Q&A: Columbus Frontman Alex Moses Talks Emotional Maturity, Tour Adventures and All Things Isolation

Interview by Natalie Blacklock

Three-piece pop-punk outfit, Columbus, formed in Brisbane in early 2012. Since then, the band have been smashing out earnest and relatable ballads for the masses. Starting off as a high school jazz band, founding members Alex Moses (Vocals / Guitar) and Daniel Seymour (Drums) released their ground-breaking ‘Home Remedy EP’, with lead single Downsides of Being Honest (featuring John Floreani of Trophy Eyes on guest vocals) stealing the hearts of fans and scoring a stack of radio play, which launched the band through the ranks of Triple J Unearthed and onto the stage at Soundwave Festival 2015 (I was in the front row; they killed that 12:20pm slot!)

From there, Columbus’ debut record ‘Spring Forever’, saw them tour Australia with the likes of Birds Of Tokyo, You Me At Six and Trophy Eyes and conquer festivals including NYE On The Hill and UNIFY Gathering.  Following the release of their second LP ‘A Hot Take On Heartbreak’, the band continued from strength-to-strength, embarking on some of their biggest headline shows to date. More recently, Lauren Guerrera joined the band on Bass in 2019, coinciding with the band’s release of ‘Can’t Hide From What Hurts’ – an honest and hopeful call to keep pushing forward through the tough times. Now, the trio are back with their new single Out Of Time, which dropped TODAY (April 30th)!

Naturally, we at Good Call LIVE are absolutely stoked that Columbus on are back with brand new music in tow, so I *digitally* caught up with frontman, Alex Moses, to have a chat about this and a whole lot more.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Columbus before, can you give us a quick 25-word-or-less blurb ‘summary’ of the band?

Columbus is a rock power-trio band from Australia. They play mostly sad and fast rock music, and each member Alex, Daniel and Lauren are all VERY attractive.

Since those early days when Columbus were starting out, you’ve have grown a lot – not just as musicians but as people too. What are some of the biggest changes, both sonically and stylistically, that people might be able to hear on your more recent releases?

Throughout the last few years of Columbus and of our lives, we have changed as people. Stylistically, I think this translates (hopefully) to more emotional maturity translating in the music, and a little less teenage angst which was definitely my spirit animal throughout my late teens / early 20s. Sonically, we’re still very much a rock band, we might not always play as fast as we used to, but I would even describe some of our newer releases as having ‘heavier’ moments than some of our past releases, in lyrical content and sound. 

What’s the writing process like for Columbus? Is it a collaborative ‘in the moment’ effort or each of you tend to work solo and bring your ideas to the band later on?

We all live in different states in Australia. I usually write a song, and do a rough demo and I’ll send it to the band. When we’re all together (crossing fingers for post-Corona hangs), we’ll jam the song and run it through and refine it, chuck out bits, add bits in etc. 

Your last record ‘A Hot Take On Heartbreak’, was produced by Eskimo Joe multi-instrumentalist, Joel Quartermain and you’ve teamed up again on your new track, Out Of Time. How did that partnership come about? What is it like working with such a stalwart of the Australian music industry?

I met Joel through a co-writing session I did at his house in early 2018. He ended up producing that record (‘A Hot Take On Heartbreak’), and he’s worked on everything Columbus ever since. I couldn’t speak more highly of Joel. He is a very talented producer and songwriter, and being only a 3-piece band, it was wonderful when recording Out of Time, and to have a 4th musical influence lay hands on the song. 

Speaking of… we’ve had a sneak preview of your new track, Out Of Time, and it is an absolute banger – a really strong pop-punk tune, with killer guitar and drums behind it! Tell us, what’s the story behind the song?

I often try to write a song every day. A whole one, and just finish it even if it sucks. Most days, the songs really suck. I’ve even written a song about my imaginary girlfriend moving away to Argentina. One day I wrote Out Of Time, about the fear and dread which grows inside you, creating that sense of immediacy that you are running out of time. 

Life on tour can be pretty crazy for many artists and bands. What does touring look like for Columbus? Can you recall any memorable / infamous tour stories?

One night I recall very well from, maybe 2014? We had played a show in Port Macquarie, with Trophy Eyes, Thesis (RIP), Dear Seattle and others, and needed a place to stay. We couldn’t find anywhere, so we, Trophy Eyes, Thesis and a few other bands drove a few hours away and drunk on the beach ‘til the wee hours and just fell asleep in sleeping bags overlooking the water, or on the sand. An angry man in the morning walking his dog muttered at us as we were waking up haha! Hooligan kids! 

ith an ever-growing back catalogue of tracks behind you, which track/s do you most enjoy playing live and why?
I like Replace Me a lot – I think because it’s fun to sing. 

Now that punters can’t go out and see live music, it’s been really great to see a whole bunch of musicians from all over the world come together in the digital space to entertain us in light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic. How did Columbus get involved with Isol-Aid Festival?

They asked us to play the first line-up a few days before-hand. It was a fun experience, and definitely a great adaptation of music to find ways to persevere in times of need. 

In the current climate of isolation-life, what are your Top 5 “go-to” records that you’ve been spinning a lot lately?
The Killers – ‘Sam’s Town’ (2006)
The Wonder Years – ‘The Greatest Generation’ (2013)
Eels – ‘Daisies of the Galaxy’ (2000)
Taylor Swift – ‘RED’ (2012)
Goldfinger – ‘Disconnection Notice’ (2005)

Following the release of your new single, Out Of Time, on April 30th, what’s next for Columbus? Are there any plans to head out on the road once it’s safe to tour again?

We have some plans. As long as Aunt ‘Rona lets us out to play, you’ll be seeing us a lot at the end of 2020. 

Columbus have just dropped their new brand spankin’ new single Out Of Time TODAY and the Good Call Live team are loving it! We’re not sure about you, but we can’t wait to get back out to catch some live music and Columbus are definitely on our list!

To find out more about Columbus including their social media links, merchandise and ticket information (when live music FINALLY kicks off again), click HERE.

With thanks to Habit Music Co.

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