A Chat with Colorfuzz (06.10.21)

The solo project of multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Kyle Merritts, Colorfuzz is a blast of pop with psychedelic undertones. Adopting a DIY approach to production, Merrits completes his music in his home studio (his bedroom) recording vocals and playing all of the instruments. We speak with Colorfuzz about his new album Digital Delays, musical influences and favourite smells.

OSR: How did Colorfuzz come about?

Colorfuzz: Well, it was towards the end of my senior year of high school that I began wanting to make an album that had a psychedelic rock/pop vibe to it since all the bands I was listening to at the time were just that.  At first, I wanted to embark on this project with one of my bands that I was a part of at the time, but none of them had the same vision or interest as me in creating this style of music.  I thought at first all hope was lost, but seeing that the many people I was listening to at the time were all indie and did everything by themselves I just thought, “sure, why not give it a shot by myself”. I began to buy up equipment and started teaching myself how to do everything.

OSR: How did you choose the name Colorfuzz?

Colorfuzz: Hahaha, so the name Colorfuzz came around when I used to take very long walks around my neighbourhood and listen to my own rough mixes and compare them to other bands’ songs on Spotify.  One day, I remember noticing how much fuzz I put on the guitar in one of my mixes and also how bright the overall mastered track was.  Despite it not sounding good, I thought it sounded very fuzzy and colourful (like many of my other early takes) and I simply put the two together and came up with Colorfuzz.  I think it suits me and my style quite nicely.

OSR: How does releasing music as a solo artist compare to performing with bands?

Colorfuzz: I would say that releasing music by myself was much more stressful than performing with my bands, but it did come with some interesting and rewarding qualities.  When performing with my bands, we are all experts or at least pretty good on our instruments which allows for the opportunities to be basically endless when it comes to performing songs or jamming.  All eyes are on the band and not just you, and as a band, we are working as a unit to provide the best music that we can so there is a shared liability. 

As a solo artist, every single thing is on you for whatever happens to your music or for how good your music is or isn’t.  If something sounds off or an instrument sounds bad, there’s no one else to blame except you and all criticism is all on you.  It’s truly made me much more sympathetic to beginning solo artists like me and my heart goes out to all those small artists that perform, mix and master all their music by themselves.  However, when something does go right and someone likes your music, then you really feel great since you know that you did everything and you made one stranger really happy all by yourself.  When you get more fans and such, it begins to feel really cool since they’re here all for you and your music you 100% did by yourself. 

OSR: Who would you say are your influences?

Colorfuzz: Ooooo, this is going to be interesting.  Well, I kind of have two different categories for influences, one that influences my bass playing and the other that influences my songwriting.  For my bass playing, I am hugely inspired by John Paul Jones, John Entwistle, James Jamerson, Dee Murray and a little of Roger Waters.  For my songwriting, I tend to be inspired by MGMT, Tame Impala, Temples, Pink Floyd, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and countless smaller indie acts that I listen to. 

OSR: What can you tell us about your album Digital Delay?

Colorfuzz: So the idea behind Digital Delays was that it was supposed to be about coming of age and growing up as well as breaking free and trying new things.  Not only that, but it also had many other sub-messages alongside songs that really carry a message but just fitted the vibe and I thought were cool.  This album was truly made for anyone to enjoy and interpret, but I mostly wrote it with the intent of the music, synth layers and the mixing/mastering “tricks” being the main point rather than the message.  Sure, you can derive something out of songs and an overarching meaning, but I truly meant it so that anyone can tune in and enjoy the album and interpret it however they wanted. 

OSR: What inspired the album?

Colorfuzz: What really inspired the album was listening to a bunch of MGMT and seeing how two guys just wanted to make pop songs as a joke. I found that really cool since I felt the same way about pop songs at the time and I would joke around with pop chord progressions.  Not only that, but hearing all the different cool effects bands like MGMT, Tame Impala, Pink Floyd would do throughout their songs inspired me to do a psychedelic themed album that also used a bunch of mastering effects and such. 

OSR: Do you have a favourite and least favourite track on Digital Delays?

Colorfuzz: My most favourite track would have to be ‘Star Trippin Loner’ just due to the fact that I really enjoyed singing that song and also the vibes it gives off while walking at night and looking at the stars.  I think it offered the best overall sound and quality out of all the songs and everything went the way I intended it to go while making the song.  Not only that, but it was also the last song I recorded for Digital Delays, so I have a soft spot for it. 

My least favourite song would probably have to be ‘Dual Fantasy’ since it could have been so much more polished and for some reason, it sounds like some of the effects got messed up on the vocals so I wasn’t too happy with that either.  But I did have the most fun while making ‘Dual Fantasy’, so I guess that’s its only positive remark. 

OSR: If you could change one thing about the album, what would it be?

Colorfuzz: Hands down, I would probably do just a bit better mastering and redo some vocals since I have gotten a lot better at both. I did make this album with the intent of not making it too polished so I would probably only adjust the mastering, singing, and few more other things and I would be happy.

OSR: This is a completely DIY album, so what challenges did you face when learning how to play new instruments and produce music?

Colorfuzz: Well, my biggest challenge was mastering the album so it would sound completely normal within a playlist and alongside other songs on any streaming platform. This meant making sure that the songs were loud enough (but not too loud), EQed well and compressed well. The easiest part was doing all the instrumental recordings since that’s what I was used to the most. The hardest instruments to record were probably the drums and the vocals since those were the newest instruments for me and I had to find my voice or what I thought was to be my voice. Despite that, most of my time was spent learning how to properly mix and master to a point where my music would sound at least decent when it would be released. 

OSR: What is your favourite smell?

Colorfuzz: Hahaha, might be weird but I DEFINITELY know people will agree with me, but my favourite smell is gasoline. Call me weird, I don’t care, gasoline just smells really good.

OSR: What is your earliest memory?

Colorfuzz: My earliest memory was when I was young and I was waddling around my kitchen and I remember seeing my dad working on the sink. I had no clue what his goal was, but I just remember seeing him underneath the sink while I just looked onward at what he was doing. 

OSR: What else can we expect from Colorfuzz in the future?

Colorfuzz: Hmmm, I have begun working on some brand new songs and I am picking up a couple more instruments to add to my arsenal of musical gear. I will probably release a single in the near future that I would say has a Digital Delays type vibe but is more upgraded and polished. However, I do plan to start working on ideas for another album in the near future as well, it’s just a matter of what vibe I am going for this time around. I am still going to keep the psychedelic vibes from Digital Delays, but the songwriting/production is going to be a couple of steps up from Digital Delays. 

I also plan to do some gigging here and there with my music once I get some breaks from college and stuff, but everything is a little bit of a mystery.  If anything, I’ll most likely let people know stuff and give teasers out on my Instagram.  But yea, thanks for the interview!     

Many thanks to Kyle Merritts for speaking with us. For more from Colorfuzz check out his Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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