Q&A with Garret Rapp of The Color Morale
Desolate Divine may mark quite a few changes for The Color Morale, who took the opportunity to enlist multiple songwriters and producers to help them hone in on the palpable aggression and poetic lyricism that can be found on the album, but their message and drive is still the same. Whether you're a first time listener or a die-hard fan eagerly awaiting the band's fifth full-length release, there's a little bit of something for everyone on Desolate Divine, from vulnerable, honest lyricism to aggressive, hard-hitting choruses and the band's largest sonic backdrop to date. We recently had a chance to catch up with frontman Garret Rapp, who shared quite a bit about the stories behind the new album, what went into making this release bigger than ever and more. Read the full interview below and pre-order Desolate Divine now!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
You guys are just about to drop your fifth full-length album, Desolate Divine. What was the main goal when you were going in to working on this album?
We wanted to focus heavily on songwriting for this record, writing big anthems that correlated to the message of course while focusing first and foremost on the melody.
This being your fifth release, was there anything new that you wanted to experiment with on this record? What do you think sets it apart from the rest?
Aaron and I actually spent months cowriting songs for this record with outside producers and songwriters we knew and trusted. We wanted to be challenged to make bigger songs this time around, focus less on technicality or “heavy” and focus more on big catchy rock songs that connected heavily on an emotional level. We did a tour with a band called Nothing More that really opened up our eyes to a lot of different opportunities we weren’t taking advantage of. I’ve never really written about relationships or vulnerability within the bands lyrical delivery, but it’s a problem I’ve needed to address within myself. What better and more appropriate of a place to do so than a new record.
There has been a two year gap between Desolate Divine and your last album, Hold On Pain Ends. What has the journey been like between the two albums? How do you feel you’ve grown, either personally or as a band?
Our band has definitely grown as song writers. Aaron has come so far with producing and recording, which has helped us exponentially with writing new material. Hold On Pain Ends was written almost entirely in a month, which was stressful and not smart at all. The band fell victim to trying to keep up with the hype train, and ultimately didn’t meet the expectations it set for itself which was extremely disheartening. I love that record and some of the creative layers we explored, but it was great actually having time to write together and grow as a cohesive unit.
“Walls,” the first song you released from the album, tells about keeping yourself in isolation to avoid vulnerability. And as musicians, you’re sort of forced into this vulnerable position when you’re writing music and performing, so would you say that being in this band and sharing your stories every day helps you overcome this “wall,” so to speak?
The greatest thing I’ve learned as a touring artist is how to give away my mistakes. Taking my own personal detriment and shortcomings, molding them into a creative art, and giving them away are how i keep balanced and maintain stability in my life. In the “industry” frankly no one understands or cares about your personal vulnerabilities, it’s a business and you’re there to meet a number constantly.
On your past releases, The Color Morale’s message has always been one of hope and positivity. Do you feel these messages and sentiments carry over into Desolate Divine as well?
Absolutely. You should definitely give “Misery Hates Company” and “Keep Me in My Body” a listen. These will always be evident in our material. I’ve struggled with depression since I was a child. I’m pretty sure I'm always going to. Talking about it and connecting to others is the best cure so I’ve learned thus far. For people like me the best kinds of drugs are other people like us.
There have also been a few changes sonically on this record. How were you able to challenge yourselves and continue to grow while working on these songs?
Dan Korneff is a sonic genius! We spent a lot of time and diligence with tones and sounds for this record. These songs sound organic but still massive at the same time. This is definitely a stand out record compared to our others.
You worked with quite a few talented songwriters and producers on this album, including Dan Korneff, Erik Ron, Scott Stevens, Arnold Lanni, and Matt Wentworth. What do you feel they were able to bring to the table in order to make this the best Color Morale album possible?
I personally took something new away from every single one of these sessions. We were very selective with who we wrote with, and wouldn’t just say yes to anyone. Everyone we worked with on this record pulled something out of us, which was the goal from the start.
You were also out on the road this summer for your second Vans Warped Tour! What did you learn on your first year that made this second time around even better?
Like anything, after you’re weathered it comes easier and more natural. Warped is the best tour on earth. We had just as much fun this time around as the first time and can’t wait to do it again!
What would you like fans to take away from Desolate Divine or your live performances?
The importance and priority of connection. I don’t want to ever play the same show twice, and we have a lot of really cool creative ideas for this year.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Desolate Divine is out 8/19/16 everywhere! Please follow us on Spotify and keep track on all our socials @thecolormorale and on mine as well @garretrapp. See you on tour!