SPM local band profile: The Color 8

A look at Phoenix's newest vibrant band

Drums keeping rhythm, bass grooving and guitar screeching through the air. That’s the sounds you’ll hear from Local Phoenix band, The Color 8. They jam in a way that no other band has before, setting no limits on their range and no restriction on their individual playing.

The Color 8 is releasing their debut extended player, or EP, called First Friday the EP.

There is no confirmed release date yet because songs are still in the process of being “mixed and mastered” by the Scottsdale Music Company audio engineers.

First Friday the EP will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and other major music streaming platforms.

“We just want everybody to feel like they were at First Friday if they hadn’t been there or even if they had,” band member LeeWater says.

One of the most unusual things about this band is that they have no set genre of music that they play. Color 8 ranges in genres because all of the band members are from different musical backgrounds, and don’t think bands need to be restricted to one style.

“Color means diversity and the 8 is an infinity sign turned vertical. The band name represents all the different genres of music we play and how eclectic we are as individual musicians,” band member Ashton Vaughn Charles says. “…We literally try not to limit our music by type. We’ve touched on pop, alternative rock, indie, reggae, hip hop, metal, R&B, punk and the list goes on.”

The Color 8 consists of six talented and uniquely different musicians.

The man with the idea of starting this band is Mikal Benion, who plays a wicked guitar. He has been playing ever since he discovered the video game Guitar Hero.

“I got super good at the game, I could play it on expert, and then my dad got me a real guitar,” Benion says.

He was 13 when he really started playing. After that, he took lessons for rock guitar until high school when he learned classical guitar. He later realized he liked all styles of playing and wanted to share that with others, so he created The Color 8.

“I wanted the band to be about trying new things and being different, not having to follow everybody’s path,” Benion says.

Emmett Nash was the second member to join The Color 8 as a drummer.

“I had known Kal for a couple years because we would see each other playing at PC, but we never actually played together. So, one day he hit me up saying he wanted to jam,” Nash says, “We ended up jamming like all night; like for hours. It was so crazy because it felt like we had played together before.”

From that point on, Benion added more people to these jam sessions and they ended up with the six that are together now.

ClevPro is one of the Master of Ceremonies, or MC. He is the man who interacts with the crowd and keeps them energized. As a kid, he was into dance rather than playing an instrument. Band members described him as “poetic” and a great lyricist.

When listening to The Color 8, you will hear a funky melodic saxophone blowing you away into bliss. The man behind this instrument is Ashton Vaughn Charles. He has been playing music since he was 10 years old, but his love for the art started subconsciously before that.

“I have always been attracted to music without knowing it. I remember when I was maybe four or five my cousin had this little play xylophone thing. I remember hearing this tune on TV that I wanted to try to play, so I went to the toy and tried to figure it out,” Charles says, “Me playing the tune showed my desire and persistence to replicate something like that.”

Charles started playing the saxophone at age 11 and has not put it down since.

Jeremy Smith grew up in a musical family, so it was easy for him to find interest in it. As a kid, he played in his family band and at his church on the drums. Sixth grade is when he started playing the bass guitar. With his father being his high school’s music director, he became a part of the school’s jazz band. He continues his music career in The Color 8 on the bass.

The peaceful- easy, yet scratchy-sweet voice you hear is LeeWater, the vocalist for the band. He has been playing music and singing since before he could remember.

“My dad plays bass and he’s also a singer. So he would always tell me ‘just repeat after me.’ So we would always do like a call and response singing,” LeeWater says.

Although he learned piano and trumpet at a young age, he put both instruments down to focus on singing and writing.

“We have no limits; we have no boundaries. We want to at least be able to mentally be free so that we can create whatever, so that we can go wherever,” LeeWater says.

These guys have been playing together since winter of 2015, but the way they vibe makes it seem like longer.

Listener William Weinstein has been following the band since he saw them perform at a First Friday in Downtown Phoenix.

“The Color 8 feels like the biggest baddest band in Downtown Phoenix and it’s always electric to see them,” Weinstein says.

The band really holds nothing back at their shows. They sense the power of their crowd and play off that feeling.

“I want their new EP to catch the energy they have in their live shows, as well as showcase how diverse and impressive their range usually is,” Weinstein says.

First Friday the EP will show the variety of their sound in a way that anyone who listens will like it.

“It’s going to be every genre,” Benion says. “It’s almost going to be like an album that takes you through the history of music. Maybe we start out with a jazz song or blues song, how it originally started. Then have like a rock song, then going to what came from rock, and so on.”

The Color 8 has different sounds that every person can appreciate, so look out for First Friday the EP coming out soon on ITunes and other music streaming applications.

“This EP should be the perfect way to introduce your friends to their music,” Weinstein says.    

Reach the reporter at kbkollasch@yahoo.com or follow @KaitlinKollasch on Twitter.

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