Here at The Style Con, we love covers, whether it’s Chromatic’s rendition of The Boss’ “I’m On Fire” or The Glee Cast gettin’ all kinds of sparkly with Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” There’s a wonderful flexibility watching a musician reimagine a song, making it their own. So when we found out Frenchkiss Records was releasing an album of covers (Under The Covers, out today) featuring bands like Drowners, Tripwires and Tweens, we needed to get the scoop. Right away, Colin Caulfield’s cover of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” floored us. The song of 2013 has been smoothed out, stretched, deepened into what could be the new track of 2014.
We sat down with Caulfield to talk about Drake, the visual album and catharsis in writing.
The Style Con: Is it a stressful experience creating a cover? Do you have to think about whether the original artist would accept it, or do you just need to clear that from your mind completely?
Colin Caulfield: I almost never consider what the original artist would think until after the song is completed, but I do try to convey a similar emotion or quality. This Drake cover was a little stressful because the first couple versions sounded so loungey. In a pretty embarrassing way actually. Generally, I can sing a particular way and build the song around that mood, but the melody from “Hold On” is so velvety and smooth … without the right music behind it, the song feels overly cheesy.
If you had five words to explain your cover to Drake, personally, what would those five words be?
Haha, that’s kind of difficult actually.. Lo-fi, groove, retro, conga, licks.
Aside from your track, do you have any other favorites from Nothing Was The Same?
Yeah it’s one of my favorites from last year. I’m a big fan of “Too Much” ( and “From Time” . Both those songs have such great, emotional hooks and Drake weaves in and out of them so seamlessly. With Drake, I usually prefer his emotional, lush tracks.
How did you get involved in the Under The Covers project?
I released a bunch of music on Frenchkiss via my last project, Young Man, and I’m still really close with all of them. They usually come to me with little projects like this because I can do everything in my bedroom at a moment’s notice.
You’re a rather prolific musician, with Young man having produced an album a year, along with working your various side projects. How do you find the time?
Avoid getting a 9-5 job for as long as possible. But really, I feel like I could be a lot more productive. I think there’s such a thing as creative exhaustion, but I don’t believe I’ve really, really pushed myself just yet.
Young Man had a good deal of music videos. Be honest, did Beyonce jack your idea for a visual album?
Haha absolutely not. Her new album is pretty much all I listen to currently however. “Rocket” blew my mind when I heard it.
What can we expect from Colin Caulfield in 2014?
I hope to put something out this year. I’ve written a ton of songs and have just recently seen a glimmer of what my next music might sound like. I’ve been listening to Arca’s &&&& a lot and it’s really inspired me to work with more interesting sounds. I’m also living in Brooklyn now, playing in different projects and developing my chops.
How’s your current work different from Young Man and other projects you’ve worked on?
I’m trying to make something that is fundamentally different. Young Man was a collection of mostly beautiful songs in terms of songwriting, performance, emotion, and production. I want to retain beauty in the emotional quality of the song, but I want to fuck up my sound. Ugly sound that nonetheless moves people is really appealing to me.
With so much writing, does the experience of writing still have the impact for you it did when you first started? Is catharsis attached to your writing?
I still sit down and get lost in a song, but after releasing so much stuff and really taking a look at the business side of music, I’m a little jaded. I take making music really seriously – I want to make something amazing that will reach a lot of people. That means a different approach than when I started writing little songs in my dorm room. But the process of completing a song and seeing how I’ve progressed is one of the best feelings.