An Interview with The Colourist

The Colourists_9009_ret_revNewport Beach‘s The Colourist just released their self-titled debut LP (via Republic Records) filled with pop melodics and succulent hooks.


On tour with Night Terrors of 1927 since the beginning of March, drummer/vocalist Maya Tuttle took some time off while on the road to answer a few questions we sent her.

Can you tell us how the band originally met?

“Adam and I met when we were in a band called Paper Thin Walls. The band had a brush with fame (got to play at the Led Zeppelin reunion concert!) but broke up soon after. Justin and Kollin had been friends for a while, so we all got together to form The Colourist. We could not find a singer. So out of necessity, Adam and I started vocalizing some of our ideas. We ended up finding this vocal chemistry that really worked for us.”

How’s the music scene in Orange County compared to Los Angeles or San Diego?

“We love playing San Diego, but I’ve never lived there so I don’t know enough to comment on the scene. As far as L.A. vs O.C., I feel like there is this camaraderie of sorts with bands in Orange County. We all go to everyone else’s show. We all saw Local Natives when they were just the resident band at the local bar. We’re all supporting new bands that are coming out of there all the time. The L.A. scene feels a bit bigger and more overwhelming to me. Bands from everywhere — all over the country — move to L.A. to try and make it. It’s awesome because there is so much talent in one city, but it can also be incredibly intimidating.”

Do you think O.C. or SoCal bands have their own new sound? Where do you fit in?

“This is a hard question to answer. We never thought of ourselves as having a ‘California sound’ until we started reading descriptions of our sound in blogs. The twelfth time we saw it, we started to realize that somehow unconsciously we’re emanating some essence of California in our music. We still aren’t sure what that essence is. I don’t know if I would say that all of the bands we know and love who’ve come out of Southern California have this shared sound, because each of us is so unique —Young the Giant, Bad Suns to name a few– but there is this inexplicable element that allows us to exist in the same world musically. Maybe it’s the California sound element? I mean, it makes sense for us all to play shows together even though we have very unique sounds. There are shared elements that lead to shared audiences as well. Maybe I just answered my own question.”

Did you ever consider only being a drummer or a singer instead of doing both? 

“I actually started out as a drummer only. I had no plans to sing. I had the desire, but I was so insecure about singing in public. It wasn’t until I’d known Adam, Justin, and Kollin for a while that I started to feel more comfortable about experimenting my voice (something we were forced to do because we didn’t have a ‘real singer’ in the band). I love doing both simultaneously. It’s a constant challenge. I also like the fact that it is a non-standard position to hold in a band. I feel like a non-standard type of person to begin with, so I like stretching people’s idea of what a drummer or singer looks like.”

Do you know of other female drummers?

“Yes! I am obsessed with other female drummers. I mean, the only reason I had the confidence to try drumming in the first place was because I saw an archive clip of Karen Carpenter way back in the day. Cindy Blackman has always been a huge source of inspiration. Barbara Gruska from The Belle Brigade is incredible. Her technicality and feel makes her so fun to watch. I watched Hannah Ford drumming for Prince and my jaw-dropped. So good. Carla Azar from Autolux. Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint. Julie Edwards from Deap Vally. Cary Ann Hearst from Shovels & Rope. I can’t even list them all. Also, I hate to categorize them as ‘female drummers’ because these are all amazing drummers period; but I think it’s important to not ignore the fact that there aren’t many females doing this. The more women we have that are confidently expressing themselves musically, physically, intelligently, the better we’ll all be (in my opinion).”

How did you find your infamous warehouse practice space and what makes you think it might be haunted?

“Everything I’m about to tell you is 100% true. Adam used to work at a music store with an older gentleman named Spirit. Spirit is a metalhead straight out of the ’80s (he resembles Raiden from Mortal Kombat) and fronts a death metal band called Scarlet Red. Well, Scarlet Red needed a band to share their practice space with which happened to be a nearly abandoned building on Lido Island. We said yes. Over the course of the three years we were there, many of us would have separate experiences when we were alone in the building: strange noises coming out of amps, tapping in the walls, very faint voices coming out of vents. One of the most interesting stories is when we were practicing our song “The Further.” The air conditioning in that building has not worked for years. Yet one day when we were singing the line “the room fills up with something cold,” one of the lights (that we thought was out) turned on and then, more shocking, the air conditioning kicked on out of nowhere! The room suddenly became (as the song goes) very cold. It was really strange.”

The Colourist‘s current tour will finish on Tuesday, April 15th at Bottom of the Hill.


The Colourist’s Official SiteThe Colourist on FacebookThe Colourist on TwitterThe Colourist on InstagramThe Colourist on TumblrThe Colourist on Soundcloud

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