Interview by Jordan Snowden
After his previous group, The Silver Liners, decided to take an indefinite break, Jay Nemeyer used the remaining demos he intended for the band’s next album to launch his new project, Color Palette. He headed to L.A. to team up with music producer and longtime friend Kyle Downes, drummer Jon Jester and Nico Grossfeld, an L.A. studio mixer and musician, to create and record tracks with a refreshing and warm electric rock sound. We got the chance to chat with Nemeyer and Josh Hunter, who plays guitar, bass and keys in the band’s live shows, to learn more about this rising group. After reading the interview, see Color Palette live this Saturday at Rock and Roll Hotel with Drop Electric, Honest Haloway and Boon.
DC Music Download: Where did the name Color Palette come from?
Jay Nemeyer: I’ve always associated sounds with colors, feelings and emotions. When I write music, this is always one of the preliminary things I want to establish. For me, the name Color Palette makes sense because it ties back to the songwriting process.
DCMD: What is your songwriting process like?
JN: I don’t really have a “one size fits all” process. I start with either a lyrical phrase, a set of chords, a guitar/keyboard riff, drum beat, et cetera–and then build upon it. I bring demos to rehearsal, and then we’ll sometimes modify sections. If I’m not excited about the song after 45 minutes of working on it, I’ll usually scrap it and start over.
DCMD: Do you think recording in L.A. had any effect on the sound of your first single, “Seventeen”?
JN: Yes, absolutely. I think recording out there shaped the way the entire album sounds, for a few reasons. One, I was able to work with some amazing guys (Kyle Downes, Jon Jester and Nico Grossfeld); two, I was able to work on music for 10 to 12 hours a day without interruption and three, we had access to some great studios in L.A.
DCMD: “Seventeen” is about the feelings one experiences with their first love and loss. Was there a specific person in mind when writing the song?
JN: Yep, there was. But, I think (hope) that it is a fairly relatable concept.
DCMD: Your second single, “Heartless,” was recently released–can you tell us a little about it?
JN: “Heartless” is about being in a bad relationship. No matter what one might try to do to salvage a relationship/partnership, sometimes it seems pointless–the other party isn’t receptive, and it’s extremely disheartening. This, again, is something that I think many people can relate to.
DCMD: Certainly. What is Color Palette currently up to?
JN: In terms of shows, we’re playing Rock and Roll Hotel on July 25 with Drop Electric, Honest Haloway and Boon. We [also] have a few other shows planned for August. In terms of releases, we’ll release another single in a few weeks, and then we’ll release our EP. We also have a full-length that is scheduled to come out in the fall.
DCMD: What are you looking forward to?
Josh Hunter: Honestly, I’m going to sound sappy and say “everything,” because it genuinely makes me feel the greatest to be playing this music with these guys and seeing [this] wonderful response from people.
JN: Same here–all the shows, releases, reactions, et cetera.
DCMD: Is there anything you would like our readers to know about Color Palette?
JN: Yes. I want to give shoutouts to Kyle Downes (engineer, co-producer) and Navid Marvi (artwork)–without those guys, Color Palette wouldn’t exist. Their support and input was incredibly influential. Also, I want to mention Jack Leathers–Jack rehearsed/jammed with us from day one, and left to pursue a job in Colombia after our show at Velvet Lounge on June 5. He, also, was very influential in the “live sound-shaping” (is that a thing?) of the band. If there’s anyone reading this in Colombia, go befriend Jack!
DCMD: And finally, what are your dreams, goals and ambitions for Color Palette?
JH: I would love to grab a tour with someone awesome and get to play these songs for people all over the USA, and maybe get to go to Europe. Ambitions are to just get the music out to as many people as we can, and hopefully they dig it. Also, amass enough wealth to build an army of trained lemurs to do my bidding.
JN: To echo that, I’d love to tour, and connect with as many people as we possibly can. I feel so fortunate to be able to play with guys as talented and as awesome as Josh, Matt and Roger.
Listen to Color Palette’s latest single, “Heartless.”