Interview with Columbia’s Richard and Kevin


Columbia, L to R: Jacques Rossouw, Richard Jacquard, Kevin Schallie, Jason Tait, Brian Welsch. Photo by Ashley Perry.

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:

 

Kevin Schallie

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.

 

Richard Jacquard

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:

Band Website

MySpace

Twitter

Supernova.com Band Finals – Vancouver @ Wise Hall Jan 29 2010


Vancouver Supernova Finals, Wise Hall, Vancouver – Jan 29 2010, Show Review

Supernova.com Band Finals

Bridges and Breakdowns

by Jade Sperry

It’s Friday in the rainy city of Vancouver and I’m off to photograph Supernova.com’s Battle of the Bands Finals. I arrived at Wise Hall and met with one of the co-ordinators, Vanessa. I then set about taking test shots of the hall in general to test lighting and shades.

The first act was a solo by Johnny Good. I found that he is a good guitarist and has excellent melodies to his songs. Johnny’s music reminded me of mellow folk music with a bite to the lyrics. I found his voice to be strong and full of emotion. It was definitely a good start to the night.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Johnny Good

The next act, This Means Nothing in Mexico, were a trio of young men probably still in high school. But looks and youth can be deceiving. I found their songs to have really good tempo and chord changes. Judging by the reaction of the crowd, they definitely have a fanbase. I also found them all to be entertaining and their personalities seem to mesh well with being onstage.

Supernova.com Band Finals

This Means Nothing In Mexico

Decognition took the stage next. This was a high energy band with fast guitar riffs and a solid steady rhythm throughout each song of their short set. I also found that they have good stage presence and this will serve them well in the future.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Decognition

High Life Scenery were next. I really got into the music of this band. Even though all the band members are teenagers, I didn’t think that about their music. Solid chord progressions, good melodies and high energy really took the crowd to another level. At first, they seemed surprised by the reaction they received, but then really got into the show. What struck me the most was how polite they were onstage, thanking the crowd for coming out and thanking the Supernova.com people.

Supernova.com Band Finals

High Life Scenery

Red Couch Lounge came on next, and instantly reminded me of of a mix of Rage Against The Machine and Wolfmother. Funky guitar and bass grooves mixed with pop sensibility were the highlight of every song. The young man who played bass blew this writer away with his root chords and just how well he can play a bass. Mind-blowing. This band has excellent rhythm to every song with very good guitar chord progression and melodies. The singer has a very good voice and this band could very easily take it the next level if they chose to.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Red Couch Lounge

The next band that came onstage was Jive Talk. I loved their initial outfits onstage. Pink fur jackets with dark shades on as well as the korean drummer and the police guitarist! I knew that this was going to be a good set just based on that. I was happy to hear that they also have really well placed funky grooves as the bass player was right on the money with every song. This band can pretty much do it all – excellent chord changes and progressions, really fast tempo changes and very high energy onstage is what a band is all about. I really enjoyed a sax player onstage, and this young man can certainly play with the best of them.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Jive Talk

Bridges and Breakdowns hit the stage next with their heavy guitars and solid chord progressions. The singer had a very big personality which really set the crowd off into a frenzy. The crowd really got into this band’s set. As a collective, this band oozes with high energy that you can actually feel. That is hard to get across in any setting but they manged that without much effort. The melodies of the songs are well constructed and each member plays with enthusiasm in each song.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Bridges and Breakdowns

Soldat came on after, and this was a solid band hands down. The singer really knows how to sing and he can push it in any direction he chooses to go into. The drummer hit the skins hard which gave all the songs a fantastic backbone to work from. Add the bass into that and you have a phenomenal rhythm section. The bass player was hard on the strings but that worked well with the hard hitting drummer. Every song had very good chord progressions and the root chord rhythms just worked so well into what the guitarists were doing.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Soldat

The Colombians were a good band but I wondered why they set up their own drums when no other band did that. Regardless, I was surprised by their raw sound. Solid rhythms, good vocal work and high energy made this band sound great. The drummer hit the skins hard and the bass followed the drummer in perfect time. The lead singer has very strong vocal chords and I really got into the sound of his voice. All members had great stage presence, and I liked how this band was encouraging the audience to participate with them.

Supernova.com Band Finals

The Colombians

Next up was the band Columbia. Most bands had a set of 4-5 songs while this band only had 3 songs. Regardless of that, I found that they played extremely well despite a small crowd and short set. Columbia used that small space of time to hit up the crowd with solid guitar chords from Richard and Jason. Each song was played in time and in tune with a lot of energy. This band really has found its members and they all click onstage and off. Columbia’s songs are well executed, well constructed and have a lot to say to everyone. They were happy to be there, and found that their fans who can’t make it into clubs because of age were there and they were interacting with them. That was great to see.

Supernova.com Band Finals

Columbia

At that point, I had been in Wise Hall for just over 6 hours and I really needed to eat some kind of meal. Since they were only selling snack food, I left to get something to eat and call it a night. Although I didn’t speak to most of the bands because of time constraints on photography, I overheard many conversations of the guys in the bands with their friends, and it was all about being excited, playing a set to people who’ve never seen these bands and that was the vibe for most of the evening – EXCITEMENT.

As of this writing, Columbia were the winners of this phase of the contest. I can only wish them well in their future endeavors, and I hope to join their ride with them in their first cross Canada tour starting in March 2010.

And finally, Corina at Supernova.com posted a review of the winners, and you can see a picture of Richard Jacquard from Columbia that I took.  So I would like to say a big thank you to the folks at Supernova.com – Vanessa and Corina in particular.  Cheers!

Supernova.com Band Finals

Supernova.com Band Finals