Image Source: @comfortclub on Instagram
Before his performance at Soda Bar, I had the pleasure of interviewing Comfort Club, an indie-rock one-piece with a sound rooted in the soothing melancholy of Southern California. As an emerging artist in the indie scene, Comfort Club’s success has blossomed online—he’s even been featured on major Spotify playlists like “Undercurrents” and “Fresh Finds.” Currently, he is working on new music and celebrating the release of his new single “Two Kids in a Trench Coat,” which came out on January 19th.
Sofia: Alright, I’m here with Comfort Club. Can you introduce yourself? What is your name, where are you from?
Colin: Yeah, my name’s Colin, I make music as Comfort Club, I’m originally from Michigan. I’ve lived in California for about six years now, um and yeah I make, like, indie pop and indie rock. Kinda been coining myself as ‘soft rock’ lately and I like the feel of that.
S: Oh, I like that! It totally fits. How long have you been playing music?
C: I started playing guitar when I was like, twelve or thirteen and then took a break until I was seventeen again, and then started hitting it pretty hard and never stopped after that. Yeah it’s been a journey so far, I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s one of those things that never gets old. You kinda just keep growing and learning new things.
S: In high school, did you have friends who you’d play with? Since you said you started playing in your teens.
C: No, a lot when I started out was just me figuring it out myself, like I was very much just in my room like, playing with YouTube videos and trying to learn shapes and scales and stuff. So yeah it was pretty insular. Then in college, I started playing with my brother and one of our friends, so I was probably nineteen or twenty before I started playing in front of another soul. I was pretty DIY for the first couple of years.
S: What approach do you usually take when writing music? Do you like to get more personal or keep it open?
C: I feel like I always like to come from a place of lyrics-first, that’s how I start with music. Usually when I have lyrics, there’s some sort of rhythmic flow to them so that kinda informs what I do, either on the guitar or on the drums to start it out, then start to build from there. I’d say it’s pretty open-ended in terms of what I want to talk about, but it’s mostly my subconscious opening up.
S: Like venting almost? That’s cool.
C: Yeah haha. I usually end up talking about relationships, whether that be my own or ones that I’m narrating, like other people’s. But yeah that’s like my main department–just relationships.
S: Would you say you’re kinda like the ‘therapy friend’ in your group then?
C: Yeah, even though I’m in between groups right now I feel like I always try to get into my feelings as deeply as I can. It translates to music quite nicely.
S: For sure. That seems to answer my other question, which was how your day-to-day life influences your music?
C: No yeah, that’s fair. It seems like I’m always thinking about songs in my head, like, I’m always trying to write or think of a new way to say something. So I guess a lot of my day-to-day is just me thinking. It’s where all of my songs come from–either thinking or overthinking. A song all of a sudden hits me and I’m like oop! There’s one!
S: That totally makes sense. On your instagram, I saw that you’re really into trench coats and trench coat imagery, um, my friends love that bit of stacking people inside of a jacket. How did you think to use that, since it’s usually a more playful concept rather than something emotional?
C: That concept comes from a song I just released, called “Two Kids In A Trench Coat,” which sounds like a funny title but I was going through a breakup and I was just going through everything that happened in it. I came up with this analogy with the two kids in a trench coat; it felt like we were sort of playing house, trying to be adults, but we were just kids. We felt like kids and we hadn’t fully grown up. I was like, this is it, we’re two kids trying to equal one adult which isn’t a math equation that ever works out.
S: Yes, that’s fire.
C: Yeah I had to learn that, but yeah on the surface it does look like it would be a mockery, but I feel like it’s one of the deepest songs I’ve ever written. I felt like I could let myself go and be like, well, this is my unhealed inner child in a song-form. But I’m super stoked for that song, and I’m glad it shows on my instagram that I’m a trench coat aficionado.
S: Haha yes, it totally does. How old are you now?
C: I’m 27. I’m getting up there.
S: What has been the most defining moment in your career thus far, then?
C: Ooh, it’s sort of a thing that’s kinda existed all the way through, but starting to believe in myself was the turning point. I think in 2019 is when I started getting a little bit of traction on the internet, and I was like oh, there’s something here. There’s something more than me just playing guitar in my room. And I’ve always wanted to express myself, be in front of people, I’ve always wanted to be liked. Making music kind of filled all of those voids collectively. And I realized when I started accepting that, and using music as a form of expression and to start conversations with people (because I’m a shy person), I started believing this as a concept. All of the pieces fit together and create a life where I feel less alone.
S: I feel like so many people say their defining career moments come from an outside source, like oh, my song was played on the radio or something. I like that yours is more personal, you know?
C: I feel like it’s dumb, but those things don’t happen unless you have this piece. Everything else is extra credit.
S: Yeah, you definitely have to trust yourself before you put anything out there. So, as a visual artist myself, I am usually influenced by music when I’m doing my artwork. For you as a musician do you have any non-musical influences that translate into your work?
C: Oh interesting, I have a little bit. It’s no secret that the music industry is shifting towards highly visual content, I don’t necessarily have any direct influences like that, but when I’m watching TV or movies I stop to think about how they created them or how they did those motions. I don’t think I’m quite there yet as a visual artist, but I want to get there. I’ve built my team to have some visual artists in there, though. Natalie does a lot of my visuals these days, it’s super cool to have a collaborator on that. In the past, it was just me sitting down at a computer trying to figure it out. When you have a conversation with someone else, you can really define what your intention is behind everything. To me, the biggest piece is your intention and how you can portray that visually.
S: No, yeah having that extra person there always helps honestly. I feel like sometimes when I’m in an art block, that extra push from someone else is always super beneficial.
C: It’s funny because I feel like I can’t do that as much when it comes to music. It almost feels like an itch, where I’m like, if I don’t scratch it myself–well that’s maybe not the right analogy…
S: I get what you mean though, for sure.
C: It’s just that if I don’t do it myself, I feel like I don’t get the whole thought out because someone else guided the thought. I like being able to say that I got from point A to point B all by myself. It means I got what I needed to get out of my head out, out. Sometimes if you write with other people, you get the feeling that you didn’t say everything that you needed or wanted to say. You can’t hog the mic though.
S: With that being said, do you play all of the instruments yourself physically or do you use the computer to make some of the sounds?
C: For the most part, I’m not a drummer or anything so I learned how to program drums. But on this new album that I’m putting out, I did a good job at finding good samples of drums and writing over those. I sent it to my friend Jacob, who played drums on the whole album, it was really cool. Having him really brings it to the next level. It makes it more organic. It really changed how I see my music now, because I’m trying to become more of a live artist with real, tangible elements. Getting there was a huge step. Otherwise, I do all of the guitar parts myself. I’ve had a couple collaborators, which is really cool too because they also take it to a completely different level. But again, it’s sort of that scratching the itch thing.
S: With that, do you have any special rituals you do before playing a show?
C: I try to not get in my head, because that’s definitely possible. I feel like the more I go on the stage, the more I don’t recognize that I’m on stage yet. I can almost sneak up on myself, like okay I’m here, the song is starting right now. It’s the best way to do it, in my opinion.
S: Alright, I only have one more question. Since I love movies, I have to ask what your favorite movie is.
C: This is definitely me side-stepping the question, but I’ve always said that Breaking Bad would be the best 70-hour movie. I know that’s like cheating, but I genuinely feel like if you could watch it from start to finish, it would be the greatest movie of all time.
Cover Photo: @comfortclub on Instagram