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City And Colour - Interview

  by Adrian Huggins

published: 24 / 5 / 2008

City And Colour - Interview


The solo project of Dallas Green, City and and Colour has won as much acclaim as the Canadian musician's regular hardcore band, Alexisonfire. With City and Colour's second album now out, Green speaks to Adrian Huggins about both the project's albums and a highly successful recent UK tour

One of the biggest solo artists in North America of recent years has been Alexisonfire guitarist and vocalist, Dallas Green, who entered the solo spotlight in 2005 under the moniker City and Colour with the album, ‘Sometimes’. This year saw City and Colour and Dallas, who comes from St Catherine's in Ontario, release a second full length studio album, ‘Bring Me Your Love'. In contrast to Alexisonfire's fiery hardcore and emo sound, 'Sometimes' was a much more sparse affair, largely just involving Dallas and his guitar. 'Bring Me Your Love', while maintaining a spare sound, is more complete in tone than its predecessor, involving other instrumentation including a harmonica, drums, an organ and strings. Pennyblackmusic caught up with Dallas to talk about both the City and Colour albums and the progression between the two records. We spoke to him as well about City and Colour's highly successful recent UK tour and what he is expecting from its current North American tour. PB : How is the North American tour going ? DG : Well I start on Monday in Seattle. I'll do a couple of shows in America before then going up to Canada. I am looking forward to it. PB : How was the European leg of the tour ? DG: It was really good. It was my second time touring the UK with City and Colour. It went really well. The last time I toured there as City and Colour was about two years ago. PB : How was it compared to last time ? DG : It was a lot bigger. The venues were different. I was able to play a lot of different venues like churches and theatres, things like that. I’d been doing this sort of thing in Canada, so I was used to it, but it was really different from touring with Alexisonfire. It was a lot quieter. PB : I saw you play in Oran Mor in Glasgow which is an old converted church. It was a really special venue. Did you play many similar kinds of places ? DG : Yeah, I played three more churches along with a few theatres and universities, but the rest were mostly regular venues. It was really great to be able to play venues like that. It was cool to go to different venues like that where the audience is usually sitting down and there's a different vibe. PB : It seemed to be mostly dedicated, hardcore fans there. There didn’t seem to be many casual fans which made it a really special show. Were the majority of the shows full of such loyal crowds ? DG : It’s amazing to come over across the ocean and play for people and have them be so excited like that. It really makes you feel special. PB : It was a fantastic, intimate gig. The whole tour must have been really enjoyable for you. DG : Yeah, that’s the whole thing. I wanted it to be something different. I didn’t want to just do regular shows. That’s why I did half the show on my own and half the shows with a band as well. It made it a bit different. PB : Are the same band touring with you across North America ? DG : I don’t have the same guys. The band who played with me in the UK, Attack in Black, were also my support band on that tour. I have another full backing band for the American tour. PB : ‘Bring Me Your Love’ sounds a bit more complete and more full in tone compared to the first record ‘Sometimes’. Was that intentional ? DG : Yeah, the thing with the first album was it was songs that I had written along the way since I was 18 years old, so I just picked ten of the songs I had. When I put it out, we thought it was maybe just going to be for some of the kids that liked Alexisonfire, you know, something cool for them to have. We didn’t expect to do well, not that I thought people wouldn’t like it. I thought people would like it, but I didn’t think it was going to turn into its own thing. When I came round to writing the second record, I thought and felt, “Okay, I’m going actually make a record here” whereas with the first one I recorded it in two days. I simply sat and played in front of a mic with an acoustic guitar. PB : They’re both special records, very personal but you can see the development from the first one to this one. Was it a different writing process ? DG : Yeah, whereas old album was just songs I’d picked out of the entire catalogue since the beginning of me starting to writing songs, the new record was written over the last year and half while I was on the road with Alexisonfire. It wasn’t just, however, that I decided to make another City and Colour record. What happened was when I