By Drew Ailes
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By Tom Murphy
Reinvention has come relatively quickly for the members of Calling Out West. In 2009, the trio of guitarist Max Comer, bassist Cody Vinton and vocalist/drummer Jake Vinton expanded the band then known as the Side Project, adding guitarist Mike Anderson and drummer Zach Armijo. Starting with 2010's eleven-song release Short Stories, the newly branded Calling Out West set about broadening its sound, shifting from more melodic balladry to heavier, guitar-laden pop rock. We spoke with Armijo about the changes in the band's musical approach and its upcoming release, the four-track EP Apollo, recorded at the Blasting Room.
Westword: Can you explain how the group's musical approach has changed since you and Mike Anderson joined in 2009?
Zach Armijo: The Side Project was calmer, and it was a lot less guitar. It was more melodies and calmer stuff. Since Mike and I have joined, the guitars have picked up, and it's added a lot more depth to the music we can write.
How many tracks did you play on 2010's Short Stories?
It was basically right before I joined the band. I recorded two songs on there. That CD was the official push for the band to be something that it wasn't before. It was recorded at Eight Houses Down in downtown Denver, and the last song — "Mountain Valley Shine" — had some production error; it only had 23 seconds of the song on it. But that record helped get us locally known in the music scene. I know we're not really big or anything, but it's still a shock when I hear that people know about my band. That's the time that our style really changed.
Was the approach to writing and recording fairly different for the upcoming EP?
We recorded it at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins; we worked with Rise Against engineer Andrew Berlin. To have everything come out sounding exactly how we wanted it to was awesome. It's only a four-track EP, but the production is way through the roof from our full-length. It took a year to put together. It was just a whole new writing process for us.
It was five guys writing the songs together and making it what the band is about now, putting all our input on what we wanted the songs to be. It was just basically going from three minds put together to five minds put together. In my opinion, it was the final step assimilating into the band. I think we're pretty set on recording in the Blasting Room from now on.
Do you have further plans for summer touring or more releases?
We're hoping to set up a tour toward the end of summer, trying to get our name out in more than just Colorado. We're planning on making a two-part CD: We'll have Apollo, and then we'll have the second part, the second EP. We'll just have to decide what songs we have to record, but we'll have the tracks recorded within the next year.