Columbia Interview Feb 5 2011
After Hot Shot Band Radio Acoustic set
by Jade Sperry
Kevin Schallie and Richard Jacquard are the foundations for the Vancouver band Columbia. They write the melodies, harmonies and lyrics for the songs the band performs and then they hire the best musicians at that time to go on tour.
They currently are writing demos for the next album in various apartments and home studios in the Lower Mainland and they are shopping them to producers. To date, they have about twenty songs written and are constantly writing more. Finding themselves free from past commitments, they have the time to think about what the new songs inspire within them to take their music to the next level.
Kevin and Richard sat down with Tracey Lynn Shane (Hot Shot Band Radio host) and did an hour interview live on air which you can listen to here on Columbia’s website. It was a great interview with them and they had a drummer, Joel, join them for a mini-acoustic set. I was fortunate enough to photograph the band during their live set and interview courtesy of CC and Tracey. Thank you both so much. It was a great night!
What follows is a mini interview with Kevin and Richard after the Acoustic set on Hot Shot Band Radio in the downtown area of Vancouver….
Jade: So what’s going on with you both?
Kevin: Writing songs!
Richard: We’re in the process of writing a lot of songs so that we have a good selection for producers to listen to. We’ve been recording at my place and Kevin’s….
Kevin: Our management is shopping a few of the demos to producers right now, and so we’re just trying to get some interest. In the meantime, we’re just continuing to write.
Richard: Our demos so far are stripped down to the melody, the hook and an acoustic guitar. Producers want to hear those things raw so that they have something to work with.
Jade: And so what’s going on with the band as a whole?
Kevin: Well, essentially Columbia is Richard and I as we are the songwriters and the creative force behind the music. When touring comes around, then we hire the best musicians we can find that will fit our sound.
Richard: Yeah, Columbia has always been Kevin and I. We are the songwriters who create the music.
Kevin: And we are coming up to the next stage in our careers. Kind of like an “evolutionary” process really. We’re raising the “musicianship” to a whole new level!
Richard: Yes the musicianship is being raised as is the whole process – professionalism, hard work, social networking…all of that is part of being a musician in 2011.
Kevin: And we want to work with the best available people so….
Richard: Yeah it’s all good. We have very good feelings about what we’re doing right now. We have a crazy drummer lined up for the next CD who is a good friend of ours, Joel (who played acoustic drums and did harmonies with Richard on the Hot Shot Band Radio acoustic set) who was there with us at the very beginning. He played on our first CD Join Our Ride and he played some of our very first shows with us onstage.
Jade: That’s awesome news about Joel being on the next CD!
Richard: Definitely. Before we started writing the new demos, Kevin and I realized that we’ve become better musicians since our last CD and that’s because we did a fair amount of touring last year. I used to play a lot of bass as has Kevin…..for me that was my first instrument. We’ve both become better guitarists for sure……
Kevin: And when you play a show every night for over a month, you just become a better player because of that.
Jade: I did notice that when you were both playing the acoustic set tonight on air, you had a “fuller” sound than you had before. So I do hear quite a difference for sure….
Richard: Thank you.
Kevin: You learn quite a lot on the road….
Richard: Yeah you get more seasoned. That’s a word that gets used a lot to describe touring.
Jade: When Tracey Lynn Shane was interviewing you tonight, you mentioned that you wanted to have a whole lot of demos for producers but in the end you want to strip it down to 10 songs for the new CD. Why only 10 songs?
Kevin: All the best albums and CD’s in the past have only had 10 songs on them. So 10 is the magic number….I’m not sure about the 80’s but in the 90’s and even into the 21st century, the best albums all have 10 songs……
Richard: And it’s the same idea as when you go watch a band play a live show. Whether you listen to a CD/album or go to a live show, if it gets too bloated or carries on too long it’s just too much. You want to deliver a good performance live of the CD/album to an audience of any size. The quality of the songs and the performance is what matters because it leaves people with a sense of “wanting more”……
Kevin: So in getting back to the 10 song theory……
Richard: If you have a bunch of songs written and out of that bunch you have 15 really good tracks which you whittle down to 10 songs, that’s not a bad place to be in.
