Pop-punk/rock band, Columbus are rising to success with their back to front, anthem of a debut album Spring Forever. Columbus will be touring Australia nationally in October and November in support of their debut success. The band will perform at The Crown & Anchor on November 3rd.
Although Columbus falls into the pop-punk genre vocalist and guitarist, Alex Moses says there were so many different influences that impacted the band. Alex’s unique vocal style mixes the roar of 90’s grunge and rock with the emotion of early 2000’s emo and pop-punk.
“We all really dig a lot of 90’s punk and rock bands. I think that’s the core of our influences. We really do enjoy bands like Green Day and Blink 182, but we also like a lot of other bands like the Offspring and Australian punk like Frenzal Rhomb, and more rock bands from that era, Jimmy Eat World that kind of stuff. We always listen to different bits of music, a bit of emo a bit of hardcore. I feel like a bunch of different genres crept into the record. Around that time I was listening to a lot of Billy Talent and Fall Out Boy. I’m sure some other stuff slipped in there too,” says Alex.
The band has released their first full-length album with massive success in the pop-punk scene. This is the first time the band has released such a lengthy release and their hard work has paid dividends as they wait to start their touring year.
“It’s pretty rad. We’ve only put out EPs before this. Putting out a 12 track full length doubles our discography. It was pretty crazy releasing that many songs, throwing out this much into the world. We’ve been really stoked on the reception and overwhelmed with the support. It’s kind of exciting, my favourite bit is hearing people saying ‘this is my favourite song’. It’s kind of spread out, everyone seems to like different tracks, I really enjoy that. If everyone can take something different out of each song, I really like that. It’s really cool for me.”
“‘Raindrop’ is the first single we put out and it definitely stood out. We released that song quite a while before the album and recorded a video for that, it’s pretty accessible. I assume that’s going to be the biggest song off the record for a while. A few of the others that stand out, there’s an acoustic track called ‘Nervous Wreck’, people seem to like that. The title track ‘Spring Forever’ and ‘Say What You Want’ which is more of a rock track, people are digging that. It’s kind of cool to see people saying ‘oh this is my favourite song’ and I just didn’t expect that, it’s not the single, it’s pretty cool for us.”
One of the heaviest and rockiest songs on the album is ‘Stay’. This song is a stand-out favourite for Alex.
“That is definitely the rockiest song on the album. We all listen to a lot of rock bands and that song is the least pop punk. We all have influences closer to that and when we wrote that song we had so much fun playing it and so much fun recording it, and we said ‘this is not, not going on the record’. It’s actually still one of my favourite tracks on there. It’s a little fun, it’s got the guitar solo, I could see ourselves making more music like that in the future. But I’m not really sure yet, obviously we only put out one album. ‘Stay’ is definitely one of my favourite songs.”
The band are starting their career and seeing success in the age of streaming. Although selling CDs and records are still a vital part of any band today, Alex is open to the pros in streaming and the band uses it to benefit them.
“I think that streaming is definitely the future. Record sales are going down, streaming is going up, people don’t want to carry around 100gb things when you can have every song in the world on your phone. But, I think that record sales are still an integral part, I guess when you sell a record you can’t tell what songs people are listening to over and over. Like on iTunes, I bought that album and the band have no idea what songs I have listened to the most. I guess what streaming is good for is every play is logged. I can go on Spotify and see what songs are being played over and over and over and what songs are the most popular on the record. It’s good for bands, the same with Youtube, ‘oh we didn’t do a video for this song but it’s notably more popular than the others’, maybe we should, we’ll definitely play that one live. We’re going to look at those numbers and think those are the songs we are going to play live. With that being said, we very much encourage people to buy records, because record sales are still very sick! As cool as having all this music on your phone is, I had to get the vinyl of our record, I don’t even have a record player, I just wanted the physical product in my hand,” Alex laughs.
