Interview: Casey Colby of The Down House
"Designing ourselves, recording the way we want to and with our friends, borrowing button makers, booking our own shows; that’s all the fun part of being in a band. All that shit can be so stressful but when we step back for a second and think how cool it is that we’re creating with our friends"
Here’s an interview with Casey Colby of The Down House!!
Small Hours Journal: I found The Down House pretty recently and for me (and a lot of others, I guess) it was because I already knew who you and Ross were. I’m a big fan of both No Sir and Ceremony so checking out this new band was inevitable. But, The Down House is something different and I would for example have a hard time explaining for someone what you sound like. I can for sure draw some parallels to other bay area outfits like Creative Adult, but with your own words, explain what The Down House is about and what one should expect from Low, your debut EP.
Casey Colby: Our sound is something that we find hard to describe. We dabble with genres but don’t linger there too much. Whether it’s a bit of post punk, shoegaze, hardcore, we write what comes naturally to us. With Low I think you can hear us finding our sound and I’m not afraid to say that. We’ve all been in hardcore/punk bands for the last years of our lives and this is something new. The four songs on the EP are the first four songs we wrote as a band. All the growing pains and imperfections are present. We love it and are super proud of it but we’ll all tell you what’s next is what’s truly exciting for us.
What are the songs about on this new EP?
The lyrics are pretty subtle and repetitive. I like the vocals low in the mix and I know some people hate it. I moved from Portland back to the North Bay four years ago and a lots has changed and it’s there on the record. The dynamics of friendship when you put a lot miles between it and how you deal with being alone are the main topics. I’m still nervous as hell singing.
Besides you and Ross, who is in the band and for how long have you guys been playing together as The Down House?
It’s Sarah, Chloe, Ross and myself and we’ve been a band for almost a year. Chloe plays drums, Ross plays bass, I sing and play guitar, Sarah plays guitar and does all our artwork. She took the photo we used for the cover of Low. We were a five-piece for those last couple of months. Our buddy Ryan added organ and guitars to the record and live. He got into NYU and left at the end of June. We’re currently writing as a four-piece, the same as the EP.
You’ve been called a North Bay Supergroup. How do you feel about that?
I don’t know man. We come from a pretty small part of the Bay Area so it’s pretty easy to find like minded people to play music. It’s cool that some are into our other bands but like I said, this is something new.
Low came out just a couple of weeks ago on Broke Hatré. Tell me a little bit about your relationship with them.
When we were recording the EP we didn’t know who was going to put it out or if we were going to release it ourselves. We’ve been friends with the Broke Hatré guys for a while and all live in the North Bay. We’re into a lot of their releases, some of the best this year in my opinion, from The Vibrating Antennas and Spitting Image. We asked them if they were into working with us on the 7” and they said yes. It’s been awesome and they work hard on everything they put out. It’s way cool to watch them grow and hopefully be a little part of that. James Rogers from Broke Hatré is working on a new video for us that should be out in the next couple weeks.
You released a video for the song Let It All Go a little while ago and you just said that there’s another in the making. Why make videos? Would you say it’s just a fun thing or more like an extension of your creative outlet?
Yeah, just a different way to have fun with music and think about it differently. We asked our friend Timmy Lodhi to do the video after he made videos we liked for Blap Deli and The Vibrating Antennas. We got into cars and drove out to the beach, it was cool. We went to places we’ve been and where we thought the landscape fit the sound of the song. We are letting James do something completely different with our next video. We don’t want to be in it and just let him do what ever he wants with the song. It’s for a new song we just recorded before Ryan moved to NY and Ross left for a month tour.
I’ve read something about a zine of yours called Loose, what’s up with that?
We’ve done two zines. We made one for our first show in Oakland and Loose was made for The Vibrating Antennas’ record release at our local record store. They’re mostly Sarah’s photos and she does most the piecing together of the zines after we all give her our added drawings and photos. We plan to make more but the zines we want to make with color photos are pretty expensive and take a lot of time to come together. We’d rather write songs now, but we have hella photos around and there will probably be time to make another zine soon.
I think that sounds really cool. Kind of an art collective approach.
Exactly. We want to do things as much as we can by ourselves and we look internally to do so. Designing ourselves, recording the way we want to and with our friends, borrowing button makers, booking our own shows; that’s all the fun part of being in a band. All that shit can be so stressful but when we step back for a second and think how cool it is that we’re creating with our friends.
A lot of people go from genre to genre when it comes to what music they listen to through life. For me, I tend to move geographically and right now I’m in a Bay Area period. What I find intriguing about it is a certain feeling of progression and experimentation. Even though bands from your area might be rooted in different styles it seems a lot of you have a strong creative will to take your music down a road less travelled. What do you think about that, would you agree? Or am I completely making this up in my own head?
I would agree with looking geographically and I think it comes naturally. When I was younger I was thinking about Philadelphia and all Dan Yemin’s bands or before that the Bay Area and the punk scene here. If you’re lucky to grow up in a place like the Bay with such diversity and culture it’s going to show up in the music. You have all types of people working to get by and do something positive for themselves and it’s the same thing in music. I hear band’s records from here and you can tell they are making something purely themselves. You can hear it in Loma Prieta. You can hear it in Creative Adult and Ceremony.
Those three bands are fairly known already. What new bands from your area would you recommend?
Sarah and I caught a new band called Gnarly Darlings at a house recently and they blew us away. I think it was their first or second show. We’ve been asking them to play a show since and I think it’s happening at the end of the month. We were all into Ryan’s dream pop/shoegaze band Spirits Of Leo before he was in our band. Brown Bags put out a super catchy emo EP in 2013. We just played with OVVN. They’re a weirdo post punk band from Santa Rosa and Oakland. They made a really trippy video recently too. Elsewhere in the bay, Everybody Row just put out their first 7” and it rules. Also we’ve played a few shows with and love Happy Diving.
You said earlier that what’s next for you is what is truly exciting for you and I know you’ve been in the studio lately. What are you working on currently and what do you see The Down House doing in the near future? What’s the plan?
We finally have real practice space to chill and just write. It changes everything from trying to jam in an hourly rental spot like we have been paying for. There are plans for another release. All that’s being worked out now. The song we just recorded we’re calling Hesse and its coming out soon. Jack Shirley is again mixing it for us. We have a few shows coming up. A house show in Santa Rosa on August 8th and San Francisco August 27th at The Hemlock Tavern with Creative Adult, Creepoid, and Mall Walk.
I’ll definitely keep my eyes on The Down House and look forward to see what you come up with in the future.
Thank you! You will be hearing from us soon.
Links & Further Information:
Video for "Let It All Go":
Video for "Let It All Go":
COPYRIGHT 2015 SMALL HOURS JOURNAL