Colin Brittain - Sound In The Signals Interview

Acclaimed songwriter/producer, Colin Brittain has worked alongside notable producers Kato Khandwala (Blondie, Paramore), John Feldmann (5 Seconds of Summer, blink-182) and Nicholas "RAS" Furlong (5 Seconds of Summer, Papa Roach, Avicii). He most recently worked with A Day To Remember and signed to Warner Chappell Music. Check out what he told us about growing up in a musical family, what it was like working alongside John Feldmann, and how he approaches working with new musicians below.

First, thanks for the interview.

Thank you for having me!!

You just signed with Warner Chappell Music. Why did you feel this was a good fit for you and what do you hope to accomplish together?

In the past I've had a publisher that was absolutely terrible- provided no help in advancing my career and signed me as a young songwriter and artist to a more or less criminal deal. So needless to say I was very cautious about even signing again in the first place. But my sister Logan Brill is signed to WC Nashville, and had nothing but amazing things to say about them. Then I met David Goldsen,  who is my A&R rep and we hit it off immediately. He just really gets what I'm doing and my writing style, also he's a real fan of music,  and i felt like they were the people who could help me get to where I want to go.

What’s your approach as a songwriter/producer when you work with an artist? How do you suggest ideas when working with someone?

It depends on the artist, but most of the time I do my homework on their catalogue and put a picture together before meeting them. Then it's just about feeling out a vibe- where are they in their life and what do they want? Melodies have always come easy to me, so it's just about refining lyrics from there on out. Also I'd say I'm more focused on production most of the time, so it really helps if the artist already has something to say, that way I can focus on supporting their voice.

Do you find yourself co-writing or bringing entire songs to artists more?

Definitely co writing. I have brought songs to artists, but having been an artist myself I can definitely say that it's more likely they'll be stoked on an idea that is curated WITH them rather than for them.

How do you find the voice and sound for different projects?

Without being too "namaste" I'd say you just have to ride the energy flow. If something feels right,  90% of the time your instinct is correct the first time. That intuition of course takes many years to refine,  but I'm finding myself these days second guessing myself less. 

What are some of your favorite pieces of gear to use in the studio?

I LOVE Eric Valentine's company, Undertone Audio, and everything they make. Particularly their clone of the original Fairchild Limiter, (theirs is called the UnFairchild) and it's absolutely spectacular. Past that ANYTHING Chandler Limited makes, and of course Neve Designs. I just bought an API 2448 console, so that is key as well.

You’ve worked with a bunch of producers, one of which is John Feldmann. I’ve heard some really neat stories about him in the studio. Can you tell us about your experience working with him?

Working with John was a relatively brief point in my career, and one that I am very thankful for.  John is kind of like a hurricane of ideas all at once, my job was more or less to sort through them and make them come to life. He taught me how to commit and to obsess, and not to get hung up on the shit that doesn't matter and focus on the meat of the song. If I didn't have that skill I wouldn't be where I am.

Likewise, you’ve worked with some great artists like 5 Seconds Of Summer, All Time Low, Dashboard Confessional and more. Can you share some behind the scenes experiences that made an impact on you or that have stuck with you?

I met the 5SOS guys when I was working with Feldy, that was right before and during when they took off, so it was really quite interesting to see them go from literally being 18year old kids with very little experience to full out international rock stars over the course of like 5 months. That was a long time ago but I remember their fans being super crazy and hanging outside the studio till like 2 in the morning.  

You’ve talked about coming from a musical family. What are some of your favorite musical experiences from your childhood and how did they impact your adult career in music?

Christmas time at my house is amazing! We all get around a piano or fireplace and sing Elvis Costello songs, or old bluegrass tunes, and really everyone participates. My Uncle is an amazing singer, and so is my sister-  so they trade off a lot. My dad was always in various cover bands when I was growing up so I used to play drums and guitar with his bands sometimes. I'm really grateful for their support throughout my life- it really helped shape my passion and focus.

I guess that wraps it up. Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else to add?

Thank you for having me again!!! Send me a request on instagram at @docbrittain I always have some fun shit I'm getting into in the studio

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