The Cold Start
Review + Interview
29 October 2013
By Meghan Kearney
The Cold Start, made up of Lloyd Williams (Vocals, Guitar, Piano), Nicholas Taylor (Guitar), Daniel Smith (Bass) and Adam Cardy (Drums) have been on the move, in more ways than one. Originally from London, the four-piece relocated to Los Angeles after signing to a new management company and have since taken over their project independently in Orlando, Florida. Their new six-track record “Grateful Eyes” was a “labor of love,” says frontman Lloyd. “We took our time with it and wanted it to be the best music we’ve put out yet, as songwriters and on a sonic production level, and I think we achieved it. We’re all very proud of this record,” he adds.
The opening track “My Dear” is a beautiful showcase of what The Cold Start has to offer. Their combination of pop power fronted by piano, with a hint of subtle strings, is reminiscent of early 2000s “piano rock” groups like Something Corporate. But these guys take on the genre in a whole new way. Rather than trying to resuscitate life into it, The Cold Start reclaims and rebirths the sound as their own. Keys and vocals are much more melodic and mature – sounds you might compare to Nada Surf or the polished vocals of Dean Stafford from Austin, Texas’ Pompeii.
“Oh, Hello” is an explosive ballad, mixed between a powerful chorus of hard hitting keys and drums with more mellow verses highlighting Lloyd’s inspirational vocals. “Perfect Timing” slows things down a bit. While still clenching to their band’s explosiveness, it is softer here, and carried by guitar riffs rather than keys. Echoed backing vocals lift Lloyd’s voice to another level, all blending seamlessly with the music. The record closes with “A Different Voice” a track that really showcases The Cold Start’s perfect incorporation of piano into their music. This track begins as a piano/vocal driven ballad that slowly introduces guitar before exploding into the albums dramatic closing. More echoed vocals and a powerhouse of drums feel like a finale of fireworks.
The hard work, completely DIY, put into this record is obvious. If you have a soft spot for piano rock, or bands that make you feel nostalgic for the music you loved ten years ago, but faced forward, The Cold Start is for you.
TCS: My name is Lloyd and I sing, play guitar and piano in The Cold Start. Present is the rest of the band, Nick (lead guitar), Dan (bass) and Adam (drums)
Tell us a little about how you formed the band.
We formed the band more or less from the ashes of a band me, Dan and Adam played in before, The Don Ramos Players. It was a melodic punk rock band, and after that came to an end we decided to form something different based on some demos I had written and recorded that had a different sound. We asked Nick to join on 2nd guitar and we became The Cold Start in late 2011.
You guys seem to be a completely DIY band. What is it like having almost complete control over what you do with your music and what have been your biggest challenges or successes?
Well, we started out completely DIY in our old band, but when the opportunity to move to the US came about, it was with the support and help of our old management company who were based out of LA, which is where we moved to.
After choosing to leave our management at the beginning of this year, we absolutely became DIY again.
Having control over what we then went on to do was daunting at first, having had support from various areas of the business to guide us on our way, but it didn’t take long to sink our teeth into dealing with the business and creative side of things again. Using old contacts and also new ones to keep on going and utilising everything we had/have to become more decisive and creative with everything we do.
We recorded and produced our new record entirely ourselves, and financed our new video that came out a couple of weeks ago as well, so it can all be done, with the right game plan..
Would you say this is a strategy you hope to continue with – or are you hoping to eventually join a label either indie or major?
For now this is a strategy we are enjoying, but as things have gotten better for us over the last 5 months, people have come knocking on our door so to speak. We signed a licensing deal at the beginning of September, and we are currently entertaining ideas of new management, labels and agents for the future. Something that is all very exciting for us right now. It feels good to be recognised and we’ve worked non-stop since February to make sure it all happens the way we want it to. We’d be happy to be backed by a label who loves us and our music. It’s all part of widening our horizons, and that’s what we are trying to figure out right now.
You’ve described your sound as “indie/pop/pop/indie.” Did you as a band actively choose to head in this direction or would you say you’ve always been influenced by this type of sound in your musical careers? Who are some of your biggest influences?
In terms of our sound and genre, well, we’ve never in the past had to think too hard about it. But now, we are always asked specifically by those who haven’t heard us what we sound like and who we could compare our sound to. Indie pop seems to be a good definition of where we are right now. Dynamically you could put rock in there as well, but how many genres can we cross!
We did actively stay on a track that we wanted, that we knew would connect with all ages and listeners, but we are definitely writing music that we all love playing passionately. It took a while to adapt but now it flows so easily, from the writing process to playing live, which we enjoy massively.
I think you can’t help but absorb the music you hear around you, be it something a friend says ‘check this out’ or driving in the car listening to the radio. We take it all in, still enjoy all types of music and take note of everything that does well and becomes popular, and also that doesn’t. It helps us become a better band.
Your song “Dance Our Lives Away” was recently featured on the show The Tomorrow People – how did this opportunity come about and how will/did you all celebrate the episode airing?
Our first TV placement was a big deal for us. The song in particular was actually an unreleased track that never made it onto either of our records. We got a phone call from licensing that Warner Brothers wanted to use it above a bunch of others on their new show for about a minute and we said absolutely.
Some consider such things to be uncool, but it is a huge step in getting us heard, and that’s all we want. To be heard and enjoyed, and for people to then want more, and we’re taking every opportunity we can to do so.
We watched the show last night with a bottle of cheap champagne and Halloween cupcakes. We enjoyed it!
What made you decide to relocate from England to Los Angeles? From Los Angeles to Orlando?
The relocation was more or less as I mentioned above. Longer story short, some acquaintances heard some of my demos and heard the potential. We signed to a management company in LA shortly after, and with our life savings, moved to California for a year. After doing what we could with our time and finances, learning from some bad mistakes, we left our management and moved to the east coast. Florida to be specific, with the hope of using it as a new base to achieve new fans and friends and gain the success that we did in California, but on this side of the country, and so far, it’s worked out amazingly well for us, despite having a few doubts at first.
It’s so tough to compare the music scenes, yet so easy! Back home, we had our own close knit punk rock community, and as soon as we became The Cold Start, we left the UK, so didn’t have a chance to explore what route we would have taken in the scene that our music would have fit into there.
LA was crazy. You have the super cool hipster bands who sell out tiny venues in areas like Los Feliz and Silverlake and also bands who are still playing rock like its 1982 on the sunset strip. We tried to find the middle ground!
Here in Florida, it’s also a different mix. There are some incredible indie bands here who play once every so often, and there is still a heavy post-hardcore influence with some of the rock bands. We are finding that great bands here play few and far between so as not to oversaturate the local audience (again we are finding the middle ground for our live schedule)
We’ve gained our audience here well and have been wonderfully received and we are very grateful for that. I think we’ll be sticking around these parts at least until the beginning of next year. But the exciting thing is that we just don’t know, but hopefully we’ll tour at least very soon. Every day we talk to someone new in a new city, about new opportunities and you never know what’s around the corner or where we’ll be headed next.
Your six-track album Grateful Eyes is out now – what can we expect next from The Cold Start?
Our new record Grateful Eyes was such a labour of love. We took our time with it and wanted it to be the best music we’ve put out yet, as songwriters and on a sonic production level, and I think we achieved it. We’re all very proud of this record and we’ll be promoting it, making a few more videos and working hard to make sure as many people listen to it as possible for the foreseeable.
We rarely ever stop writing, so who knows, if say in a couple of months we had another set of songs we thought were great, we might get going on record number 3 sooner than we predict right now.
It’s always day by day here, and so far its working out very nicely.