was on tour with Alexisonfire I just started writing these songs, and I just happened to come out of that tour having written around 15 songs. I think it was different also because they were all written around the same period of my life, rather than all over the place. This time I had a better idea of what I wanted over the record, like an overall feel of it. PB : It did seem more mature: DG : Yeah, I mean most of the songs I wrote on the first record I’d written as a teenager, whereas the songs on the new record I’d written when I was 26, 27 years old. I’ve been through a lot in my life since then. PB : A lot of your fans are of a similar age or just a little bit younger. Do you think that has been part of the appeal for many of your fans ? DG : I think so, and I think that’s maybe why people “get it” I mean it’s pretty honest; I’m not beating around the bush with it. I think I write about normal, everyday sort of problems that I’m going through and think that’s why people relate to it. PB : You collaborate with Gord Downie from the Tragically Hip on one of the tracks, ‘Sleeping Sickness’, on 'Bring Me Your Love'. How did that come about ? DG : I just called him (Laughs. I just got his number from his management and just said, “Hey Gord, do you want to sing a song with me ?”, and he said, “Yes”. PB : Was it something you’d written and thought would be perfect for him then ? DG : Yeah, I’d sort of been writing it my whole life, not really knowing exactly where to go with it, and I finally figured out where to go with it and was happy with it. And I’d been listening to the Tragically Hip a lot and I’d heard his voice and thought it would fit really well. He’s got a great voice. You always know it’s him. PB : Were people surprised by the collaboration ? The Tragically Hip and Alexisonfire are not two bands you’d usually associate with each other. DG : Yeah, especially in Canada I don’t think people saw it coming, but that’s part of the cool thing about it. It’s definitely part of the appeal. PB : I interviewed you with Alexisonfire around 18 months ago and recall you saying one thing you’d love one day was play Massey Hall with City and Colour (a 2700 seat well-known hall in Toronto-Ed). I see you’re not only playing it, but are playing two nights in a row, with one night sold out already. How does that feeling then ? DG : Yeah (Laughs), I’m pretty…I don’t think it’s really hit me yet and don’t think it will until I walk in those doors and I’m playing. I think both shows have sold out now, so I’m really nervous, based on the fact it’s something I’ve always really wanted to do, and now I get to do it two times! I guess I don’t really have an opinion on it yet because it’s not really sunk in just yet, but I think when I walk and hop on the stage it’ll be like, “Wow I’m actually doing this” PB : Are you planning anything special for it?: DG : Well I think the Tragically Hip are going be recording around that time in Toronto, so, if Gord’s able to, he’s going to come and sing with me, but other than that I just plan on playing really well and hope people really dig it. PB : So where next then ? DG : I really don’t know, maybe three nights in a row! I don’t know. I just want to write more good songs. PB : What do you have planned with Alexisonfire? Are you going to be out on the road with them any time soon ?: DG : Yeah, Wade (MacNeil, Alexisonfire guitarist and vocalist-Ed)and his project, Black Lungs, are actually coming on the tour with me. They’ll be opening the North American tour. Then after than when we get home we’re going to start writing together with the band, and we’re going to be coming over and playing Reading and Leeds festival and then Wade’s going to be doing some solo shows while we’re over. I’m hopefully going to be doing some more solo shows towards the end of the year . Hopefully we’ll have a new Alexisonfire record by the middle of next year. And then it will all starts again yeah. We’ll be over in the UK as we love playing there the most. PB : Thank you.

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City And Colour - Interview

City And Colour - Interview

City And Colour - Interview

City And Colour - Interview

City And Colour - Interview

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live reviews

Oran Mor, Glasgow, 5/4/2008
City And Colour - Oran Mor, Glasgow, 5/4/2008
In the fine surroundings of Glasgow's Oran Mar, Adrian Huggins watches City and Colour, the side solo project of Alexisonfire's Dallas Green, play a humorously intimate and in every respect perfect gig


Guide Me Back Home (2018)
Beautiflly recorded and intimate double CD live album from City And Colour, the project of Canadian vocalist/guitarist Dallas Green
Bring Me Your Love (2008)
Live (2007)
Save Your Scissors (2006)

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