The music industry has historically been on the forefront of technology, adapting quickly to be able to provide fresher, better songs to its hungry audience. In light of the tumultuous past year, making music has shifted online in a way never possible before, allowing people to collaborate cross-country, virtually (yes, pun intended) anywhere, anytime.
A poster-child-worthy example of this change is the newly-established band Copperstone. Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA—but also Richmond, VA, the band partners with a studio in Los Angeles for much of their work, and they have successfully made the most of the obstacles being so spread out can pose for them.
Inspired by late 90’s through early 2000s rock, their sound is cheerful, refreshing, and heartfelt, vintage in a comforting way while retaining an innovative edge. The personal nature of their music likely derives from their long history together; the members met in college and have kept in touch since, music being a uniting factor between them.
Since their formation last year, they have wasted no time sharing their projects with the world, and they have had no shortage of material. Two singles led up to their November 5th debut album Vinyl, one of which they also shot a music video for.
And this is just the beginning: the band has another album’s worth of music they plan on phasing out over the course of the year. Clearly, the distance has not held them back.
Copperstone effortlessly transports their listeners to early in the millennia. “Partner in Crime,” opening track of Vinyl and soon-to-be released as an acoustic single, is similar to We the Kings’ “Check Yes, Juliet.” Other tracks from the album, particularly “The Race,” are almost more like American Idiot-era Green Day. They have the best of both worlds: a throwback sound that connects with their listeners created with modern tools that allow them to express their ideas no matter where they are.
We had a chance to get to know them better, including how a six-year-old helped them write one of their catchiest songs.
So how did you all meet and decide to start making music together?
Believe it or not, we have been playing off and on together for well over a decade. Starting our freshmen year of college, we just randomly started playing together with the goal to party and have fun, and it has carried on over the years through the different bands, cover bands, and solo/side projects that we’ve been a part of. We’ve had so much fun over the years, that we had to continue to find ways to keep playing despite being hundreds of miles apart.
Could you elaborate on what you mean when you say you are a “virtual collaboration of music for fans”?
Absolutely! We truly are a virtual collaboration since half of us are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the other half in Richmond, Virginia, with the studio we work with being in Los Angeles. Being so spread out in addition to the pandemic has forced us to get creative in how we write, play, and record, but the virtual aspect has been amazing. Decades ago bands would collaborate by sending tapes via mail or over the phone. Now, we are sending tracks instantly and getting together over Zoom.
What does the songwriting process look like for you and your bandmates?
Even though most of our songs are written by our lead singer, Chris Buchanan, our process is truly collaborative. Each of us has a home recording studio and are constantly recording ideas and sending them back and forth virtually. The remote aspect does provide some challenge, as there is no immediate feedback, however it also allows us to devote a lot of time to perfecting the parts layered on top of the original idea. We are very fortunate that we all have similar visions for what we want to create.
What messages or feelings do you hope to convey through your music?
Hope. Happiness. Change. Feelings of self-reflection. We tend to write in an eclectic style of whatever we may be feeling when the moment of creativity hits, but ultimately we lean towards a journey that embraces positivity. So many songs today revolve around your typical clichés that we hope our audience connects with the more substantive and personal approach we try to take.
What is one of your favorite stories from your debut album Vinyl, either within the lyrics or from creating it?
Our favorite story is definitely how we created the song “Bye Bye”. One night, Chris was playing around, strumming the chords for what would become the song, when his six-year-old son walked in and just started singing “Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye” to the rhythm. It was super catchy. We would eventually write the rest of the song around it and even included him singing at the end! Every time someone listens to the song we hope they know there is a little guy out there, smiling ear to ear thinking he is the next David Bowie…
You have a music video for your single, “Bye Bye.” How was it different visualizing the meaning of the song from expressing it sonically?
Since the song was sort of an accident, it was somewhat difficult to visualize and differentiate, but we were very lucky to work with the team we did. In the end we really tried to embrace the message of positive change we feel the song reflects and the video does a great job hitting on that.
You described yourselves as “hobbyist musicians.” What else besides music do you like to engage in, either as a band or as individuals?
Anything active and/or outdoors. Our lead guitarist, Brian Taylor, is an avid off-roader and attacks some pretty cool terrain. In fact, we may have to use some of his exploits in our future music videos….
Tell us about the new music you’ve been working on that you’re hoping to release around Memorial Day.
We have a song we are excited about coming out this Memorial Day called “Pontoon Ride”. It is actually an older song we wrote and played in college however with the help of our youngest band member (and co-writer of “Bye Bye”) we changed the lyrics and fine-tuned it a bit. It’s funky, upbeat, and a perfect summer song!
Assuming you’ll be able to play live shows again soon-ish, what might an ideal performance look like for you?
Opening up for Motley Crüe! Oh wait you said ideal, not fantasy…..We’ve been fortunate over the years to have played in places from local dive bars to opening up for legendary acts, and try to approach each show as if it were our last. Regardless of place or crowd size, we are just excited as the prospect of bringing that energy back out to the world again!
And what else do you have planned for the rest of the year that fans can look forward to?
We have about an album’s worth of new songs either finished or in post-production that we will be releasing throughout the year starting this month with a great acoustic version of our song “Partner in Crime”. We encourage everyone to follow us on social media @copperstoneband and head over to www.copperstonemusic.com to stay up to date on upcoming shows and releases!