The Be Colony’s population is on the rise.
The quintet of Atticus Sorrell, Jacob Terhune, Bray Coughlin, Zac Terhune, and Wes Johnson released Mystic Morning in 2016, followed by The Be Colony in 2019 and Be II in 2020.
The band will release Be III on Aug. 4, but this record will be a departure as Zac Terhune and Johnson have stepped aside. Undeterred, the remaining members marched on, creating something completely new.
“We were trying to figure out, ‘OK, what are we doing? Do we release an EP and the original Colony stuff that has been recorded?’ or do we say, ‘Screw it (and have new stuff)?,’ because we already had a rough idea of stuff we wanted to put on the album, but it hadn’t been recorded,” Sorrell said.
Well, they did a little of both for an eclectic mix of 10 tracks. While they have a string of shows slated for Wisconsin, Indianapolis, and Grand Rapids, you’ll be able to hear some of those new songs when they perform during Hop River Brewing Company’s Live from the Patio Concert Series at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, with The Namby Pamby.
Little help from their friends
The Be Colony
w/The Namby Pamby
7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18
Hop River Brewing Company
1515 N. Harrison St., Fort Wayne
No cover · (260) 739-3931
Following the release of Be II, Sorrell had a mix of songs he recorded as a solo project, feeling they were a bit of a departure from the band’s sound.
“As soon as we dropped Be II, we started working on Be III,” Sorrell said. “It just so happened that I booked (studio) time with Jason (Davis at Off the Cuff) to record the solo album, so that pushed some stuff back.”
Once his self-titled debut solo album was released in August 2022, his attention turned back to his band … or what was left of it.
“We couldn’t do anything for months, because we were like, ‘Oh crap, we have to find some different guys,’ ” Sorrell said of Zac Terhune and Johnson’s departure. “They were able to come in and record a couple more things.”
Along with the former members stepping in for a couple tracks, the band were able to call on more than a few friends from the local music community. Nine, in fact.
“Since the original band kind of dissolved, we figured we’d collaborate with a bunch of people for this album,” Sorrell said. “That’s why there’s a whole bunch of people on this record. So, it has the original five, plus Chandler (Cashdollar), plus Weston (Bradigan). You have Peter Klopfenstein, the piano player, Evan Stuerzenberger singing harmonies, McKenna (Parks) sings harmonies. Our friend CP (Sturtevant) sings harmonies.
“We were like, ‘Screw it. Since the old band has dissolved, we don’t have any rules anymore. Let’s just invite whomever in the heck we want to play on this record. So, one it gets done and we also explore different sounds.’
“We don’t have the old sound anymore, so we might as well celebrate the fact we can do a lot of new-sounding stuff,” Sorrell said.
Logan Weber also steps in on saxophone, Ed Renz supplies some flute, and hip-hop artist Jagua even drops in on the single, “If You See It Through,” now on streaming services.
‘Bread and butter’
From the start of “If You See It Through,” you know Be III is gonna be something new. The United Kingdom native’s rapping only reinforces it.
“Be III is super weird,” Sorrell said. “There’s a bunch of very original Be Colony-sounding songs, because the original Be Colony is on it — straight-ahead rock n’ roll, psychedelic, a little funky. Then we have some funky songs that are more funk than rock. Then we have a couple weird, jazzy, Radiohead-kind of songs with weird jazz chords, but synthesizers and very Thom Yorke-style vocals.”
There’s also a couple instrumentals, that just felt right to Sorrell.
“I’d say it’s the best music we’ve ever written,” he said of the album. “It’s the most adventurous, lyrically mature. We have a bunch of instrumentals, which we’re really into now, as far as instrumental bands, so we wanted to showcase that.”
And for those fans of the tried-and-true Be Colony formula, don’t fret.
“The core, rock n’ roll part of The Be Colony is my bread and butter,” Sorrell said.
Expect the unexpected
That sludgy, early ’70s rock sound might be the band’s bread and butter, but no one is gonna turn away a little jam or honey on a butter sandwich to sweeten it up.
“It’s classic rock, but it’s a little funky, a little jazzy, a little alternative,” Sorrell said. “This is also the first time we feature rappers. We are a rock band, but we love all different types of music. We were kind of getting tired of getting pegged into the, ‘OK, so you play sludgy psych rock.’ ‘Yeah, but we like to play other stuff.’ We sort of wanted to break that mold, so people don’t really know what to expect.
“We wanted to make sure this album was a sort of departure and showcase, ‘We’re still the old Be Colony you love. We’re still going to play dirty ol’ sludge psych rock, but we’re also going to be doing this other stuff.’ It was really stressful at the beginning, but it became really freeing and fun in the long run. It kinda just took all the rules out of it.”
And using a home studio meant the guys could record at their pace, meaning they could have friends stop by, jam, and maybe even record.
“It was like, ‘It’s super fun playing music with you and we have this home studio so we can record for free. Why don’t we spool up some tape and hit the big red button and see what happens?’” Sorrell said.
What happened is the band’s most adventurous album, breaking barriers and genres.
“We weren’t even really trying to change everything up,” Sorrell said. “It was just the perfect storm of people leaving, us deciding to collab with a bunch of different people. It sounds like fun, and it was fun. It made the recording process way more creative, way more spontaneous.
“It was unintentionally pushing boundaries.”
So, what’s next for The Be Colony?
“We have a couple songs,” Sorrell said.