by The Alchemist
Color Palette – comprised of Jay Nemeyer, Joshua Hunter, Matt Hartenau, Rogerio Naressi, and Maryjo Mattea – is an Indie/Electro/Rock band from Washington, DC. The band’s sound has been compared to that of The Cure, M83, Depeche Mode, and Tame Impala. They’ve shared the stage with the following notable artists: Charli XCX, The Naked and Famous, Soccer Mommy, Mother Mother, Day Wave, Yumi Zouma, and Mr Little Jeans.We we’re fortunate enough to learn more about them through an interview.
What first got you into music?
A: My parents played a few Beatles and Queen records for me at a young age, and I immediately fell in love. I started taking guitar lessons and teaching myself how to play drums, and eventually started writing my own songs.
How did you first start developing your career?
A: I think playing shows and networking was huge for me. As a teenager, I was playing shows with folks twice my age – they would occasionally drop words of wisdom about the music industry and I tried to soak it all up. My first band out of college got some airplay on a local radio station (DC101), which lead to licensing deals and lots of big shows (and a few mini tours). When that band eventually broke up, Color Palette was born; I went out to LA to record an album (‘Vaporwave’, 2016) with Kyle Downes (longtime music collaborator). I returned to DC and linked up with Josh, Matt, Roger, and MJ.
What is the most challenging of your creative process?
A: I think it’s just finding that spark that sets the vibe of the song. If I have a cool guitar part/vocal melody/drum pattern, I find that it’s significantly easier to put a song together – all the building blocks seem to fall in to place. There are, of course, days when hours of tracking don’t lead to anything salvageable.
Do you sing in the shower? If so what songs?
A: Oh man, yes – singing in the shower is the BEST. Everything, but lately a lot of Phoebe Bridgers.
Who would you most like to collaborate with/what music artist do you most admire?
A: I think Kevin Parker is a musical genius – he’d have to be my #1.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?
A: Hmmm tough one – this is cheating, but five-way tie. 1) Sharing the stage with so many awesome artists – CP has opened for folks like Charli XCX, Naked and Famous, Soccer Mommy, Yumi Zouma, and many others, 2) Getting a write up in NME after “Seventeen” came out, 3) Winning a Wammie, 4) Securing some pretty cool placements, and 5) Receiving messages and emails from people who were impacted in a positive way by the music – every so often, someone on the other side of the world will DM me and it absolutely makes my day.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
A: You can write the best song in the world, but if you’re not going to put work behind it – it doesn’t mean anything. I think there’s this romanticized idea of writing a “hit” and becoming an overnight success. You need to work your butt off. There are so many great musicians and writers out there. ALSO – write music that makes YOU happy.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
A: Hmmm well. I do have a job at an NGO in the area, so I can’t claim to do music full-time – but I’d love to get to a point where that’s a reality.
What does being from the DMV mean to you?
A: It means everything. I grew up here. I love it.
Favorite food spot in the DMV?
A: Damn. There are so many amazing spots. I have to go with Vace Italian Deli. The OGs will know!
What’s next for you?
A: Got a couple more CP singles coming up in the near future – maybe an EP/Album? We’ll see. Aside from CP stuff, Kyle Downes (mentioned earlier) and I have been writing with/producing some artists in the area (Mystery Friends, Crystal Casino, Carmichael) – it’s been an awesome experience, and I look forward to doing more of it.
Check out their newest track below.
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Flow-bending artist aSanTIS discusses art, culture, and whether sound can solve the world’s problems in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
My interview with Amy Santis aka aSanTIS began in the most unexpected way. The Maryland-based flow-bending artist and lyrical storyteller came prepared to engage in conversation around questions I had posed – and she also brought one or two of her own thoughtful prompts based on her curiosities around my view of learning.
This practice of taking in her surroundings deeply through observation and inquiry has come naturally to aSanTIS ever since she was a young child. In terms of her early starts in music, she notes that she began as a discerning listener. “Just listening to music from my mom, on the radio, just being a consumer in the world of sound. But I think mainly, my mom has always loved dancing and listening to music, so that was sort of like second nature. We play music at gatherings, we play music in the car, and these songs are sort of like diaries that take us into a specific place.”
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