Jade: No, it’s a good place to be in….
Richard: Yeah it is. (laughing).
Jade: At some point, do you find yourselves listening to the demos and systematically in your head going “No not that one, no, no, yes, maybe…”? Is this a kind of process you might go through?
Kevin: We’re not doing that yet.
Richard: Kevin is better at figuring out what type of song we want and choosing the right ones. I just want to write and play the songs.
Jade: When you put a band together to go on tour in the future, what kind of people are you looking for?
Kevin: Good ones. The ones who “get it”. You know that there are people who play music but they aren’t musicians. We want the ones who are musicians not players.
Richard: Yeah but we also want passionate, driven people. People who take pride in what they’re doing and want to always better themselves as musicians. And people who are cool to hang around. There are some people who are great players but they’re impossible to be around and to deal with.
Jade: So are you concentrating more on the demos at this point in time?
Richard: Yes, and getting the new album done. We’re done touring for Join Our Ride and we’ve closed the door on that. So now we’re in the album stage and the touring will follow.
Jade: How is Brian encouraging/supporting you with the new demos?
Richard: When he gets them in his hands, he shops them. It’s all about “networking” and Brian has some really good contacts.
Kevin: We also want to get a good producer interested in our music so Rich and I are really focusing and concentrating on these new songs. Because when it comes right down to it, it’s the songs themselves that capture attention from an individual. When the songs are good, everything else follows.
Jade: Are you writing theme related songs? Or are you writing about certain things…?
Richard: I gave Kevin this song called “Dirty Theme” and if you listen to it, you know what I’m getting at. It just has this really “skanky” groove to it! And I don’t mean in a raw way, it will sound like us; better songs, better writing – more mature. It’s a natural progression in our songwriting. It’s gotten a lot better. They sound dirty.
Kevin: Organic with feeling.
Richard: Yes, more soulful, more feeling, more groove to it. Kind of like the song “Join Our Ride”.
Jade: So how are things in your personal life, are you in a good place?
Kevin: I think we are. We are better than ever!
Richard: Yeah, Kevin and I are neighbours again. We lived together for a while.
Kevin: Life is good, there are some ups and downs, but overall good.
Richard: We’re both really focusing on writing and recording demos.
Jade: How is the social networking aspect going for you both? I know that on the show tonight, someone from Malaysia was tweeting about the show when it was on air…
Kevin: Twitter is pretty amazing. I was kind of skeptical – I mean, I know it works obviously – but we don’t want to compromise ourselves too much with the networking and socializing. But at a certain point people start thinking of “us” more than the music. Right now we are social with everyone because we do have some time to do that. Hopefully that will continue.
Richard: Yep Kevin is trying really hard on Twitter to bring the focus back to the music.
Kevin: For example people are worrying more about our hair…..
Jade: (laughter) Yeah I heard the story about Richard’s “Bieber” cut (more laughter from all of us)
Richard: Oh yeah, the hair incident…..well, it began by me making a comment on getting a “Bieber” cut on our webpage and I was crucified there! It was insane, you know, I was just joking. (laughter)
Jade: Are you planning on a tour this year?
Kevin: Maybe at the end of the year. But I think this album is going to take a while to complete because we want the best possible product out there that reflects who we are now.
Jade: So, what are you expecting this time around with the new music?
Kevin: The next step basically. We hope to tour with a band. That would be great!
Richard: Yeah……there is no reason why not to tour with a band with the songs we’re writing now. Kevin and I have talked about this a lot lately and we know what we’re shooting for. If we could get the songs out of our heads and put it down on tape and make the album, there is no reason why we won’t tour with a band.
Kevin: Yes, it’s a forty minute set. It should be a good show, Rich and I are doing an acoustic set and hopefully there might be a new song or two played.
At this point, we started talking about things that don’t go to print and we’ll just leave it at that. I think that there are some exciting times ahead for Kevin and Richard – new songs, new goals and a step in the right direction are what they’re focusing on right now.
As this goes to print, I was hoping to attend this show for a future review and new live photos, but I am unable to attend due to my paid job. But if you have the night free, I highly suggest you go check out the show! You won’t be disappointed.