The Color Pharmacy's Jake Dilley: This album taps into the vein of life

The Color Pharmacy's Jake Dilley: This album taps into the vein of life
Photo by Claire Anderson

Talking with Jake Dilley of the Color Pharmacy is a bit like having five different conversations at once. The lead singer is animated and excited, answering questions about the band's new self-titled album tangentially. Although not the first official record, The Color Pharmacy is the band's first studio album. The Color Pharmacy is an album you may think you know, and yet have never heard before. It houses a portfolio of songs with silvery choruses written with beautiful surgical precision.

Apologizing for pontificating, Dilley spoke with Gimme Noise about how he's grown up since the inception of the band and what went into making the new album.

The band started when Jake was working on a college project at the University of Iowa. The singer scored an alternate soundtrack to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and liked the concept so much he did another score for the French featurette The Red Balloon. The band soon came together after that, but with the idea of being a group with revolving members. Admitting it to himself, Dilley soon realized that it was too tiring to always be calibrating new bandmates. He says, "It was fun, but it was insanely time consuming. The novelty of variety isn't always the best thing."

Jake moved to Minneapolis to begin working with a booking agency for his project with The Red Balloon, but plans for that relationship fell through. Deciding to make Minneapolis his home, Dilley teamed up with Dan Larsen and Jake Quam to round out the trio.

The group recorded themselves on previous records, but decided now was the time to get into an official studio and release an album. Although he has his own studio, which he says is not open for business, Jake chose to record the album at the Pearl Recording Studio with Zach Hollander. The Pearl is hidden away in a nondescript building in Northeast Minneapolis, housing a retro vibe and a lot of talent. Jake enlisted the help of Mark Schwandt (formerly of White Light Riot, currently of Usonia) on production.

He shares, "It was good to have a fourth set of ears outside of the group -- someone who didn't have preconceived notions and connections to the songs. We wanted someone to be able to come in and say, 'Whatever you have to this point is great, but the intro can be twice as short,' or, 'You should expand on this part.' It makes everyone a little more malleable with the whole process."

During his college days, Dilley was more into a wall of sound, but his tastes have evolved over the years. Much of what influenced the sound of The Color Pharmacy came from Jake's ability to step back and grow up a bit. Definitely the most hopeful thing the band has put out, the album is a deviation from the previous music, which was written from the perspective of being pitted against the odds.

Jake says, "I am more positive now. There was a lot of things going on in my life that weren't in my control -- that I was bound by. That's not a good situation for anyone to be in. Even if it's a job you don't like to do and you're required to be there, or family members, outside resources, relationships, it's hard to be yourself when other forces are dictating how much time is spent doing those things." The singer shares that this record was written when he stopped letting things control him. He continues, "They still have an influence, but you realize that your life is like a newspaper, and you don't have to spend so much time on one section. There are other things going on."

That change in focus has also helped Jake hone his lyrics, basing his music more on what he's been wanting to say. "The new album leaves a lot to interpretation; it's important for a listener to find something for themselves. A lot of these songs are about supernatural things -- more emotional ties and searching for others. It's also about the odd experience it is to be alive. It's a frightening and fun place to be. The album taps into the good and the bad, the intense and the calm. It's tapping into the vein of life."

The Color Pharmacy will release their self-titled album at the Triple Rock Social Club on Saturday, March 2, 2013 with Usonia and Bigtree Bonsai.
18+, $7 adv, $10 door, 9 pm

Purchase tickets here.

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