by Katie Rankin
While most new bands spend months or years writing, practicing and fighting in their parents’ basements, Colour Code was already in the running for an ECMA showcase before all the members had even met. Last spring, after having written a few songs, singer and guitar player Emilee Sorrey sent fellow singer and guitar player Sam Rayner a link to a competition in which the winner would win an ECMA showcase. With the deadline a week away, Sorrey was disappointed there wouldn’t be enough time. “Sam put his Superman cape on and was like ‘Nothing’s impossible!’” explains Sorrey.
Very quickly the band recorded a video as their entry and hustled their members together. The day of the video shoot was the first time Sorrey had ever played with violinist Morgan Wagner. Practicing during exam period paid off and the band won the showcase, making their second live show at the ECMAs. Sorrey credits competition with the band’s quick evolution. “That’s why we ended up writing so much.” Soon after they had an opening gig at Hunter’s. “It’s been a really hectic summer, just cause we hadn’t expected it to move so quickly and it did,” says upright and electric bassist Jonathan Millington. The band also spent the summer adjusting to new drummers, settling into their third, Mitchell Gallant, this fall.
Instead of one lead vocalist, Colour Code blends both Rayner and Sorrey’s voices. “The idea was more to just make it interesting, so it wasn’t just a consistent flow of one male singing or one woman singing—it’s a mixture,” says Rayner. Their songs often sound like a back and forth conversation between two people, drawing comparisons to Montreal band Stars. Rayner says he has an obsession with strings and sought out Wagner, who has been playing classical violin for twelve years, to join. They also have trumpet and trombone parts written for friends who play with the band whenever they can.
Although none of them were friends when the band started, Sorrey says they didn’t really have choice and they’re like family now. “We were in the basement for hours on end a day, for like two weeks,” she says. Rayner says he likes it better that way. “Business is business and you get it done and then you kind of form the friendship around that.” For now Colour Code’s trying to take it easy and write more, while also recording the six-song EP they won from the competition.