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In many ways, Drums and Color are no different from other aspiring bands who transition from their parents’ garage onto the local stage. Except these Huntington Beach natives plan to soldier on with their sophisticated, moody rock music, safety net or no. The quintet, who just migrated to Long Beach, are currently wrapping an as-yet-untitled album to be released this summer. Lead vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Kyle Bray talked about Drums and Color’s major influences—including jazz and a recent eviction from his parents’ house.
OC Weekly:What are some topics that spur your creativity in the songwriting department?
Kyle Bray: We started writing songs just out of high school, sort of in the big transition phase of our lives. Me and my best friend [guitarist/vocalist] Nate Lown do all the songwriting for the band. Nate went off to Hollywood with our keyboard player, Trevor Woods, to go to Musicians Institute there. So Nate has been writing a lot about moving and going out to Hollywood and the contrast between that and growing up in Huntington Beach in Orange County. And I’m homeless right now; I’m just staying at the studio and at friends’ houses because I got kicked out of my parents’ house—so I’ve been writing a lot about that.
That sounds pretty rough.
Yeah, both Nate and I come from pretty strict, conservative, Christian families. So it was tough because my parents couldn’t really deal with me coming home super-late, stuff like that. It wasn’t really working out with me living there. But my parents and I are on good terms now.
Were there any unexpected musical influences that wove their way into your upcoming album?
Everyone in the band went to Brethren Christian High School in Huntington, and we were all in jazz band. Since Nate’s been going to Musician’s Institute, he’s brought a lot of jazz influences into our music, so our music has a lot of jazz—in basic chord structures and time signatures.
Drums and Color went on hiatus toward the end of 2009. What was the reason for that?
We had a practice space in downtown Huntington—Nate’s dad’s garage. Then Nate and Trevor went up to Hollywood, so we didn’t have a place to practice. Then we got a space in Long Beach, and that’s when we started writing again.
Were there any issues with getting back into the rhythm of being in a band after taking a break?
The basic system is that me and Nate write all the songs. So whenever we have time to get together is when the band start progressing and getting work done.
Long Beach is saturated with so many indie- and folk-rock bands. Is there a need for you to try to stand out in the local music scene?
It’s not really something I worry about. We write stuff that’s interesting for us and then try to make it relate to the listener. I think we fit with the Long Beach music scene pretty well. We’re friends with Moonshine and the Drugs, who practice right below us in the building we’re in. Our sound fits in pretty well with them, and we play a lot of shows together.
Drums and Color perform with Bobby Pena and the Stowaways at the Lab, 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa; www.thelab.com. Sun., 3 p.m. Free. All ages. For more infor on Drums and Color, visit www.myspace.com/drumsandcolor.
Hey, Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, contact info, high-res photos and impending show dates for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Or e-mail your link to: email@example.com.
This column appeared in print as "Soldiering On."