better place to give and receive correction.
We recently had a show where the rule needed to be put into effect. It was just one of those nights where nothing felt right on stage. There were a bunch of technical problems that led to a distracted performance and ultimately us feeling like we didn’t deliver something to be proud of. We loaded our trailer quietly that night before making our way to the green room. Over a few slices of sub-par pizza, Scott offered a toast: “To a show that we would move forward from without looking back on,” he said.
We raised our pizza with smiles and agreed that the first bite would work like the flashlight tool in Men In Black, erasing our minds of the performance that just took place an hour earlier. We ate our pizza and each fondly recounted the first beer we ever tried. This was far more interesting (and entertaining) at that point than trying to figure out how we could play a better show. I hear my mother’s words ringing in my head: “there’s a time and a place for everything.” That’s The 60 Minute Rule in a nutshell.
After we finished up our pizza we headed out to the merch table. At the end of each night, we typically go out front to hang out with anyone who might want to come say “hey” to us. It’s always rad getting to meet the people that are playing your music in their car or at their house and spreading the word about your band. Every now and then, while out by the tables, you’ll have an encounter that sticks with you for a while. Sometimes those encounters are comical. Sometimes they are confusing or mysterious but on this specific night, when we felt like our show was weak and forgettable, we had an encounter that reminded us that music is bigger than the hour you spend on stage. When the after-show crowd had thinned out a bit, a young girl approached us with a smile on her face and asked if she could talk to us for a quick second. She went on to thank us for making music that helped her recover from attempting to take her own life. We weren’t quite sure how to respond to something so heavy, but we were deeply moved and humbled by her words. We talked for a while and then gave her a big group hug and told her that we were so glad she was here with us! All of the issues and frustrations of that night didn’t matter quite as much.
There have been several instances lately where we have either had a conversation with someone with tears in their eyes thanking us for our music or where we’ve been passed a note telling us that our music helped them through a rough time. We try not to take ourselves too seriously, but when we hear that our music is important to someone, it reminds us to be serious about what we do. You don’t have to search hard to find the stories on how music has changed someone’s life. Everyone in our band has been changed by music. But to think that our songs could make it outside of our bedroom walls and into somebody else’s blows our minds. Nights like this ultimately remind us that every song we write matters—even the ones that we feel no one really listens to— and every show matters—even the ones that feel like are weak and forgettable.