The Bowery Presents
NEEDTOBREATHE

NEEDTOBREATHE

Colony House

Tue, May 9, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

Starland Ballroom

Sayreville, NJ

$30.50 ADV/$36.00 DOS

This event is all ages

NEEDTOBREATHE
NEEDTOBREATHE
Rivers In the Wasteland, NEEDTOBREATHE’s latest album, opens a new chapter in the GRAMMY-nominated, South Carolina-based rock band’s story. But the band, comprised of brothers Bear and Bo Rinehart, Seth Bolt, and Josh Lovelace, couldn’t have arrived here without the tumultuous narrative that came before, each aspect of their career building up to this point. After the band’s previous album, The Reckoning, was released in 2011, the group spent over two years on the road, where the musicians began grappling with both significant inner turmoil and the external pressure created by notoriety. With the Rinehart brothers, sons of a pastor who hail from the rural town of Possum Kingdom, as the songwriting core of the band, NEEDTOBREATHE has built a successful career, earning a sizeable fanbase with their extensive touring. But tension between Bear and Bo was so high by the end of the touring cycle there was discussion of ending the band. The brothers kept to separate dressing rooms, uncertain that this was the sort of band they’d wanted to become, the possibility of quitting lingering in their minds.

“We were asking ourselves ‘Are you willing to change yourself in order to succeed?’” Bear says. “I think, in some ways, we tried that for a while. It was so tough on our souls and our stomachs and I think all of us knew that we couldn’t do that any longer. There was a moment where I thought the band was over. We had to take a break and meditate on what we each wanted NEEDTOBREATHE to be.”

The answer was to return to the band’s roots and find the anchor of musical simplicity. They agreed that the most important moments of touring came at the end of each show, when they cut off the sound system in each venue and played directly to the fans. It’s a moment of realness NEEDTOBREATHE wanted to capture on their new album, a means of letting go of everything that isn’t truly essential to the song. Bear and Bo began writing a year ago, while still intermittently touring on The Reckoning, doing most of the initial work at their own Plantation Studios in Charleston. The band then spent time at Fairfax Recordings (formally Sound City Studios) in Los Angeles and at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, to co-produce the album with the help of various producers, including Joe Chiccarelli, Kevin Augunas, Jerrod Bettis and Ed Cash. It was a long, sometimes tumultuous process, that ultimately yielded a collection of songs the band feels reflect who they want to be as musicians now.

“We had a few goals as a band for the album,” Bear says. “I had them written in my notebook while I was writing songs. They were really basic: Keep it simple, not too many instruments, and have fun with it. And the last one was: be ourselves.”

“There was so much over-the-top production on the last album and on our tour,” Bo says. “We wanted to blow it all up and start over. The idea for the record was to get as much of the production elements out of the way and then force ourselves to not rely on extra stuff and studio tricks and technology. We wanted to force limitations and see how far we could take the songs with just us. Probably 90 percent of the record is all live takes. It’s very much an honest record.”

The album reflects these sentiments, each song lending itself to the idea of honest expression and genuine identity. “More Heart, Less Attack” is the heart of Rivers In the Wasteland, written in the studio as a response to the pressure of doing something for the wrong reasons. “Rise Again,” a twanging acoustic ballad, is about the necessity of adversity in order to move forward and the pensively soulful “Difference Maker” contemplates the qualities the musicians hope to embody in their lives, embracing a sparse instrumentation that lends to the emotional tone of the song. “The Heart,” the disc’s lead single, is a stomping number imbued with an infectious sense of hopeful anticipation. In the end, after the album was complete, the band saw the connectivity of the songs, each songwriter’s contributions threaded together in a surprising way.

“On the other side of it, it’s crazy how these songs really show a clarity that I don’t think we had while writing them,” Bear says. “These songs feel very timely for us. They feel like they were written for this time that we’re in now, not when we actually wrote them.”

“Being in the band for years now, there’s only a handful of moments where everybody in the band is on the same page,” Bo adds. “Going into this record, there’s no doubt that we were all of one mind and being inspired by the same things. We wanted to say the same things. I think this record is mostly about the journey of the heart. Ours were in much different places when we started this record but now, like the first day we started the band, are of the same heart.”

The past few years have seen NEEDTOBREATHE touring relentlessly, crisscrossing the country on multiple headlining tours, playing standout sets at major festivals like Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits, and performing throughout Europe (which included a personal highlight of opening for Sting in France). They’ve experienced the departure of their longtime drummer and a harrowing band scuffle that landed one member in the emergency room, but have also seen the birth of Bo’s first child and found a sincere reconciliation between brothers. Rivers In the Wasteland balances a palpable tension between two very different songwriters with a sense of brotherhood and shared voices. The album reveals that truly honest and authentic music can only come when everyone in the band believes in the same thing. For the musicians, the hope is that the songs inspire their fans and emphasize how committed NEEDTOBREATHE is to doing what they love in a way that doesn’t compromise anything.

“We’ve come through some rough moments and some amazing moments,” Bo says. “We’re the most energized we’ve ever been. The band is young again. We’ve got a new sense of purpose and we believe in what we’re doing and are completely honored and humbled that there are fans out there who appreciate that and love the music along with us. We just fell back in love with the idea of what we get to do.”
Colony House
Colony House
In a relatively brief span of time, Colony House has emerged as a vibrant creative force, as well as a beloved fan favorite with a passionate, fiercely loyal fan base. That audience is likely to expand substantially with the release of When I Was Younger, the Nashville, TN trio's first full-length album, whose 14 compelling original tunes fulfill the abundant promise of the band's three widely-acclaimed, self-released EPs.