“One thing I like about records specifically is I like the idea that an album is set up to played from start to finish in a certain order. I think that with CDs or mp3s and streaming you lose that ability. I like how you play it from one side and then flip it over, it gives an order to it. I think that when we write albums we will always take that into account. This should be the order of the songs if anyone wants to listen to it in that way, hopefully, they enjoy it. I know people don’t do it that way, but it’s a cute little thing that I like.”
Columbus has a strong focus on the narrative and lyrics of an album, like many of the emo bands that Alex grew up listening to. Spring Forever focuses heavily on a set of themes that adds emotion to the lyrics.
“It’s not necessarily a chronological event. I wrote the songs over a period of time. Some of the songs we had were almost as old as a year, others were only a month or two as we wrote in the build up to the record. It’s supposed to tell a story and have aspects of narrative throughout. A lot of the concepts are love and loss and learning things about yourself. I guess I wanted to have an album that had some sense of narrative flow, from the beginning to the end. I wanted the beginning to be soft and gentle and the end to be fulfilling, resonating, cathartic and finite,” Alex explains.
The band has seen their success flourish with the help of local Australian label UNFD. UNFD is known for their many Australian grown hardcore bands including the likes of The Amity Affliction, In Hearts Wake and Northlane. Columbus is a branch out into a different genre for UNFD.
“We’re definitely the softest band on the roster, we carry that title. It came up after we played UNIFY festival 2016. It came up because we met the owners at the festival. We saw really eye to eye with the label, they were based in Australia which we really liked. We talked to international labels in the past, but I really like being able to go into the office and see the people. They were all down at BigSound last week in Brisbane and I can see everyone that works at the record label. I know everyone there personally, I really like that personal relationship we can have with everyone there. We kind of wanted to work with an independent rock label who believes in the band, and that’s what we get with UNFD. Although their roster is a lot heavier than us, it doesn’t really bother me at all. It’s cool being signed to an independent Australian rock label.”
Columbus are set to play UNFD’s annual festival UNIFY 2017 in January. The band was also featured on the UNIFY 2016 lineup.
“It was crazy actually, it was a really fun awesome two days. I don’t go camping very often, but there was so many of my friends, so many cool bands in the one spot, in the middle of nowhere, with lots of beer. Everyone in the band had the best time. We played the second day, mid-morning 11am, so we were really hungover. We got on stage and just tried to start sculling beer again. It was super shaky getting up there, but we had the best time.”
“I’m excited for UNIFY 2017 because we play the first day. So we can be a lot more sober, play the show and then party and watch a bunch of really cool bands. And the lineup is awesome, it’s a little more diverse, we’ve got Violent Soho, Luca Brasi and Moose Blood. And a bunch of more punk bands and of course Alexisonfire.”
“UNIFY is cool because I think we’re moving into more of a smaller boutique festivals, not necessarily around the whole country but in lots of different places. UNIFY is one example of that, we’ve also got Splendour, Falls and these kind of festivals that sell two and a half to seven thousand tickets consistently every year. People have been going for years. The fall of Big Day Out and Soundwave is only representative in the fact that Australian’s don’t want those festivals as much as we prefer the boutique, camping, UNIFY event type things. Which is sad, seeing Fall Out Boy, Slipknot and Smashing Pumpkins [At Soundwave] on the same day, and the Swellers on the same day is awesome!”
Columbus were one of the lucky bands to be featured at Big Sound in Brisbane this past month. Everyone within the music industry in Australia is there, including a few celebrity musicians, which Alex and Ben were lucky enough to see.
“We were walking down one of the main streets in The Valley. And Big Sound is on so there are so many people, booking agents, musicians, performers and everybody. Dan [Drummer] was saying something silly and he was trying to take a selfie for Instagram or something. We were walking down the street and Courtney Barnett was there right on the side of the street, 30cms away from us in a jacket and a hat. And I said that I kind of thought it was her and I looked at Ben [Bassist] and we looked past her. We didn’t say a thing but we both knew it was Courtney Barnett. Dan missed the whole thing because he was looking at his phone taking a selfie as we were walking passed the Grammy Award Nominated Courtney Barnett,” Alex laughs.
Alex’s chosen song to end the interview:
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