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Self Recorded and Self Produced: The Be Colony

58 minutes and 11 seconds.

That’s how long I sat under the stars, on the roof of my car, streaming the unique and eccentric collection of tracks from The Be Colony. A sound that I hadn’t heard since I stumbled upon my father’s old records during my teen angst, adolescent years.

5 minutes and 36 seconds.

A soulful, psychedelic record titled Wildfire swallowed me into the heart of this album and I couldn’t turn it off. This album had a narrative. This album combined sounds that could provide visuals through instruments. I was captivated. I was lost. And in 58 minutes and 11 seconds, I opened my eyes and realized that it was over…and that I was ready to feel it all over again.

The Be Colony is a five part psychedelic groove band from Fort Wayne, Indiana with Atticus Sorrell on guitar/ vocals, Bray Coughlin on drums, Wes Johnson on bass, Jacob Terhune on vocals/guitar, and Zac Terhune on guitar/keys. Since forming in 2015, the band has had multiple releases that expertly combine psychedelia, early 70’s rock, and soul with touches of funk, jazz, neo-psych, and hip-hop. (via spotify)

We sat down with Atticus to talk through those 58 minutes and 11 seconds, the inspiration behind the record, their creative process, and how the band came to be. Check it out below.

Talk to me about the album. What was the process like? What did you guys want the overall message to be for this album?

When we decided to make this record, we also decided to self record it and self produce it, which was something we as a band had never done. We love analog gear and recording onto tape, but we also wanted extra tracks and other digital tools so we decided on a combination of both recording mediums. We started with core live tracks recorded straight onto our Tascam 38 1/2” 8 track tape machine, and then dumped the tape into Protools for extra overdubs, vocals, effects, and minor editing. 

The combination of warm tape saturation and the digital layering provided a thick bed of sound and gelled everything together. As far as a “message” goes, we really didn’t go into the album process with any messages or themes in mind, we just let the songs speak for themselves. In the end you could argue that the album is a commentary on many different aspects of society, but we really didn’t have any plan of action when we started writing. It all just kinda came together.

What was the inspiration behind this album and your sound in general? Any favorite artists or stories behind it? What was the influence for The Be Colony?

The inspiration for the album honestly was the simple fact that we were in desperate need of new material. We have been a band for 5 years and only released an EP and a handful of singles. We knew we had to get serious and drop some tunes, especially since we’ve been trying to grow our fan base. Our friends also had been bugging us to record this album because a lot of fan favorites we play live have never been released. We also really wanted to see if we could do it ourselves instead of spending the money at a studio. We killed two birds with one stone, now we have a full length album AND a home studio.

As far our sound, we’re all TOTAL music nerds. We listen to a huge spectrum of music. Id say in the most general sense, our sound is a combination of four different areas of music: 60s and 70s music as a whole, modern psychedelia, modern jazz, and hip hop. Pretty much just “groove music” in general. We have a huge record collection between the five of us, so we’re definitely influenced by vinyl culture as well. We started digging on hip hop because of all the cool obscure samples they use. We’d end up hearing a hip hop song we liked, finding the sample, and then discover a whole other album or artist. It’s great. Hip hop is like a two-for-one deal for music nerds. Because of people like Madlib and J Dilla we discovered obscure gems like Cortex, Stanley Cowell, and Dionne Warwick. It was because of peaked interest in hip hop though that we began to really dig on the jazz and the future soul stuff of today. Makaya McCraven, Butcher Brown, Hiatus Kaiyote, Kamasi Washington, Crumb, BBNG are a huge deal to us and they’ve really helped shape our sound and writing. It’s funny to say but bands like Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Sly and the Family Stone, and Santana are as big of an influence on our sound as groups like Radiohead, Khruangbhin, and Flying Lotus.

How would you describe your creative process? Do you have any rules for yourself when you’re writing? Like how Kanye goes into hiding in the mountains haha.

The creative process is pretty simple. We just jam and play all the time. Jacob and I are pretty much always writing songs and lyrics. We take songs from jams and ideas and kinda bounce them off each other until it’s crafted and polished. There are no general rules when it comes to it. Sometimes I’ll come to the band with a whole complete song, lyrics and melody included, and we’ll just play the song exactly as it goes in my head. Other times a song will come out of a jam and Jacob will write a melody and lyrics over it. Sometimes one of us will have a partial song or just a section and everything else just falls in around it after a few rehearsals. I love how it just sort of happens. We don’t have a process. Songs just come as they come. Everyone contributes too. Jacob and I may be the main “songwriters” and lyricists, but everyone contributes songs and ideas. We even have outside friends and family help with writing sometimes.

How did your band form? Were you all friends beforehand? And what’s up with the name?

The earliest beginnings of the band formed out of two existing groups. I was in a band with our drummer Bray called Soft n Heavy (I know, horrible name right?) and brothers Jacob and Zac were in a songwriting/ recording project with their older brother Chris. Wes would come hang out and jam with them. I met Jacob at a college orientation summer of 2013. We became best friends pretty quick because of our equal love of psychedelia. We talked about the Beatles and Brian Jonestown Massacre the day we met. I showed him Tame Impala he showed me Circulatory System. It was a huge day for us. We both were going to college for music technology so naturally we started doing recording projects together. I started jamming and recording with Jacob, Zac, and Wes and pretty quickly realized that Bray had to be a part of this. I brought him over to jam with all of us one day and the rest was history. We knew right then we had to be a band. 

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As for the name, it’s actually the title of a Broadcast and the Focus Group song. We couldn’t decide on a name for months and had our first gig coming up so Jacob and Zac’s older brother Chris wrote a massive list with hundreds of names taken from songs and random shit and they all just went through it. The whole band minus myself came to a conclusion on the Be Colony. They called me up one night and when they told me the name over the phone I instantly said yes. It was a nod to one of our favorite bands but we also kinda gave it a philosophical meaning of being conscious of living in the present moment. Always trying to be in the now. We were a colony of individuals who were doing nothing more than just trying to “be”-living life to its fullest in the present moment, in the now. Hence, The Be Colony.

“Amidst a reeking haze, there is a pulse. Not just a pulse, but a texture.” Can you explain what that means for you guys?

Uh, that is just some stoners trying to be poetic for a band bio Ahahaha. I guess in the most basic sense you could say that in our eyes, our music is more than just noise or sound, there’s deeper meaning in the groove and in the lyrics.

What would you say is your main goal as musicians? Expression? Point out something in society?

We want to quit our day jobs so that we can just make music all the time. We also want to meet and collaborate with other musicians so that we can evolve and challenge ourselves while creating new music. We want to build a scene/collective and inspire other musicians, artists, thinkers, and dreamers. We want to spread a general message to just be yourself, question authority, love others, and live for the now in the present moment. I think as dedicated musicians and music lovers, more than anything we just want to make sure that music is a way of life. Beyond goals, messages, social commentary, and money it’s just about the music.

What do you want people to take away from this album?

Honestly more than anything, I just want people to feel inspired after listening to our music. I want people to feel inspired to go create something of their own, whatever that may be.

The Be Colony is now streaming on all your favorite streaming services and we got you covered right here. Be sure to follow them on social media by clicking here.

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