Max Townsley and Drew Erickson are The Colurs, a contemporary pop group that combines introspective, orchestra-powered grandeur with modern radio sensibilities. The band’s songs possess more strings, horns, flutes and other classical instruments than a lot of other work out there, with an end result being similar to music written by composers such as John Lennon, Brian Wilson or Alan Parsons.
Tracks like “Julia” and “Easy to Love” from its self-titled EP, are progressive yet serene. Each possess thoughtful notes and earnest vocals backed up by compelling instrumentations that would sound overcomplicated in the hands of lesser musicians, but The Colurs pull it off with controlled flair.
Townsley and Erickson both met in high school. “Max hung out with a lot of jazz musicians at a local piano bar,” Townsley says. “He also toured with a rock band called Midlake, while I played organ with my church choir.” The two musicians ended up in a lot of bands together, but eventually decided to form a duo.
The freelance musicians eventually saved up enough money to operate out of their own home studio. “Now we have all the resources we need to completely orchestrate a song to follow the vibe we want,” Townsley says. “Since we also have the luxury of having the skills and resources, we try to take advantage of it.”
“We’ve had absolute control creating our music. I’ve never had to work with another producer who was telling me what to do.” The move also saves money. “Mostly, we’ve done it ourselves for financial reasons. I had to learn to mix because I couldn’t afford to do so,” Townsley says.
Everyone enjoys a little EP, but will fans get something meatier? “We are working on a full-length album. We’re still in the process of recording and mixing everything.” Townsley assures fans that his commitment to the project is absolute. “It will be done the beginning of January, even if I have to stay awake through December.”
While earlier tracks played by The Colurs utilized some prerecorded instrumentations, it’s not the duo’s first preference. “We are getting away from using a lot of programmed music. The songs on our next album are going to have much more live, natural instrumentations,” Townsley says.
What does The Colurs’ first big album sound like so far? “I think it has a broad spectrum of music,” Townsley says. “As opposed to the EP, it’s going to have a wider variation, including ballads and some high-energy songs. We haven’t proposed a name for it yet. Maybe it won’t have a title.”
When asked for more details about the full-length album The Colurs are destined to release in the future, Townsley plays it close to vinyl. “We’re still coming up with a lot of concepts.” The two have a lot of talent and tools, so there have been no final decisions. They also want their first album to be perfect. Why commit to anything too early? “Everything I tell you could be false.”
The young artist assures me that while The Colurs have written a lot of sweet, quiet songs, Erickson and Townsley aren’t confining their future to nothing but more of the same. Elements like hard rock and heavy metal are still on the table for the two.
“I would be open to writing anything,” Townsley says. “I don’t have any preference. My personal taste is all over the map. If a piece that calls for high-energy instrumentation, that’s fine.”