Coleman Hell unexpectedly took the Canadian music scene by storm within the last few years with his own brilliant original brand of electronic dance music that combines infectious hooks, which make his songs impossible not to sing along to. His singing won’t leave your brain for months on end. Coleman’s debut record is bound to keep his success going for years to come!
Interview by Chad Thomas Carsten
From August Vandala Magazine
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If you had to choose a classic video game from your early childhood that best describes your personality, what would it be and why?
Coleman Hell: Sonic The Hedgehog! Because when I’m creating things I’m meditative. It may seem like I’m staying in one place, but then when I release it into the world it’s like an explosion, like sonic powering up and shooting forward. [Laughs] When the Sega Genesis was popular that’s really the only time I’ve played video games.
At what age did you write your very first song and can you remember what style the song was?
Coleman Hell: Probably High School like grade 9, maybe. It was probably a rap song because I used to be a rapper. I had a keyboard in my room and I would be making these beats and I was singing and rapping on them. I can’t remember the song, but yeah it was probably a rap song. [Laughs]
What exactly inspires you to keep following your musical dreams? What motivates you to keep moving forward?
Coleman Hell: I never have to become an adult if I continue to make this work as a profession. So that’s something. It’s the only thing that I really enjoy doing, truly. I have a hard time not thinking about music when I’m not writing or working on it. I have a hard time relaxing when I’m doing other things to be honest. That’s really the only thing that motivates me. Whenever I can’t do it that’s what really bums me out/slows me down, I think.
Can we dive into the real subject matter behind your hit singles “Fireproof” and “Flower Child” What inspired them?
Coleman Hell: Fireproof is kind of inspired by being in a relationship where you work through everything no matter what! You stick together through thick and through thin. My parents had a relationship like that. They’ve been together since High School and I watched that growing up. That’s what kind of love/relationship that I aspire to have in my own life. I think that’s what influenced me. That song is kind of about that. Flower Child is just about my experiences playing all these festivals. I love old music a lot. I listen to things that I would hear growing up on Classic Rock radio that I love like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, I just love old music! I’m so in love with that era and I’ve been touring around the past year and playing all these festivals and I feel like we’re living in the second coming of something like that. This new generation is going through Woodstock festival culture all over again and it’s exciting to me! It’s kind of parallels between what your parents may have experienced going to Woodstock and what kids are experiencing now. It’s similar in a lot of ways.
When can fans finally expect your first full length LP? Are you able to describe the production within the release?
Coleman Hell: It’s going to be coming out probably at the end of August. It’s sort of exploring the same sounds that are in “Two Heads” and “Fire Proof”. Just sort of taking old music that I loved growing up and trying to mash it together with electronic dance music, which is like the music that I’ve been making the last few years. It’s a modern take on an old rock or folk album. It’s like one of those records, but made with Keyboards and stuff. That’s the type of music that I was going for.
Do you have a title for the album yet?
Coleman Hell: It’s called Summerland! It’s essentially the afterlife for Witches or other Pagan religions. It’s like this place that you go to in-between reincarnations. The album is really inspired by me growing up in Northern Ontario. I recorded it in a cabin with my friends. So it’s really inspired by nature. There’s like this spiritual element running through the whole thing and it’s about finding Summer Land and going there and coming back from it. That’s kind of the narrative of the album. So that’s what it’s about. But yea, I recorded it mostly in a cabin. I rented a cabin for a month and a half and recorded everything there pretty much. I make everything on programs like Logic and Ableton with my producer LA+CH. The course of the last six to eight months we’ve been changing stuff production wise and adding little thing here and there, but most of it was recorded in that cabin.
Any stories that you’d like to share about recording in the cabin?
Coleman Hell: It really committed to the idea behind the album. We lived out there for almost two months with almost no other human contact and we started going super crazy. I had this fascination with Witchcraft and I borrowed stuff and I would have all these séances and weird things would happen when we were recording songs. Like the power would cut out and there would be all this lightning. A lot of weird spiritual things that happened while we were there. We really dived into the whole idea of the record while we were there. I think we added a little bit of magic or something to those sessions. But yea it was fun! Definitely a weird experience! But it was really cool.
What’s your main goal behind Summerland? What do you want to accomplish with the album?
Coleman Hell: I guess just to make a record that’s a classic feeling sounding record. Like I mentioned prior, the ones I loved growing up. I didn’t want it to be too many songs and I wanted it to be something that you can play from start to finish. I think it’s a really great album to just put on and listen to it all the way through. Like “Rumors” by Fleetwood Mac; that album for example. No matter what I was into, if I was listening to rap music or whatever I was listening to I could always come back to that record. I wanted to make an album that could hopefully stand the test of time and be classic in some sort of way. I guess that’s what everybody tries to do subconsciously, but that is what I was going for.
Can you reveal the album art?
Coleman Hell: Yes! I did a photo shoot with a friend of mine (We both grew up in the same place called Thunder Bay.) and I had her follow me into the wilderness outside Toronto. And I had this bonfire with a weird séance. We stayed there all night and shot a bunch of photos with these really old cameras; she uses vintage 1930’s cameras. I’m still waiting on stuff to get developed, but I think that will end up being the cover of the album, because I have to hand it in really soon! So that’s going to have to be it, I think. Keeping it old school. [Laughs]
You’ve mentioned having a lot of love for the classic rock days. If one of those artists decided to reach out to you to do an entire album; who would you want it to be?
Coleman Hell: Bruce Springsteen or Stevie Nicks. Mainly Bruce Springsteen because he inspires me. He came from New Jersey. He came from a place not a lot of people do come from. He didn’t really shy away from it and wrote a lot of stuff about Blue Collar Workers and growing up in a place like that. That’s kind of what I wanted to do with this album was re-embrace where I grew up. I’ve been in Toronto the last five years and I’ve left that stuff out of my music and recently I’ve been trying to bring it back in, because it’s like a unique thing that I think I should sing about, because it’s part of who I am. I think that’s cool that Bruce did stuff like that. So maybe do an album together that’s something along those lines.
Any advice to artists just starting out?
Coleman Hell: If you want to pursue anything, just make sure it’s what you love the most in the whole world! Don’t have it hinged on success. I’ve just been doing what I’ve been doing. I didn’t expect my song to become so popular. Maybe six or twelve months from now; maybe the whole world will stop caring about me and I’ll be back to square one. But doesn’t mean I’ll stop making music! I’m doing it because I love it! People happen to care right now and that’s great. It makes it a lot more fun and gives me a lot more freedom and opportunities, but I think you just got to be willing to do it no matter what. And that’s because I still am and I think that’s why things are working. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter, because you’re doing it because you want to do it. Make sure you’re driven by the right reasons.
Coleman Hell’s debut album will be released this summer and you can already hear some great singles from the album. Both “Flower Child’ and “Fireproof” are available for downlaod and streaming. Also be sure you have a copy of Coleman Hell’s EP with the hit song “2 Heads”. Coleman Hell is also currently on tour across Canada and select USA dates for details and more on this talented man visit the following link: