FFO: Alternative Metal, Rock
One of musicinterviewmagazine’s local albums to look for in 2020 finally has arrived with alternative metal trio Colormask’s independent release of the debut EP Into the Nest on all major streaming platforms. With five songs spanning 23 minutes, the Lindenhurst, New York-based band wastes no time delivering punchy guitar hooks, searing vocals and stellar drumming.
Into the Nest opens with “Hang Man,” highlighted by a wickedly, speedy guitar riff, followed by frontman Jimmy Busch’s vocals, which seamlessly drift from tortured to serene. The song has variance without being too distracting, along with frequent vocal pitch changes and the ability to play loudly and quietly. As a result, the music is exciting without being too distracting. Vocal melodies lead the angst-ridden “Mother Tongue,” along with some colorful guitar work acting as a chorus. Busch sounds like someone on the verge of a breakdown, while the rhythm section of bassist Mike Gillooley and drummer Jason Lerner drives tempo changes which keep this song and all others on the EP engaging and energetic. Check out the title track, performed live in Jan. 2020 at Elmhurst’s Blackthorn 51.
All three members of Colormask are in their early 20s and play with ferocity reflective of the band’s obvious passion for metal and music. Earlier this year, the group performed in the greater New York area holding their own in support of Moriah Formica of “The Voice” and 96 Bitter Beings, as well as with local favorites Born On High. Though COVID-19 is affecting Colormask for the short term, Into the Nest is a clear indication that once quarantining ends and a new normal is established, local fans will want to tap into the energy this new band brings to live shows.
Musicinterviewmagazine spoke with Colormask founder, lead vocalist and guitarist Jimmy Busch about recording Into the Nest, a love for playing live, what the future may hold for the band and more.
How did the band form?
Jimmy Busch: Colormask formed the same way I would assume most bands do. I started writing lyrics to the random riffs I would play on guitar and eventually it hit me that I wanted to start a band and put all this writing to use. After I realized that, it was all about finding the right people for the job. Snatching up Mike [Gillooley] on bass, who I also knew from an old job working at Kmart a few years ago and Jason [Lerner] on drums couldn’t have been a better choice. Jason used to play in a local band called Paradigm.
What are your musical and performance backgrounds?
I was a drummer for six or seven years before I played guitar and sang. I’m self-taught. Mike played trumpet in middle school and is self-taught on bass and mostly learns from pointers we give him. Jason took guitar lessons for six years and he plays a load of different instruments, but somehow ended up as our drummer. We couldn’t be happier.
What inspires you to write?
A lot of different things inspire our songs. From people we meet, to life experiences we’ve had, to our views on certain topics, to weird dreams, we’ll write music pertaining to just about anything we find interesting. We like to try and make our songs as catchy as possible, while also maintaining a haunting and dark edge. The reason I started playing guitar and writing lyrics was because I saw Chevelle in concert. I was right up in the front and after that I said I wanted to play guitar and write.
Being a trio is where things start to get a little tricky. On one hand we all get along great and feed off of each other’s energy and ideas, which is such an awesome thing. Since it’s just the three of us it’s easier to manage what we do creatively with our music. On the other hand, replicating our sound live is the only real challenge we’re facing at the moment. The main thing we can’t replicate live quite yet is the few lead guitar tracks scattered across the EP. But we’ll find a way.
Why not add another player and become a four-piece?
I had considered bringing on another guitarist, but the only reason I refrain from that is because I don’t want to have to play around someone else, if that makes sense. I don’t want to have to base myself off someone else or have them base themselves off of me. I find, creatively speaking, that kind of blocks me.
Where and how did you record?
We recorded at Westfall Studios in Farmingdale, New York. Recording, thankfully, was super fun and simple. We tracked all of our instruments and vocals separately. We’re so beyond happy with the final product. Anthony and Ray at Westfall did an amazing job.
How did COVID-19 have an impact on the band and your plans for a follow-up?
Our record release show was rescheduled to Jun. 21, 2020 at Revolution in Amityville. We’re hoping that the show will still safely go on. The plans for the follow up album had to be pushed way back, unfortunately, due to COVID-19. We’re hoping to take similar ideas and things we’ve learned recording Into the Nest and apply them in different, more creative ways. Things will also get a lot heavier. There will be more screaming, punchy kinds of riffs and darker lyrics.
Prior to COVID-19, you were frequently performing live?
Before COVID, the scene was so much fun. We were finally starting to get our name out there and really dive deeply into the local scene. From the smaller venues to every bar, it was always such a rush to play and the crowds were always so supportive. We can’t wait to get back to the grind.
What are your hopes for Colormask’s future?
Within the next year the follow-up LP will come out. It depends on when the lockdown gets lifted and some other factors. Our hopes are that once COVID isn’t as much of a threat anymore we can start playing shows out of state and make a name for ourselves in places in addition to Long Island. After that we’d love to get signed and make a living off doing what we love, which is making music.
For more about Colormask:
Justin Smulison is a professional content writer and producer whose first love is music. Smulison’s digital and print copywriting experience spans music, law, true crime, advertising and real estate, among other subjects. You can often find JS in Long Beach, New York, either running on the boardwalk or in the sand with his family.