I just want Mickey D’s.
Brothers-turned-bandmates Caleb and Will Chapman aren’t exempt from feeling “hangry” – even if they are onstage in front of a packed audience at Common Grounds.
Nashville-based indie/rock band Colony House has come a long way since their first show outside Tennessee. Caleb and Will reminisce when half a decade ago, their sister and Baylor alum Emily Chapman invited their then-high school band to play at every Wacoan’s favorite venue.
“It was awesome, we thought we were so cool,” Caleb said. “We feel a strong connection to Waco. We love that town so much. It feels a little bit like home.”
But even with hard-hitting albums like “Only The Lonely” (no. 76 on Billboard 200) and radio-buzzing hits like “Silhouettes,” they have insecurities – and cravings for McNuggets – like everyone else.
“Sometimes it’s a fight,” Caleb said. “I always say it’s really easy to make the whole crowd your enemy. Even though there might be one person who seems disinterested in the very back who probably is interested, they just look that way to you, so you make up this whole narrative on how everyone in the room doesn’t care. So that’s the unhealthy version of what happens sometimes in my brain.”
For Will, when he gets off the bus and behind the drum kit, his “competitive spirit” comes out onstage when Colony House fights to stand out as the opening band – like in 2015 for the TOUR DE COMPADRES (with NEEDTOBREATHE, Ben Rector, Switchfoot and Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors).
“You’re trying to win people over,” Will said. “But when we’re headlining, these people, unless they were dragged in there – which is the case a lot of times – they’re usually familiar with the band and they’re here for a reason so it’s a lot more, ‘This is awesome that people are here. We’re doing this and experiencing this together.’”
“I mean, we’re brothers so when things get heated, they get really heated,” Caleb said. “But they usually end … with us being like, ‘This is dumb. We’re too old to do this. Let’s take 10 and reconvene and usually we’ll start laughing about it. Every memory is with Will. Being in a band with your brother is super fun. It probably wouldn’t be as fun for me if it wasn’t that way.”
Will kept his thoughts on brotherly brawls with Caleb short, sweet and sarcastic: “I don’t like him.”
But if any brothers could be experts on blending family with music, it’d be Caleb and Will. Since their terrible twos, the duo grew up performing with their dad, well-known Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman, whose own dad was – you guessed it – alsoa musician. The Chapman genes doubled in 2012 when Will married Christian singer and Baylor alum Jillian Edwards, who Caleb called the “local legend.”
With three kids and two wives in the picture, Caleb and Will stick faithfully to their “21-day rule” – no more than three weeks away from home (preferably no more than 14 days away from their kids Noble, Olive and Willow).
“I’ve found the more I get home, the more everyone is happy,” Caleb said. “It’s not because I’m home, but it just makes me feel healthier. So anytime we can fly home it’s always worth it.”
But being away doesn’t stop Caleb and Will from making Colony House concerts feel like home for their fans.
“I just want to make it feel like a really pleasant conversation,” Caleb said. “Or like a really great hang where you’re going over to a friend’s house and it’s just so easy. You don’t have anxiety of what you’re going to talk about next, or awkward silences. That’s what I’m always aiming for. How can we make this feel as family, and we’re all just a bunch of friends in this room even though we’re all strangers, as possible.”
Good artists are honest artists, according to Caleb. And for Colony House, including guitarist Scott Mills and bassist Parke Cottrell,honesty means faith is the foundation of it all.
“The doubts, the concerns, the highs and the lows,” Caleb said. “When we hit rock bottom, the foundation, that’s where we land. When we’re in the middle of all this madness, this is where we land. This is kind of where we plant our feet.”
But they also make sure there’s no divide between the band and their listeners.
“We want to make sure that it’s a big group hug,” Caleb said. “Everyone is welcome. For us, it happens to be our faith. So it’s gonna come out in music. So we try to be honest. And our honesty is baring everything we think and believe. We want to present that with open arms and hope that is received with open arms.”
Since a magician never tells his secrets, as Caleb put it, the most he can say about the newest album is its title, “Leave what’s lost behind.” Which means until its release sometime this year, Colony House fans will be just like Will on stage – hungry for more.
“We were very particular in wanting to make sure this album was made around what we wanted to say at the time and what we wanted it to sound like,” Caleb said. “It’s very hopeful and it is very much an inside look to the thoughts we’ve been having these past few years. It has no secrets. There’s some narrative pieces that go along with it that I won’t talk about because I want people to make up their mind what they think is going on. ‘Cause that’s way more fun.”