Collington, the brainchild of James Collington, is seeing a revitalization with the release of the new project In Between. Collington brought his alt rock sensibilities to producer Eric Owyoung (known previously for work with Switchfoot, Hillsong and his band Future of Forestry). Together, they crafted a sound that the world first heard with single “Here We Go–” a song which quickly blew up.
Collington took some time to share with us about this season of creativity, the new album and the journey still to come.
Introduce the EP In Between to us. How did it come about? What did the recording experience look like?
In Between was written during one of the hardest years of my life. I had really bad writer’s block, and there were a few personal areas of life where I didn’t have closure. I was raised by some mentors and a mother who really instilled in me a sense of taking responsibility: if I didn’t like something, it was my job to do something about it. The record came from a place of feeling stuck. It’s hard to be in a place where your hardest efforts and smartest plans leave you spinning your wheels in the mud.
I had over 100 demos that were whittled down to the 5 songs on the EP. In Between was developed in 6 states, partially at favorite studios and at home. I mixed the record at home, which was really intimidating to do as a followup to the last full length we put out.
“Here We Go” has seen a lot of traction. What was the heart and inspiration behind that song?
I was taken aback by the response to the track! My phone was constantly on the charger from trying to keep up with the response. It was also our first feature on an official Spotify playlist.
There’s a lot of emotion behind the song for me. “Here We Go” ultimately was written out of a place of looking ahead to hope despite the current setting– the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Lyrically, I feel like this song touches on the uncertainty of how things will change but the belief that they will change for the better.
“Trouble” was the first song that I knew I really wanted on the EP. When I wrote “Here We Go,” I really felt that it had to be on there too.
How has your musical style developed, and what artists inspired you along the way?
My musical style has developed slowly over the years. I started Collington doing things kind of troubadour style with just me and my acoustic, and I made a few records that aren’t available anymore.
From there I started to push in the direction of a band with the Collington sound. Working with the intensely talented Aaron Gillespie on our last record, I learned to build my sound and how to approach recording better.
On this record, I worked with another musical hero of mine Eric Owyoung. I am so grateful for his help on this EP. I listened to Eric’s band Future of Forestry. FOF’s record Twilight is one of my all time favorites. Something I’ve always been fascinated about with Eric’s career is how much of the heavy lifting he does when he’s making a record. He writes, records, produces and mixes his own records (and other people’s records) with unparalleled excellence. Which in the music industry is unheard of.
One of the reasons it was important for me to have a producer on this release is because there are decisions that get made when you’re recording that drastically change the song for the better. Eric really grasped where I wanted to take the record as an artist and mixer, and he helped bring the vision to life. I originally sat under him as a mix student, and when we were finishing up mixing, it was a no brainer to ask him for help on the new stuff. He really challenged me and pushed me forward with this release.
Some of the artists I was listening to when writing and mixing were The Killers, Bootstraps, Awolnation, Adele and Ben Howard.
What does the future look like you in terms of live shows? What’s on the calendar?
We’ve got some cool shows coming up! We’re doing our release show for our EP In Between with Darren King (MUTEMATH) and Sucre (Eisley). That’s going to be a lot of fun!
What is your goal in creating music, what you want to communicate to listeners?
That’s a hard question. If I made music for other people, I don’t know that I’d still be making music. For me, I’ve always compared songwriting to journal writing. Some pages I share with others, some pages I keep to myself. Many of the pages are me honestly processing life, and many others are prayers.
The music that’s meant the most for me has had certain sonic textures to it, certain vibes, and has been something I can keep on repeat. It’s also been music that lyrically speaks to me. If I can have any part of that, I’d be so honored.
What do you dream about for the future of Collington?
The hardest question of all! Oh man, I’ve been super blessed to do this whole music thing and consistently be taking steps forward. If I can keep doing that, I’m honestly happy at the end of the day. When I look too far ahead, I usually get heartsick.