The band Collington is the brainchild of James Collington. James entered the music world in 2018 with his hit song, “Here We Go.” This song, his first single, was accepted with high praise from all types of music fans. He followed it up with his first EP In Between on which he worked with Eric Owyoung, as both a producer and mentor.
This year, James tried something new. He released a summer series of songs that he imagined and crafted himself. He let his acoustic roots influence several songs. Throughout the tracks, he blends that sound perfectly with his original alt-rock sound. His summer series has a total of four songs.
Collington sums up his satisfaction with his work in the following quote: “I’ve been super blessed to do this whole music thing and consistently be taking steps forward. If I can keep doing that, I’m honestly happy at the end of the day.” I had the chance to speak with James about Collington's new music, live shows, and so much more.
What are some of your creative influences?
This is always the hardest question to answer. It's always changing and something I'm never quite positive of myself. Writing this last song selection, I was really into The Killers—love their bass and guitar—and singer-songwriter Ben Howard to name a few.
Tell us about your recent song series.
We're putting out four songs over four months. Right now, we're three-fourths of the way through releasing the songs. For this song series, we developed the tracks over the winter of 2019 and 2020. We rented a cabin in Maine to do drums and guitars. I was able to spearhead the rest of the recording at my personal studio. It was a lot of fun.
Traditionally, I've focused on how to make tracks sound huge. This time around, I wanted to dial that back to what was essential for the songs. We led this release cycle with a song called "Against the Wall." We also released a song called "Providence"; It's the first time I've featured my wife on a track. We just did a special remix of "Providence" with producer Bill Scheniman (Bruce Springsteen/Mick Jagger) that we'll be releasing in the future. The feedback on the songs has been huge. This is, by far, the most well-received our music has been.
Tell us about your upcoming single, "Vagrant."
"Vagrant" was the hardest song to wrangle out of the new batch. It also might be one of the most simple songs out of the bunch. Lyrically, the song was a hard place for me to go to. I have a friend who says that sometimes "the painting knows more than the painter."
On "Vagrant," I was processing a lot of emotions at the time. I wasn't sure if I should share the song, but did at the encouragement of a friend; sometimes the most personal songs are the best. I recorded three versions. The final version was what I felt was the right one.
What about the song, "Beyond It"?
"Beyond It" was one of the main songs that I was defensive about not overproducing. There's a lot of studio tricks that you can do to create illusions of largeness.
I'm really stoked with how this song came out. It's mostly about me wrestling with anxiety. There was a recent season where I had a lot on my plate and my obligations were through the roof. I tried to just power through the said season and kept my eyes on the horizon instead of being present and in the moment.
I was listening to a sermon by a pastor that I follow. He said, "the common denominator with most of our problems is ourselves." The song is about hope outside of ourselves and in Jesus.
You're in a season of new music that you've fully produced for the first time. How has that changed your approach to music?
Self-producing these songs has been a lot of fun, but also really nerve-wracking. I worked with producer Eric Owyoung (Hillsong/Jon Foreman) on our last EP, In Between. A big part of working with Eric was learning how to become more self-sufficient. Working on my own music has taught me a lot about not overthinking. When you're doing your own stuff, it's so important to not overthink or else you get stuck really quickly.
As COVID-19 restrictions continue, what challenges are you facing as an artist?
We've been really blessed during this season. I've been really able to use the time well. I look forward to getting back to playing shows soon.
What's next? How can we be praying for you?
I'm currently in the process of relocating from Rhode Island to Davis, California. Writing and releasing new music. Hopefully getting back to shows soon. For the Lord's direction and provision. It's my heart to be a part of what He's doing not merely asking Him to bless what I'm doing.
Kevin McNeese started NRT in 2002 and has worked in the industry since 1999 in one form or another. He has been a fan of Christian music since 1991.
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