Q&A with CITY AND COLOUR
Posted On 19 Jan 2016
Tag: Alice In Chains, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, Appetite For Destruction, Boston Calling, Boston Calling Festival, Caroline Records, City and Colour, Dave Rawlings Machine, Dine Alone Records, Dirt, Greyhounds, Guns N Roses, He Whose Ox is Gored, If I Should Go Before You, iTunes, Julien Baker, Little Hell, Lover Come Back, Mary J Blige, Memphis, Method Man, P!nk, Pink, Soundcloud, Spotify, Tennessee, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
“There’s a line that I’m trying to find, between the water and the open sky,” sings DALLAS GREEN on “Friends,” the penultimate track off of his fifth release as CITY AND COLOUR, If I Should Go Before You. For someone like Green, it’s hard to imagine that there’s much left to search for – he’s traversed the globe on tour, released numerous albums (one most recently as You+Me with Alecia Moore, aka P!nk) and collected scores of accolades. Though Green is a musician, he doesn’t make a show of things: that’s the songs’ job. Thus he’s done this all quietly, intentionally, still looking for the next answer or dog-eared chapter each record holds. And this time, on If I Should Go Before You, he once again uncovered something new: a certain kind of family in his bandmates.
“It’s been a very special two years for me,” says Green, about the period since the release of 2013’s The Hurry and the Harm, which has seen him touring with the consistent ensemble of Dante Schwebel (guitar: Dan Auerbach, Rumba Shaker), Doug MacGregor (drums: Constantines), Jack Lawrence (bass: The Raconteurs, Dead Weather) and multi-instrumentalist Matt Kelly. “They inspired me to want to create new music, just to create it with them – I don’t think I wrote these songs for the band, per se, but I certainly wrote them because of the band.”
“Anybody who has seen us play will understand that this is the best representation of what we do live that we have ever recorded,” says Green. “I was so excited about being able to make and record an album with these guys that it just flowed. I felt so confident about their abilities to make all of my ideas come true.”
Green began recording as City and Colour in 2005, with Sometimes, followed by 2008’s Bring Me Your Love and 2011’s Little Hell, and has experienced huge success both on the charts and the road. All four previous studio albums have achieved platinum status in Canada, while Little Hell is also now Gold in Australia. The Hurry and the Harm debuted at #16 in the USA on the Billboard chart, # 1 on Canada’s Top 200 Chart and #4 in Australia, as City and Colour’s highest debut. He also released four records as part of Alexisonfire, which have all received Gold and Platinum certification in Canada, as well as 2014’s rose ave. as You+Me with P!nk, which made its entrance at #1 on the Canadian Albums Chart, # 4 in the USA, #2 in Australia and #6 in Germany .
On If I Should Go Before You, Green may have found one answer to what lies between the water and that open sky: it’s the people we hold close, and the art born out of friendship. But he will always be searching; and thus, there will always be more songs. Though this time, when he’s ready to share them again, he’ll know exactly who to turn to.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had the pleasure of catching up with Dallas Green aka City And Colour between gigs. Enjoy their chat below!
Hey there! Where does our interview find you today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Hello Nicole! I’m in Memphis, Tennessee. We are playing a gig here tonight!
For those that are not familiar with you and your music career, how did you get your start? Who or what was the catalyst for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
I just started playing guitar when I was quite young. From there, I fell in love with music and the rest is history. There are far too many bands and artists that have impacted or inspired me to name just one. As far as the gypsy side of things goes, I’ve just always had yearning to wander.
On your third album Little Hell, you used a lot more piano and keyboards and it’s a bit more upbeat from what we are all used to hearing from you. What did you learn between your previous albums and playing live, that you felt you wanted to infuse into your latest album: If I Should Go Before You?
Touring for the last few years with the current live incarnation of City And Colour was the main inspiration for wanting to record with the band. I knew I wanted to make a record with them before I even wrote any songs.
There’s a great quote from you where you said, “I’ve always wanted to be the Mary J. Blige to somebody’s Method Man.” I love that! Speaking of collaborations…who is on your “dream / bucket list”?
Well, I guess she would have to be on it! But, to be honest I don’t really have one. I’m pretty self conscious so I usually just assume no one would want to do anything like that with me.
Who have been your inspirations growing up that also inspire you today?
My friends and family have always been a huge inspiration to me. When I was younger, my family raised me to be the person I’ve become and now that I don’t see them as often because I’m gone all the time. My friends on the road have become my family and they make me a better person.
How did your new single, “Lover Come Back” find it’s way into the world? Did the lyrics or music come first on that track?
I think with that one, the melody was first. I was on my way to Australia and my wife and I stopped for a few days on an island and I wrote it while she was swimming in the ocean.
Nowadays everything is so instant…you press a button and it’s yours ala Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud etc. What was the first album you saved your money for as a kid and bought for yourself?
Alice in Chains – Dirt. That album was life changing!
What was the first song you fell in love with (that you can remember) and why?
It was probably something of from Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction. I was young and impressionable when that record came out and it just seemed so cool.
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
Greyhounds, Dave Rawlings Machine, He Whose Ox is Gored, Julien Baker, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats….it goes on and on.
What’s on tap next for you? What are you most excited about for this year? (I will be sure to mention USA Tour (w/ Greyhounds), Boston Calling Festival etc…)
I’m just truly happy to be out on tour playing this new music (and old too) with my friends. Success to me is the ability to simply continue doing what I do, and I’m very grateful that I am.
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