For Copeland, touring Southeast Asia again feels a lot like coming home.
Having made their first appearance in Singapore more than a decade ago Baybeats Festival 2005 and with most Spotify listeners from Jakarta, the American indie rock band Copeland is no stranger to our region of the world.
Many Copeland fans in Singapore have been awaiting their return for the past six years since their last show here in 2010.
A day before their scheduled live show at TAB Singapore, Popspoken sat down with Aaron Marsh (singer, pianist), Bryan Laurenson (lead and bass guitar), Stephen Laurenson (rhythm guitar, backing vocals) at the nineteenth floor of their hotel.
We dived right into their current lives, new music, and matters closest to their hearts.
On the Southeast Asia 2016 tour
Why did you guys decide to have a Southeast Asia tour this year?
Aaron: I think we always had good experiences here. We’re probably more popular in Indonesia than anywhere else in the world, including our own country. The largest US headline show at our peak was probably 1,600 people, while both our Indonesia shows have seen more than 7,000. We don’t really know why, but we’re grateful.
On Touring with Paramore
This time last year you guys went on a tour with Paramore titled “Writing The Future Tour“. How would you describe Copeland’s relationship with Paramore?
Steph: Very long.
Bryan: Before they were even called “Paramore”, the first show they ever played was an opening for us. It was in Nashville, Tennessee, a really small hole-in-the-wall type of club. I think Hayley (Williams) was 14. Even back then you could tell that Hayley was a star, that they were gonna be big.
Aaron: We took them on their first US tour and just kept in touch over the years. When they were opening for us at such a young age, they were kind of aspiring to be at our level, even though we weren’t really that big. Paramore far surpassed us eventually, but I think still in their heads they have us on a pedestal, which is very sweet.
What was your favorite memory of the Writing the Future tour?
Steph: Playing at Dolby Theatre, which is where the OSCARS are held. It’s probably one of the most beautiful theatres we’ve played.
Bryan: It was a different spin. Copeland is softer and more melodic, having the fans seated while watching us was nice, until Paramore came out and they’d be on their feet.
Aaron: The interesting thing about that tour was how we played in opera houses and symphony halls. It was seated chairs, a different vibe. Most of the time when you are opening for a band, they’re just on their feet and uncomfortable. But here they’re just comfortably seated, it was also kind of cool having a lot of strings on stage with us in these beautiful symphony halls.
On Copeland’s Music
Which is your favourite song to play live, and why?
Steph: Mine is currently “I Can Make You Feel Young Again”, from the new record Ixora. Typically the newer songs are more fun because they’re softer and they’re more fresh.
Bryan: I’d say between that song and “When You Thought You’d Never Stand Out”, because of the strings at the end.
Aaron: I like playing “Chin Up”. It always gets everyone singing.
Bryan: That’s probably one of your favorite songs you’ve written.
Aaron: Yeah, I feel like I’m still trying to top that song, from the songwriting standpoint.
With regards to your latest album Ixora, many fans have been intrigued by its “twin” concept, where two separate versions of the album synchronises together when played at the same time. What is the story behind Copeland’s inspiration to release Ixora like this?
Aaron: It was mostly just all three of us being producers as well, it kind of came from that side of our brains. I thought, could we make two versions of the same song that could play in harmony together? We actually already had this idea for our fourth album “You Are My Sunshine” but we never tried it.
When we were thinking about what would be the sickest deluxe version of an album we could possibly do, we were like oh yeah we’d have a bonus disc of remixes, so when you play both at the same time they harmonise together. That’s the best thing we could imagine, so we tried it.
Was the songwriting process for Ixora different from the previous albums, given that it has been six years since the last time you guys wrote together?
Aaron: I think it was different because our lives were different. Love for my kid, my wife, it was more family rather than like young people drama *laughs*. Pretty much all of Ixora was about my family, except there’s one song about a mermaid.
With all that Copeland has gone through as a band since 2001, at the end of the day, how would you like Copeland to be remembered?
Aaron: All I really care is what I feel about it ten years later, I just want to make sure I make things that I’m proud of, be genuine in my expression. I’m grateful for people who listen, I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. But hopefully what they remember about my music is the fact that it’s genuine, that I’m speaking from my heart.