Comfort Club, the contemporary indie-pop/alternative project of Michigan native Colin Tracey, will be performing live at ILWE Presents: Smilefest 2 — Launch Party on September 3rd.
Colin took my call from the Taco Bell drive thru after his shift at the coffee shop. A vanguard of the people, a champion of comfort, a songwriter-by-trade with quite a few miles under his belt and his eyes on the road ahead, the progenitor and lone architect of Comfort Club has a lot to be excited about.
Extended chords and easy riding guitar licks washed in a daze of chorus and reverb float atop modern takes on classic breaks. Simple, carrying bass lines are paired with sweeping, supporting synths. The walls of Comfort Club’s musical house were raised by the same contractors who built Mac D’s, but Colin decorates the walls in a way that you haven’t quite seen before — and it makes you want to hang out there all the time.
You’ll find the 1,975 hints of driving rock and experimental, analog sound design that have appeared in recent releases. You’ll find a smattering of trap hi hats, some downtempo digital backbeats, and the occasional four-to-the-floor club kick. Wait are the club kicks on the wall or the floor? Are the club kicks actually ‘Comfort’ club kicks? I think I should leave.
It was a slow journey from Michigan to Los Angeles. Colin’s first home in California was San Diego, then after a year, he moved to Temecula (halfway between SD and LA) where he would stay for another two. Just as he took his time arriving in the city of angels, he took his time arriving at Comfort Club’s current brand of Indie Pop and the millions of plays that followed.
“I was doing like singer-songwriter stuff as Colin Tracey. I didn’t know how to produce or anything and dropped an EP called Lone Cactus Motel. There were people that liked it — and I still pull out some of the tracks if I’m playing hour long sets — but it was its own time and place. It definitely bled into this chapter of my music, but it wasn’t really Comfort Club.”
In honing his musicianship with a guitar through a folk-oriented lens, Colin approached the nexus of a production oriented pivot with an honest read on his skills and where he was seeking growth. This is an uncommon approach in a world where many find their way to instruments and songwriting only after building a foundation on their laptop.
“With my music, I’ve always had a vision of how the production would go, and I’ve been hard headed enough to think I can get there. I wasn’t really where I wanted to be with my earlier stuff, but now I’m getting to the point where I can actually execute by myself or with friends.”
Colin nods to frequent collaborator Atlas in Motion as a peer who helps bring his music and his production capability to the next level.
“I’ll fully produce a demo to a level where it’s good enough but could be a little bit better. I’ll send it to Atlas, and he’ll upgrade some drum sounds, throw some pads on it, and bring his sound design expertise to the music.”
Colin and Atlas collaborated most recently on his 2022 singles “Not Over Falling For You Yet” and “20s,” in which Colin declares he’s getting awful sick of parking tickets.
“LA parking is gnarly. You gotta look on Google Map street view and check the street signs near your destination to find parking before you go,” he shares with a smile.
The Comfort Club live show is an exercise in storytelling. Colin delivers the lyrics with everything he’s got and lets his guitar shine as punctuation.
“When I perform, it feels like an extension of the creative process. A song is always evolving; I hear it after release and get to thinking of new things I can try live. It lives and grows forever.”
The Comfort Club live band is shaping up, anchored by his keyboard player Micah, his drummer Alex, and his bass player Noah. They rehearse late nights, playing for passion and belief in the project. They’ve played five shows to date and are just getting started.
“I have a vision for the songs live, but the musicians in my band are so good that I trust them to do anything. It’s gonna sound good.”
Comfort Club’s forthcoming music is young, romantic, and heartbreaky… a “cheery breakup” EP, if you will. When asked if it was autobiographical, Colin wavered.
“My love life is actually the best it’s ever been. I started dating my girlfriend in February and it’s been the best six months of my life. I’m like ‘wow, this person is amazing.’ She’s incredible. She’s doing her thing.”
Colin is proudly in love with Catie Turner, another singer-songwriter from the other side of the nation. Two passionate musicians seeing eye to eye with mutual admiration, shared inspiration, and an unfolding story. They have yet to write a song together.
“I think we like the potential, the ‘What would happen?’ We’ll have to wait and see.”
Keep your eyes out for Comfort Club’s newest EP. If I told you the title, I’d have to kill you. If Colin told me the title, he’d have to kill me. And yet, I write, you read
In the meantime, come see him perform at ILWE PRESENTS: SMILEFEST 2 — LAUNCH PARTY this SATURDAY, SEPT 3RD. As noted on that fiRE lil bag up there (available on the Comfort Club webstore): “Come for the Hits, stay for the Misses!” ☼