"We found out about the Led Zeppelin show a week before it happened," singer/guitarist Castilla recalls. "I didn't have a passport, so I had to get one in literally 24 hours and it cost $500. If nothing else, when we formed this band, we made sure everyone had a passport ready to go."
After Paper Thin Walls broke up, Castilla and Tuttle soldiered on, eventually adding Castilla's friends Justin Wagner and Kollin Johannsen to become the Colourist. Within minutes of meeting them, their goofball chemistry is palpable. Sitting across from the quartet, we're surrounded by high-end recording equipment, multiple guitars and scratched-off lottery tickets, the band's guilty pleasure. They're smiling and giddy, hardly able to contain their excitement.
"We've all been friends, and it's not like one of those things where you're set up with random musicians to start some music group," Castilla says. "We always have a good time together, in and out of the studio."
After five long months of recording in Eagle Rock, the Costa Mesa-based outfit is putting the finishing touches on their debut album. The 14 new songs (11 of them are making the album) are a departure from what most ardent OC supporters have heard. Recently, the band gave a glimpse of what's to come when they posted "Little Games" to their website.
Like plenty of successful bands, the Colourist have a knack for creating tunes that reflect on frustration inside an upbeat indie-pop framework. "All of our songs are like that; they have darker meanings, but they're about pushing through and having happy endings," Castilla says.
After years playing shows in Orange County, the band caught the attention of reps from a handful of major labels during a residency at Los Angeles' Bootleg Theater, where their live shows hit a peak.
"Once we played those shows, we started getting a cool reaction," Castilla says. "It got bigger and bigger every week."
While there were a few solid offers on the table, the band inked a deal with Universal Republic Records in July 2012. The label has allowed them the creative freedom necessary to make an album that will please everyone.
The Colourist have their eyes set on a late summer release, but until then, they've got their bags packed ready to showcase their new material at Coachella–an event they say they can cross off their bucket list–along with tour dates supporting fellow up-and-comers like Metric, the Wombats and Youngblood Hawke.
"There's been so much blood and sweat put into this album, in the end, we're just really excited to see how people react to it," Castilla explains.
No matter how far the new record takes them, the Colourist won't need to fork over $500 for their passports this time around.
The Colourist perform at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Empire Polo Fields, 81-800 Ave. 51, Indio, (760) 342-2762; www.coachella.com. April 13 & 20. See schedule for set times. $350. All ages.