Through a thick blanket of hazy shoegaze and dream pop melodies alongside subtle hints of noise rock aggression, Saint John musician Colin Ferris’ solo debut is a testament to his versatility as a writer and performer.
Colin Ferris crafts rich, dreamy, guitar driven pop songs. Through a thick blanket of hazy shoegaze and dream pop melodies alongside subtle hints of noise rock aggression, Ferris is a master at creating space for those who like nothing more than to lose themselves in a cloud of loud, deep, dense melody.
But Ferris is far from being a one trick pony. Over the past several years he has contributed guitar, drums, bass, and vocals to a long list of Saint John projects including Butcher, Sheik, and most recently, Doctor Mother Father, the first major solo effort from engineer, musician, and Monopolized Records founder Corey Bonnevie.
With his latest project, Cool Dudes Fighting, Ferris shares a handful of song ideas he has been sitting on for a while. That said, Cool Dudes Fighting sounds as fresh and full of intent as if these four songs were written in 2022.
“I had a couple of these riffs written a couple years ago, but felt they didn’t fit with any project I’m in, so this project was made to give my songs a home,” said Ferris.
Ferris credits the project’s name to an earlier Saint John band called Kinsmen.
“They had a song in their set called CDF, which is what they nicknamed me based on my initials,” he said. “The thing was, when they were asked what CDF stood for, they said it was Cool Dudes Fighting. Now, about ten-ish years later I’m still close with some of those band members. The name just goes out to the memories of those times.”
Had it not been for Bonnevie, the four songs that make up this EP might still exist as scattered riffs and homeless ideas. Cool Dudes Fighting is Ferris, true and through. He did all the writing and played all the instruments. But that is where the solo aspect of this project ends. With the support of Bonnevie as engineer and a big inspiration for Ferris to give these songs a proper home, Cool Dudes Fighting has become the latest in a long line of Saint John recordings that could not have happened anywhere else but within that city’s supportive scene.
“In 2020, Corey asked Kortni [Nicols] and myself to play with him in Doctor Mother Father,” said Ferris. “Corey first offered his audio engineering services as a thank you for joining Doctor Mother Father and learning his songs. I thought I would like to do a solo EP similar to how Corey did the first Doctor Mother Father album. I’ve played drums, guitar and bass for bands and I’ve sung over my own songs before, so trying to do it all alone instrumentally was a challenge I wanted to tackle.”
The EP’s opening tracks, Don’t and Mrs. Kasha Davis, set the tone for this concise collection, working more as two parts of a whole than as two individual songs despite sharing a combined running time of just over two minutes. Combining everything Ferris is known for in terms of his sense of melody and the way his vocals bleed into the wall of noise he creates, this quick two punch progression gives way to the subdued hammer-on lead line and head nodding swagger of Swear. Swear provides the EP’s break in density and volume before an extended decay, slowly washes its way into the final song, Sea, where every hulking tone on Cool Dudes Fighting finds a fitting summary.
“I don’t expect Cool Dudes Fighting to ever become a live project,” said Ferris. “I like knowing I have a place to just write and release songs as I please.”
Ferris credits the supportive local music scene for helping out with various aspects of this project, tipping his hat to several familiar names including several of his current and former bandmates like Kortni Nicols, Lorne Kirkpatrick, Mike Plagenz, and Cole Savoie.
“I personally believe that a scene that lifts each other up and supports each other will always be stronger than a divided one. It’s also exciting to have friends that are super talented and driven and motivated in the same fields. I want the absolute best for my friends. Who doesn’t? They all deserve success with what they do.
“Most importantly, I want to thank Corey Bonnevie and Monopolized because this wouldn’t exist without them,” he said. “Also, so much love to Jud Crandall who kindly agreed to help with album art, and brought his amazing vision to the table and really cemented this as feeling real to me.”