Local Music Tap: ‘The Color Pharmacy’

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(credit: The Color Pharmacy)

(credit: The Color Pharmacy)

(credit: CBS) Cole Premo
Cole Premo has been a web producer at WCCO since 2009. He joined WC...
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“(Our music) represents synesthesia, which is when a person’s brain confuses certain electrical impulses … when your brain perceives one sense as another with senses of taste, seeing color and smelling. I kept thinking: what does the key of ‘A’ smell like or what does yellow sound like? We like to think of music as hallucinogens or a kind of psychedelic experience without the loss of control. I think that’s what music is for people.”

Jake Dilley – The Color Pharmacy

With music, most people have a differing and constantly evolving mindset on what makes a certain artist/band interesting. That part’s pretty obvious, I know. For me, besides a gripping melody, what interests me is an overarching message that stands out among the crowd. I like a “hook,” so to speak, but one that shares an honest, profound message — or experience — with the listener.

The Color Pharmacy’s hook, described by front man Jake Dilley, is to “create a different environment for the listener and viewer where they are momentarily taken out of their element” and create a “loss of control without feeling out of control.”

That’s quite … rad.

The trio accomplishes that hook in their newly released self-title album, The Color Pharmacy, by weaving a rich variety of sounds/colors utilizing energetic vocals, rich (and near-perfect) harmonies, dreamy guitar parts and a driving, solid rhythm section.

Where the road leads now for the emerging band is anyone’s guess. Dilley believes the band has “turned a corner” and just the fact that people are coming out and enjoying their music, well, “that’s about as good as we can hope for,” Dilley said.

So, take a few minutes and check out the our very first “Local Music Tap” video feature, as well as the “4 Questions, 4 Answers” segment with Dilley, below!

Video Feature

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4 Questions, 4 Answers

Q: Howdy dudes! Let’s get right into it. What do you like most about the Minneapolis music scene?

A: Honestly, we’ve been all over the Midwest and certain other parts of the country and I have yet to find one that’s this great. We also really like Austin, Texas as well. It’s a great music scene. Here, there’s healthy competition but it’s not, for the most part, bad blood. There’s a lot of really great bands here and seems that every bill we get to play on, at least one or all of the bands are really solid. That’s more than we can say for a lot of other places in the country – you’re lucky to find really great acts.

We’ve watched certain bands get really good here and there are other really new bands springing up, these brand new bands with really young people – it’s really scary.

Q: I see that you guys apparently tracked your new album at The Pearl Studios in only four days. That’s pretty impressive … what kind of preparation goes into that condensed work?

A: There was extensive pre-production for that. We worked with our producer Mark Schwandt, who used to play in White Light Riot with Dan (Larsen – the bassist). We got together a number of months before we started recording. We did a lot of demos going into it so we could go into the Pearl and give it to Zach Hollander and show them what we’re trying to do and show them that these are the songs the way we like them, you know, expand on them … from there, it was really just a calibration thing, because we all knew what it should sound like, so getting it to sound like that was something that we just had to work together on.

It was a really fun process … it was really hot, too! It was last August and they didn’t have air conditioning up there (laughs).

Q: Your new “Aperture” video, featuring a woman w/ a blue umbrella walking/interactive with Minneapolis landmark, is pretty great … How did that all come together? Where’d the idea come from?

A: We had seen some “tilt/shift” footage before and we were all big fans of that miniature world it creates. So, our good friend, Jimmy Morrison, and I got together to try to figure out how to actually do it. As soon as we figured out the logistics of it, it was just a matter of, “OK, now how do we create a loose narrative without being too overt. A lot of music videos that made in Minneapolis really exploit it and I didn’t want to exploit Minneapolis. There were a lot of places that we were able to find that people didn’t even know were here. We tried to stay away from the major places, even though we definitely went to the Mall of America (laughs), but that was because it was just too good to pass up. Seeing that roller coaster looking like it’s miniature was pretty cool.

But the idea of the girl with the red coat and blue umbrella, we wanted something that was going to be colorful and visually striking that could kind of be like a “Where’s Waldo?” for somebody that’s watching it. We wanted that to occur in every shot and we didn’t realize until later that there was a way to string it together to make it actually make sense for people that live here and see that, wow, that actually could have been the day in the life of someone in Minneapolis.

Q: You describe your band’s music as representing “synesthesia,” which is when the brain mixes senses, i.e. hearing sounds elicits a color response. Could you describe that further and also describe what your lyrics represent?

A:Our newest album is a lot more positive, lyrically, than things we’ve done in the past. I think that is due, in large part, to me being in a more positive head space than ever before and writing from that standpoint. A good portion of the lyrics of our latest record center around the theme of hope and what it is to anticipate something exciting and new around the corner, even if the only proof you have is instinctual.

Specifically, songs like Cast of Characters, Airplane Song, May, and Phosphorescent are about sensing a certain kind of energy in the air. Sometimes, this energy comes from other people or outside forces, but for the most part it is the recognition of an energy inside ourselves that emits through everything we do.

This is a somewhat synesthetic experience as well, in that non-physical phenomena are being received and understood by a sort of “sixth sense” and that a great deal of information is being communicated and exchanged between separate entities in nontraditional ways.

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Check out their website, Facebook, Bandcamp and YouTube.

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Local Music Tap is a new blog aimed at promoting Minnesota-based musicians, bands and shows. If you have music blog ideas, please email cepremo@wcco.com or leave a comment below. Also, follow the Local Music Tap on Twitter and on YouTube.

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