It's not surprising that Colony House has struck a resonant chord with listeners. The threesome maintains a balance of craft and immediacy that reflects its affinity for the sound of such alt-rock outfits as Interpol and The Killers, while echoing the influence of such alternative icons as U2 and New Order. They've assimilated their multiple influences in a manner that's wholly distinctive, adding tight harmonies, strong instrumental chops and a keen melodic sensibility that's all their own.

Lead singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Caleb Chapman writes effortlessly infectious tunes that resonate with personal experience and emotional authority. The songs' messages of faith, hope and perseverance are matched by the organic musical rapport of Caleb and his bandmates, brother Will Chapman on drums and Scott Mills on lead guitar and harmony vocals.

"The songs I write have always come from deep places, whether they're deep places of joy or deep places of hurt, and it can be hard inviting people into those places with you," Caleb states.

That openhearted attitude is reflected throughout When I Was Younger, both in Caleb's expressive vocals and in the band's vivid performances of such personally-charged tunes as "Silhouettes," "Second Guessing Games," "Keep On Keeping On," "Waiting for My Time to Come" and "Won't Give Up," which exemplify the combination of sharp lyrical insight and indelible melodic craft that makes Colony House special.

As When I Was Younger demonstrates, much of Colony House's appeal lies in the three bandmates' powerful rapport, which extends into every aspect of their lives—and which has defined their approach towards the music.

"Our musical and personal chemistry goes hand in hand," Caleb affirms. "The three of us are best friends, which means that at any given moment we are each other's worst enemies as well. Being in a band is like being in a marriage—it's a constant reminder of your own pride, and a reminder that you have to be willing to sacrifice in order for it to be successful. We've made a conscious effort to build the foundation of the band on our friendship, and then letting that spill over into our creative relationship."

As the sons of Contemporary Christian pop superstar Steven Curtis Chapman, Caleb and Will Chapman have been steeped in music for their entire lives. They began making music together in early childhood, playing with their dad as well as their own combos. In 2009 they joined forces with Scott Mills, who they'd met through a cousin. Although initially known collectively as Caleb, the trio rechristened themselves Colony House in 2013, borrowing the name of an apartment complex in their hometown of Franklin, where Will and Scott as well as Caleb's future wife had all lived prior to the band's formation.

The new combo quickly began to win attention, bringing its charismatic live shows to fans via diligent touring, while earning critical raves with a series of acclaimed EPs: Colony House, Trouble and To the Ends of the World. Along the way, the band members found time to pursue other musical adventures, with Caleb collaborating with Will's wife, singer Jillian Edwards, as the In-Laws, and Will moonlighting playing drums on tour with noted indie combo Ivan and Alyosha.

But Colony House remains the focus of their musical lives, as When I Was Younger makes clear. "We labored on the album for a long time," Caleb notes. "We began recording it in September 2012 and finished it in July 2013. We had our dear friends Joe Causey and Ben Shive co-produce it, which made it a very special experience. They knew that this was our first full-length project, and I think that they felt the responsibility to help us tell our story the right way.

"Creating this record had such a strong set of contrasting emotions: joy, hope, frustration, sorrow, uncertainty, confidence," he continues.

"These songs are questions that I have been wrestling with for months, sometimes years," Caleb asserts. "They're stories I had been trying to write in the dim light of my 100-square-foot room long before they were ever brought to life in a studio. We created the album conceptually, trying to keep in mind the rules of telling a story. There must be a dramatic arc, a beginning, a middle and an end. So in that way, every song is a piece of the equation. The front half of the album is a bit more lighthearted and fun, and then the back half gets a bit heavier. And the last third, starting with 'Won't Give Up,' is very important to us."

Perhaps the most startling aspect of When I Was Younger is the band's forthrightness in addressing some deeply personal, emotionally raw issues, most notably the accidental death of Caleb and Will's 5-year-old adoptive sister Maria Sue in 2008. That tragedy is addressed on several of the album's songs, including “Keep On Keeping On” and “Won’t Give Up,” underlining the songs' recurring themes of faith and family.

"It has been a difficult thing to do, sharing your family tragedy when telling your story or singing your songs," Caleb states. "But I think that it's important to tell. Everyone has a story of pain, of heartbreak, of a letdown or failure, and that is a thread that ties us all together—the ones on stage and the ones in the crowd. We were dealt a painful hand, but it's what has bound us together so tightly. We want to create honest art, and this is the most important thing that has happened in our lives, so it would be a hard thing to leave out of our story."

That heart-on-sleeve honesty is just one of the qualities that make Colony House a special band, and make When I Was Younger such a remarkable musical statement.

"We believe that we have a story to tell—a story of hope and perseverance—and that's what we want to leave people with," Caleb concludes. "We are not in the business of writing tragedies. We have experienced tragedy, but we've also seen hope triumph. Our faith is woven throughout everything we do musically, just as it's woven into the foundation of our lives."
Venue Information:
Starland Ballroom
570 Jernee Mill Road
Sayreville, NJ, 08872
http://www.starlandballroom.com/