Inspired by great cologne, JJ Cale and the daily challenge as Nashville musicians to grow and work harder, Los Colognes decided to root themselves in Music City “to be apart of it in any way possible.”
This brotherhood of Jay Rutherford (guitar player, vocals, waiter, english major), Aaron Mortenson (drummer, bgvs, waiter, gluten free), Gordon Persha (bassist, lover of p90x, audio/visual specialist), Micah Hulscher (keys, seattle bred, mayor of greasy-town), Chuck Foster (keys, nashville bred, laid back delivery man), Zach Setchfield (slide guitar, 5 spot bartender, member of lonely h), and Wojtek Krupka (guitar, artsy and craftsy, teller of jokes) has a passion for more than just Cloning their favorites, but are each bringing unique flavor to a table laid for a great feast.
Jay divulged my curiosity by sharing a bit about the passionate hearts behind Los Colognes and where their sights are set.
From “The Clones” to “Los Colognes”…
“GoDaddy.com shut our old website down because someone else had copywrited “The Clones.” We spent a few months farting around with ideas, but it was difficult because everyone on the east side knew us as “The Clones.” We toyed with “The Colognes” because it sounded similar and because Gordo wears some super sweet cologne when he rocks the Monday Night Keep On Movin! party, but it wasn’t different enough to catch. One day someone took to pronouncing it with a Spanish accent – Los Cuh-Lone-Aze – and it stuck.”
Despite challenges, these guys are still having fun and re-associating audiences with their sound and talent that can never be altered by a title.
The birth of the band – high hopes and no boundaries…
“Mort and I came down to Nashville a little over 3 years ago in the hopes of finding some like-minded musicians who liked to play laid back music in the vein of JJ Cale. Nothing too fancy.”
Have you felt well embraced by Nashville and its wide scope of audiences?
“Nashville music culture has been incredibly supportive. We have been blown away by the encouragement and positive vibes thrown our way. The players in this town are legendary. We are constantly challenged to engage with our own playing on a daily basis. Not to develop heavy ‘chops,’ but to become better musicians who know the value of restraint and musicality.”
Have you found Nashville’s strong country roots to pull the classic-countrified sounds out of your more Americana-style tunes?
“’Real’ country music is celebrated by all of the players within our collective. Many of us play or have played down on Broadway (Roberts, Laylas, Wheel). We can only hope that some of the older (pre-Garth) country influences spills over into what we do as Los Colognes.”
You’ve done a LOT at 5 Spot, how did you initially get connected with this venue?
“Initially we were curious because it was so close to our house. It seemed like a friendly neighborhood bar that would be affordable and relaxed. We found it to be those things and much more. The staff are the coolest people in town and we are fortunate to call them all friends… Eventually Derek Hoke asked us to be a late night house band for Tues nights. We are grateful to him for the opportunity and for the exposure.”
Has the band spent much time touring? Do you more enjoy being on the road or playing local shows?
“We’ve done plenty of regional weekend runs, but… in September we’ll be in Seattle and Portland. We have plenty of touring in the works. The Nashville response has been great, but we’re also itching to spread our wings.”
How are the unique styles of each band member bringing something flavorful to what we collectively know as Los Colognes?
“You have to see a show… The best thing about a Los Colognes show is that everyone that plays with us can bring his or her identity to the table. We don’t really rehearse or map out arrangements the way that many other bands with ‘static’ sets do. This allows for freedom and expression within the songs, which are basic enough to expand upon with exciting results.”
“Working Together” – this song about how “working together is easy but living together is hard,” – sounds like a domestic issue, but does it also translate to time spent in close quarters with the band on the road or other living situations?
“The basic level of the song lyrics is definitely a domestic thing, but the deeper notions of relationships apply to all kinds of contexts. Within the band there’s been a kind of ‘economy’ for years, i.e., I’ll pack the van if you buy me a beer, you owe me Chick-Fil-A if I beat you in FIFA, I’ll play for free if you mix a song, etc. True success in any relationship, we reckon, is based on balance and communication.
What’s next for the band?
“Play, play, play, write, play, play, sell merch, write, play, eat chic-fil-a, play, meet chics, play, sleep.”
By Kaitlyn Crocker,