Since their inception, Colour Tongues have taken hits and weathered storms, both literally and figuratively, and they’re still alive to tell the story. Coming from a variety of influences and life journeys, the band has survived mountain blizzards, floods and car crashes to bring you dreamy and high-energy nostalgic rock – taking you on a journey to the 1980s and back to the present, with a stop-off in the early 2000s. The fundamentals of the music combine elements of math and progressive rock with shoe-gaze indie pop.
James Challis, Colour Tongue’s singer and guitarist is an Australian native who was in awe when introduced to Transatlanticism and Plans by Death Cab for Cutie. Inspired by the poetry and imagery in the lyrics, and the songwriting relationship between Chris Walla and Ben Gibbard, Challis was determined to form his own band.
Over the next couple of years, Challis leaned heavily into music and moved to Vancouver where he met bass player Dan Lavergne via craigslist.
At around this same time, on the other side of the country, Toronto-born David Taylor was at an impasse. The life energy of his teens and early ’20s had been sapped out of him, and he needed a change, so he quit his job, became a nurse and picked back up an old hobby: playing drums.
After starting nursing school, Taylor met his now fiancé actor and writer Meghan Hemingway, who introduced him to Challis at a party in April 2017. Challis and Taylor got on like a house on fire and shortly thereafter, Taylor was invited to join the band.
Meanwhile, guitarist Graeme Meekison was finishing high school feeling somewhat adrift. Not knowing what to do with his life, and left to noodle around on his Ibanez, Meekison started writing prog rock-inspired solo work which caught the attention of Challis (again via Craiglist). Meekison was invited to join in a jam session with the group and voila — Colour Tongues was born.
Since their joining the boys have played 60 shows in over a dozen cities, achieved radio play in most Canadian Provinces and 10 states in the US. Their February 2020 single “Control” recently capped 100,000 Spotify streams and 20,000 Youtube views, and their latest single release “Fire” had its premiere on Indie88, Toronto’s premiere Indie rock station.
When the pandemic hit, Taylor (now a Clinical Nurse Leader) was deployed to the first COVID-19 outbreak in Canada. The boys still managed to stay active though, playing a handful of live streams, and completing the recording of their debut LP, “Midnight Island”, coming out in May 2022. Colour Tongues returned to the stage with a sold-out show in Vancouver in September 2021 and were back on the road in October.
In December 2021, the boys organized “The 7 O’Clock Cheer – a celebration of BC’s healthcare workers”. The show was held at the Imperial Theatre in Vancouver and included a video address by Dr. Bonnie Henry and $2,000 raised for charity.
The band has big things planned for 2022 including festivals and a Cross Canada tour for the release of “Midnight Island”. We’ll see you soon.
# of Albums:
2 EPs, first LP coming out in May 2022 entitled “Midnight Island”
Favourite musician growing up:
For James (lead singer/guitar) – Death Cab for Cutie; For Dave (drums) – Led Zeppelin; For Dan (bass) – Nirvana; For Graeme (lead guitar) – Dream Theatre
Favourite musician now:
Foals, Queens of The Stone Age, Perfume Genius,
Guilty pleasure song:
Run with Us by Glitterwolf
Live show ritual:
Deep breath, group huddle, take the stage.
Favourite local musician:
Vancouver – Lunchtime Band
EP or LP?
Early bird or night owl?
Road or studio?
Road, then Studio, then road, then studio, ad infinitum
Any shows or albums coming up?
YES! Midnight Island, our debut LP dropped on all streaming platforms on May 19, 2022, just in time for the band’s first venture to Ontario with a string of shows.
Where can we follow you?
Rapid Fire Vancouver Qs
Favourite local restaurant:
The Breakfast Table
Favourite street in your city:
Main Street – its got it all
Favourite park in your city:
Barge Chilling Park (because it is hilarious – google it!)
Favourite music venue in your city:
Favourite music store in your city: