Interview & Photos by Winnie Surya. After releasing their Ultraviolet Disguise EP, pop rock quartet from Phoenix, Arizona The Technicolors made a name for themselves on tour across America with various artists of the 8123 Family. We sat down for a chat with Brennan Smiley and Mike Nicolette about their journey thus far, as well as recording and adding Sean Silverman (former This Century member) to the band full time.
I love how you guys have been blending “Feels Like Trouble” with “This Time Around” on this tour. It sounds amazing!
Brennan: Thank you!
Nico: It was the result of wanting to play both songs but not having enough time.
Brennan: But also I did a similar thing when I played acoustic shows and “This Time Around” kind of sounds like a sequel in a way to “Feels Like Trouble”, so it worked really well.
I heard you guys only play a 25 minute set on this tour, too.
Nico: Yeah, we have to cram in as much as we can.
So it seems like this tour has been kind of a rocky one with a couple troubled mishaps along the way, with your trailer breaking down and losing some equipment, and not having a helping crew at hand. How did you guys manage through it to make it here?
Brennan: Ya you know, trouble all around.
Nico: It was rough getting into it. The second day [of the tour], our trailer fell apart when we were driving to Texas. All these things happen to every band at some point, I guess that just happened to us on this tour.
Brennan: Yeah, it was a rough start in terms of that, but the shows all have been really cool and there’s lots of venues we’ve never played before as well as people who have never heard of us before. It’s good. It just makes you focus and makes us feels like we’ve got something to prove.
So we’ve gone through some of the low points of the tour. What have been the best highlights so far?
Brennan: Honestly for me, Boston was a really great night. We’re always surprised by that city and I think the couple of shows before were… well, I don’t know if the shows were rough or not, but it seemed like the last of our problems happened right before Boston. The last thing that happened [before Boston] was that our [car] battery died at the gas station, and no one was around so we had to call AAA. No one was too bummed about it because it just seemed like one more thing onto the pile of things.
Nico: It was like ‘oh, the battery is dead? Okay then’.
Brennan: [laughs] It was kind of funny. It was like this thing where you’re like, ‘oh man is this ever going to stop?’ and then all the worry kind of went away when we got into that show in Boston. There were a lot of people that we recognized too. It was a good zone with good vibes in the room. We played to the most people of the whole tour. The other thing was that there was supposed to be a hurricane hitting around that venue that day so we were freaking out, showed up a little late… It was just one of those things that we thought was going to fall apart again but it actually came together beautifully.
Nico: And it came out together very beautifully. For me, so far, that’s been the peak of the tour… there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
After playing a bunch of shows across the states and in Canada, did you feel any difference in the crowds?
Brennan: It depends. Typically, people embrace music a little differently here [Toronto]. Overall, there are definitely some specific cities in the states that are crazy and really bring it, but overall it feels like music means something a little more or different to people here; [for instance] at shows, a lot of feedback that we get is really, really respectful and meaningful I guess. It seems like the value of music here is not more or less, but a little different. Even tonight, we got a different vibe than the last time we were here, from the first time I played in Toronto during the acoustic tour.
What’s the different between playing with full band and performing alone acoustically like you did in Brazil recently?
Brennan: That was actually supposed to be an acoustic tour but I brought my electric guitar there and played with a beat machine, and it was really fun. I’m glad I did because the crowd there was absolutely insane, in the best way. I’m glad I had my instrument too. I brought my first guitar but I didn’t play it on the tour prior to that, so it meant a lot to me that I got to bring it and there was something meaningful to me about doing that live electric thing. The excitement was equally reciprocated with the audience in a way that totally caught me off guard. It was super cool and fired me up to come back here and play with my band. It was great, it was really eye-opening.
The crowd must have been huge!
Brennan: Yeah! Even more than that, there’s just so much passion [in Brazil].
This year, there was the EP release, the tour across all of America, along with many other great things happening. Are you guys planning to release a full-length album anytime soon?
Brennan: Yeah, at some point but we’re just not sure when.
Nico: We’re in midst of writing a whole new batch of tunes and we are all really excited about it, but we don’t know whether there’s going to be another EP or a full-length record.
Brennan: Hopefully we have something new and exciting soon! Change it up a little bit maybe.
I’m a huge fan of your Ultraviolet Disguise EP, by the way. How did this one come about?
Brennan: Really interesting. We kind of went back to the drawing board with that. We wanted to try a bunch of different styles out and didn’t really have a set direction so the intention was to try some different things out and see what we liked, see what we connected to live, etc. Now we kind of know what we want to do and we’re going to be focusing on defining the sound out a little bit.
Nico: It’s still very early on for us, but we’re excited. We’re in a good place.
Ultraviolet Disguise was a line from your the song “Tonight You Are Mine.” Is there any specific meaning for the album title?
Brennan: I personally took that lyric. I wanted to name the album after it because it suggests in a sense that we were pretending and intentionally trying to wear bunch of different hats and dabbling in different styles of music.
Nico: Literally, a lot of different hats were worn.
Brennan: Yeah, especially Nico [laughs], but I think it just connected and felt right.
Sean [Silverman] used to be just an additional member to the band while touring, but now he’s gone full-time band member with you guys in The Technicolors. How did that happen?
Brennan: Just from being buddies. We like the same bands and share some big passions about the same things in life. We saw it working musically. It’s simple but it’s hard to find that.
Very cool. And he helped produce the Ultraviolet Disguise EP too, right?
Brennan: He was definitely a part of the writing and production for that EP before there was even talk of him touring and playing guitar for us, so it was just one thing that lead to another. It all happened very naturally.