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Colony House on Their Sound, Roots, and Latest Album

Music & Podcasts

June 04, 2023

Earthy and raw, the sound of Tennessee-based band Colony House has been making a splash among the indie music scene as what is aptly described as “landlocked surf rock.” With roots in Franklin, Tennessee, brothers Will and Caleb Chapman, Scott Mills, and Parke Cottrell have been making hits since their 2014 debut album “When I was Younger” reached No. 154 on the Billboard 200 and No. 3 on the Heatseekers Albums chart. With fourteen years and four released albums under their belt, Colony House speaks about their sound, process, and latest album, The Cannonballers, in this exclusive interview.

Colony House was born out of the aspirations of high schoolers; the foursome began working together in 2009 and self-released three EP’s before their debut album. The band’s name — originally Caleb until 2013 — references the apartment complex where they used to live. With the Chapman brothers on vocals, Parke on drums, and Cottrell on bass, the group has produced several hit singles and made their mark in their hometown, on air, on national television, and worldwide.

If you’re an indie music fan, you’ve likely jammed out to Colony House before; the songs “You Know It” and “Silhouettes” were popular on TikTok and have both reached well over 50 million streams on Spotify. So you’re probably familiar with the band’s feel-good energy and authentic vibe. “We are trying to reach the human heart,” as the band put it. “The door is always open…meaning any and all are welcomed.”

This inclusivity is reflective of the band’s mission when it comes to sound. Their music is built on the pillars of accessibility and family, and it attempts to explore “joy, love, heartache, pain, and everything in between.” It also attempts to do so in a way that is both light and profound; the music is breezy but isn’t afraid of getting deep and emotional when needed. To Colony House, this is something that sets them apart from other indie rock bands, a genre that is not hard to come by in today’s music industry. “We think of our music as a conversation and we feel that a good conversation consists of both levity and depth.”

And of course, Tennessee is a major influence on this conversation. The state, which is often described as the birthplace of several genres of music and has produced some of the most successful artists, has served as inspiration for their newest album as well as the backbone in the lyrics of many of their songs. “Nashville is a ‘storyteller town’ and I’ve always wanted to be able to tell a compelling story with our music. Naturally, that works itself into our lyrics,” Caleb Chapman noted. There’s an “organic thread that weaves itself through our songs that comes from the ‘Tennessee’ in us.”

These stories have become massive hits, but despite their success, Colony House has a somewhat modest view of music and performing. Rather than getting boxed into a certain label, the band says they’d prefer to evolve as people and artists. When asked if they are still perfecting their sound, they explained that while they are constantly refining their craft, they don’t believe in perfecting art. For them, music is simply about making mistakes “until you wind up at something that feels representative of your heart at that moment.”

Music is also about trusting those you do it with, and trust is especially important to the siblings in the band. The existence of the family duo is one of the reasons Colony House is still making music after all this time. “We have to figure it out together,” Chapman said. “I trust Will more than anyone on the planet.”

Colony House released their latest album titled The Cannonballers in February of this year. The 11-track record is out on Roon Records and dives into love, loss, heartbreak, the memories of people and places, and feelings of searching and letting go. It features popular songs “Cannonballers,” “One of Those Days” and “Landlocked Surf Rock.” Although Tennessee was a major source of inspiration for this album, Colony House recorded the entirety of The Cannonballers in Oklahoma and El Paso, Texas, thinking it would challenge the band’s comfort zone. “It totally did,” Chapman said. The change of scenery helped the band “uncover new ground” and not only see things from a different perspective but also find a greater appreciation for their home state.

“It was a LONG process of building these songs and then tearing them down and rebuilding them over and over again, but we really wanted to know that the best version of each song was the one being released. We had a lot of hands touch this album and I think that was such a huge part of it elevating creatively!”

The Cannonballers reflect new heights and new success for the band, but Chapman explained that they are less concerned with statistics and more motivated by the fans and their reactions to the music. According to Chapman, “At the end of the day, it’s about connection and this album seems to be connecting in a really amazing way with everyone listening.” This album, along with Colony House’s entire discography, is definitely worth the listen if you’re looking to boost your summer surf playlist, landlocked or not.

Colony House can be found on most streaming services, including Apple Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube, and more. The band has just finished up their tour for The Cannonballers in the U.S., but you can still see them live in concert in East Nashville, Tennessee; Mesa, Arizona; and Manchester, Tennessee within the next few months. The same tour will be in Dublin, Belfast, London, and Glasgow this August through December.

And if you happen to be at the Iron Blossom Music Festival in Richmond, Virginia, you’ll be able to see the band as well. Be sure to keep up with their Instagram and website for details on merch, tour dates, tickets, and more. In terms of what’s next, the band admitted that you never know what’s ahead, but they see themselves continuing to sing their songs and hope “more and more people start singing them with us.”

Grace McClung
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Grace McClung is from Denver, Colorado studying journalism at the University of Florida. She is the Managing Editor of the Social Media category for The Teen Magazine.