Interview with Columbia’s Kevin Schallie and Richard Jacquard, March 2010.
In the band Columbia, there are five members that have come together to form a dynamic yet naturally appealing band in today’s music. They also have the technical know how with innovative Management representation in the form of Thorny Bleeder Records. Managing partner Brian Thompson adds another dynamic to the band’s already impressive foundation.
I first met this band back in August of 2009 through a networking site, Supernova.com. Columbia was at that time in the Battle of the Band Finals, which I ended up covering this past January. They won and placed first nationally. The first thing that struck me was their easy-going approach but as I interviewed them after a photoshoot in Gastown, I realized that these guys knew exactly what they wanted and where they were going. This one element sets them apart from most bands here in Vancouver. In the past seven months, they have found a drummer, Brian Welsh, that fits in with the other guys so well that it’s a seamless fit. They have found a manager and promotional company, Shameless Productions, have toured down the West Coast of the United States late last year, and are currently on tour in Western Canada. The band will also be touring later this year. Their self titled CD, Join Our Ride, has done very well and is a big hit with fans in North America.
Richard and Kevin are the main songwriters in the group; the other members are Jason Tait on rhythm guitars and Jacques Rossouw on bass. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that Richard and Kevin have a very close bond not only in music but in life – like brothers. Due to some time constraints on both ends, I originally wanted to interview Richard and Kevin in person, but circumstances were beyond anyone’s control. So instead we agreed to do this interview via email. What follows are a direct question and answer interview:
J: How did you both meet?
R/K: We met in Elementary School in our town of Surrey BC (AKA Cloverdale).
J: What kind of goals, if any, did you both set early in your partnership?
R/K: We have basically had the same goals since day one: become a touring band, get on the radio and make music that people will like.
J: Do you feel that you have achieved that first goal?
R/K: We have achieved that first goal we set long ago, but now our goals are to find a bigger audience, bigger tours, more radio play and have better songs.
J: What goals are you currently setting your sights on?
R/K: Writing the songs for the next album. We’re very excited about the songs we’re writing now. They will really get us to the next level.
J: What was it like for each of you growing up in Surrey/Cloverdale?
R/K: We both had a good upbringing with good parents. Surrey/Cloverdale is a small town but we’re so close to Vancouver that we’re actually city boys with a really good sense of reality.
J; Tell me about a band called Straightpipe which I believe was a band name from your shared past…?
R/K: It was really just the start of our music careers so it doesn’t have that much to do with us now but it did teach us about music, how to be in a band and to play shows that people would like to see.
At this point, I also had questions for each Richard and Kevin and here are their answers:
J: When did you start singing?
K: I started singing 10 years ago when Rich and I started our first band. I had always wanted to sing my own songs so it was just a matter of time before I would start a band and start singing.
J: When did you start playing the guitar?
K: I actually played the bass guitar when I started singing but I quickly went to the guitar and singing.
J: Have you ever taken guitar or singing lessons?
K: No lessons I’m self taught (on guitar) and quick to pick things up that I’m passionate about. No lessons for singing either. I taught myself and learned from listening to all my favourite singers.
J: When did you start writing music/songs and why?
K: I just love to write songs and getting them recorded so that people can hear them and get into the band. It’s our life now so I couldn’t imagine not writing songs all of the time.
J: What motivates you to write music?
K: Meeting our fans on tour and just making music I like to listen to.
J: When did you start playing the guitar?
R: I started to play when I was 16. I got an acoustic for Christmas that year.
J: Have you ever taken guitar lessons?
R: I’ve never taken any guitar lessons. I first learned how to play Green Day and Nirvana songs but Hendrix was the first guitarist I remember looking up to.
J: When did you start writing music/songs? Why did you start writing your own music?
R: I started writing stuff as as I picked up a guitar. It’s something that I’ve always done so matter what the instrument.
J: What motivates you to play guitar, write music and perform original songs? Is there an inner drive or does it feel natural that you should be doing this?
R: I love music. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to write music and have other people really get into it. Music is something that I’ve always had inside of me. I love that I’m in a position to write and perform. It’s my favourite thing in the world!
J: What is your personal inspiration to perform in a band?
R: To write better music. That will be my inspiration forever. I can’t sit still with music.
J: What band or artist inspired you to begin a musical career?
R: I don’t remember a certain band being an inspiration for a career. I never thought of it like that. Once I got a guitar I stated to write and wanted to learn as much as I could. From then on music was full time for me.
J: When you were a teenager, who were some of your early influences in music? And what was it about that band or artist you liked?
R: From the beginning I was drawn to songwriters. Hendrix was huge for me but you have to remember that underneath his wild playing was always a great song. That’s what it’s all about.
J: What kind of jobs have you had in the past that supported your dreams of being a full time musician?
R: Teaching guitar lessons has been the best. It’s great to turn people on to music.
Thank you to the guys in Columbia and also to Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder Records for making this possible. Join Columbia on tour by checking out the following links to the band: