"We have our fourth album in the works and we're going to be releasing four songs from that as the first EP; the album is due out later this year as it's been in the works for a while but the EP we are aiming to have out by March or April. It is going to be called "Coalescence" and this first EP and the subsequent EPs will be volumes 1, 2 and 3. So, "Coalescence Volume 1" will be out; that's what we've agreed to," says Cold Weather Company keyboardist and vocalist Steve Shimchick as he and guitarist Brian Curry discussed the band, their upcoming multi-part release and more.
Formed in 2013 after a, "Serendipitous meeting on a park bench" at the campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, this trio quickly sensed that their commonality was their passion and that was music.
Music has a way of forging bonds between friends, loved ones and yes, even total strangers and to hear this close knit group; it happened at just the right time and their name reflects that as well.
"Originally, every fledging little band has their arguments about; what should the title of our band be? We kind of bounced ideas around for three weeks; just back and forth texting and we went scientific with it," said Curry with a slight laugh. "We had posters out and we were like; who are we? What do we want our music to represent? Eventually we were like, "Cold Water Canvas" sounds cool and it is cold outside right now but it wasn't good enough and we ended up switching back to Cold Weather Company with the idea that we wanted to create music that would get people through those colder months. Speaking for myself, I've always been someone who suffers with seasonal depression and depression in general and to be able to find that companionship with Jeff (guitarist Petescia) and Steve at that moment in my life; that brought a lot of warmth to me. There's a lot of layers to the meaning but largely it's kind of just Cold Weather Company; music that's there for you when you need it."
"We knew it was just a nice blend of nature," added Shimchick, "Which is a huge inspiration for a lot of the songs and also playing back into that idea of how we became the company for each other while playing and writing together in the early days and we still are of course but as our songs got out there and listeners started to connect with them; it's always encouraging when they start realizing, oh this is company for me too. The whole community and people listening to them; we found that the songs are company for people all over the world now too and it's a really humbling kind of experience outside of solely the three of us being able to support each other through playing."
"I also think," reaffirmed Curry, "That it shows in the songs we write too; that the three of us, despite having very different personal styles and tastes and playing that we all tend to write therapeutically for ourselves sort of as self-therapy; sort of an exercise of piecing together a mental puzzle that you've been dealing with and by writing the song you're attempting to solve it for yourself. I think if you're doing that honestly it will hopefully come across and like Steve said, it's been a heck of a humbling experience seeing that start happening."
With three full length albums to their credit and even a holiday song, "Coalescence" is set to become their fourth release but this time, as Curry explains, things will be handled differently.
"Part of the release process is to try and figure out new ways to go about releasing the album, with one of the concepts being how we can tie the songs together and how we can bring them out with each song receiving the attention that we want them to get. Having been working on these songs for the past two years we're trying to see what kind of ideas that we can have in the release realm. The general idea that we've been talking about a lot between the three of us and Deko, who is our label now, has just been to not only try and capture somebody's attention but to kind of actually give them enough to really binge you for a sec. With the pandemic, we're kind of hedging our bets that people are looking for more than singles these days and so, basically, rather than releasing three singles from the album, we are releasing the album in three parts."
"We've typically only ever done singles and then the full length album," continued Shimchick; "This will be about 10 songs but in the past we've had 16 songs, so, to have every track kind of be a focus track we did want to give it in smaller chunks. We also know there is fatigue when you have a 50 plus minute album these days and you're just hoping that everyone listens to every song on it but if you even look at our Spotify, the further you go down the songs the fewer streams it has. So, this is to try something new and also to allow a new marketing point where we are doing different video and promotional packages for each EP; which will be a new fun thing versus focusing on just one song or leading up to an album itself."
OK, so; how do they plan on making this happen? The world is full of bands dropping EPs due to what is considered a, "Short attention span" amongst today's consumer but accordingly they have a plan.
"The full album will be 100 percent "Coalescence" and the EPs; "Volume 1" feels like it makes sense and it may not be as extensive of a volume as...," began Shimchick when Curry immediately chimed in, "We're in the process of working with a really great friend of ours who is a phenomenal graphic artist and so our hope is to create album artwork that will function as a panorama. "Volume 1" would be on the left "Volume 2" on the right and "Volume 3" in the middle. So, the cover art will sort of be the change in title in a way and to sort of complete the "Coalescence" circle; when you put all three of those pictures together it creates one landscape and that's the brain-blast concept."
Working as a three piece with no drums during live performances has not been a problem but that has never prevented the threesome from using them on studio recordings; as a matter of fact, they rather enjoy the vibe a drum track can provide.
"We never had drums until the last couple of songs on our second album and then the third album was where we started with the drums during the recording process and doing it that way we were actually in a groove of sorts but a lot of our early releases had a flow, a push and pull in a good way where it was like hey, these guys are grooving and that was how we imagined it."
Ah yes, the all-important, "Groove" but when a pandemic hits and plans are altered to the point where not even Stella can get her groove back; what do you do with the time available while the marketing plan comes together?
"Between the three of us there is never really a shortage of song ideas, we do a lot of continuous writing," said Shimchick, "We are still in the final mixing stages but it looks like it makes sense to say we will release it in the early Spring. All of the songs are fully recorded and are in those mixing stages and because we are putting such attention behind each package and each volume, we want to make sure that everything has what it needs. That gives us a bit of time to focus and that's the fun thing; since we are releasing them all separately; three or four songs each and to be able to hone in on just a couple songs at a time versus the album as a whole, it will make the album in its entirety even stronger."
"It's been super helpful working on the mixes," said Curry enthusiastically. "The album has been fully recorded for a few months now and we've been hearing mixes and changing mixes, doing this and changing that; it's definitely not an exercise in being fickle as much as it's being able to take the time to listen through these mixes and let the songs grow on us. Listen objectively to a point where we can sort of re-approach the songs to see if we missed anything, see if there's any extra little melodies that are hiding behind that can be brought out. This is the first time that we have had this sort of deep breath to take to really take that curation time. There is definitely a boundary where you're dealing with subjective differences that make no overall change to the song or the piece of art but that's also been the magic of for the first time having a little bit of guidance on the label side of things. We've always been independent and this is the first time that we've gotten help on a release. So, it has been really nice working with our engineer Pat and mastering engineer Alan where they kind of let us know as nicely as they can when we're being a little petty; to put it nicely (laughs). It's nice to have a third party to step in and say, hey guys, I get what you're saying but as someone who has done a thousand-ba-jillion albums; let me give you some advice and it has been really helpful because as far as you think you are; you've always got a lot farther to climb."
Craving the connection that any performer gets from a live audience is commonplace in this sequestered climate but these three are finding ways to not only engage their fan base but to create an entire network or should I say; artistic community?
"As a band we've been doing a lot over the past year just trying to be there for our community and find ways to collaborate and do different activities," said Shimchick. "Just the other day we had another Zoom open mic and those have been really fun. We kicked them off back in March or April because we knew that we weren't traveling or playing shows and we thought it was a great way to engage with our audience and also to allow our listeners to share their art with others. We have this thing, "The Cold Weather Collective" which is essentially that group of listeners and friends who are visual artists, musicians, poets; they're in theater and in all sorts of cool stuff. I've really been moved by watching them and trying to use our platform to bring them together; we've spent a lot of efforts doing that over the past couple of months and that community has gotten closer. They are showing up for each other's live streams and different events and it's just a really cool bonus kind of thing. I think we just knew; here's our opportunity to actually connect with people around the world in a way that we never have before because people haven't had the time. So, these are going on pretty much every two weeks on Zoom, anyone can join and just hang out; there's a couple dozen of us typically just playing songs, screen sharing art and playing games; it's been a lot of fun. Although it is open to everybody you have to message us for the links because with putting Zoom links out there to the world they can get turned around with some undesirables. So, if you want to perform or have a friend who wants to perform, or join the audience; send us a message and we will send the link to them. Instagram has been our main social media focus these days but we also add them to our tour calendar."
Cold weather Company can be found www.coldweathercompany.com and on Instagram @coldweathercompany .
Photo Credit: Carlos Perez
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!