Chestermere musician, Colton O’Reilly, is excited his band, I Am The Mountain received the YYC Music Award for Single of the Year for “Denigrate.”
“The title simply means to not put down others, or to not put down yourself, it’s a reminder to not do that,” O’Reilly said.
Adding, “As artists, that can happen a lot, you’re too hard on yourself, you don’t think it’s good enough. It was that reminder to myself and others to be proud of your work and keep creating if you can.”
O’Reilly had always been passionate about music, as he remembers his first time performing “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls with his friend at the St. Gabriel the Archangel School.
“That was my first performance ever, I remember it so clearly, then we made a band,” O’Reilly
However, O’Reilly didn’t begin to take music seriously until roughly 10 years ago, while studying at University.
“That’s when I first started writing songs, thinking about a band name, and recording music,” O’Reilly said.
Now, O’Reilly is the main songwriter for I Am The Mountain, as he writes core progressions, and lyrics.
“I get a lot of help writing the music with my band, we have song writing sessions and they have amazing ideas, but the first idea comes from me, and they form the song around it,” O’Reilly said.
Completing the winning single, took much longer than O’Reilly had originally thought.
“That song took us so long to record, it took us about a year to start tracking from the very first day where we made demos to when we sent it out to get mixed and mastered,” O’Reilly said.
“That song was our test subject. We worked really hard on it. It took a long time, but when everything was done, we sat back and listened to it, and we were really proud of it,” he said.
Although the process took longer than the band had expected, they learned from the experience.
O’Reilly and band members now have a home studio and are learning how to process projects themselves before scheduling studio time.
“It’s really good to be able to do those types of things on your own, then once we get into the studio, we’re ready to go, and we know what to do,” O’Reilly said.
For the band, time commitment and learning a workflow that worked for everyone was the most significant challenge while working on “Denigrate.”
“For us, because we’re trying to do a lot of it ourselves, life got in the way. People were travelling, going to school or working, that slowed down the process so much rather than if we were full-time musicians,” O’Reilly said.
“That time commitment is so important, but it’s hard to do as a working artist,” he added. “We’re figuring out the workflow, how we work with each other, and how we work with everyone at the studio, this was our first run at it for real.”
Although completing the single was challenging at times, for O’Reilly, having the band be recognized for their hard work and dedication made the challenges worth it.
“We were all shocked at first, we couldn’t believe it. When the song started getting recognized for all the hard work that we did, that was pretty cool,” O’Reilly said.
After submitting the “Denigrate” to Calgary radio stations, and the YYC Music Awards, O’Reilly
began to down talk the single.
“We were up against some really tough competition, I was saying that I didn’t expect to win, and all of the other musicians’ released things that did so much better,” O’Reilly said.
“I was sitting around the kitchen table with my family, and my mom reminded me not to put myself down, just like the song says, and be confident even if you don’t win, just be confident in yourself,” he said.
Moving forward, I Am The Mountain will continue to release digital art, and single works of art.
“I just released a solo album. It was a surprise release. There were 28 songs on the album, I released them for my 28th Birthday on Sept. 28,” O’Reilly said.
“We’re going to get feedback from everyone who is listening to the songs, and our band is going to record a full album based on the feedback. Whatever songs get the most traction, the most plays or the most comments we will rework them, rewrite them and release them on a full-length band album,” he said.
O’Reilly’s solo album is available on Band Camp, at https://iamthemountain.bandcamp.com/, while I Am The Mountain can be streamed on Spotify.
Without the dedication of I Am The Mountain band members, Keath, Jesse, Jason, Robin and Dylan, winning the YYC Music Awards Single of the Year wouldn’t have been possible.
“Our band wouldn’t be at the same place it’s at right now, without those guys. We wouldn’t have won that award, and we wouldn’t be writing the songs we’re writing right now without those guys,” O’Reilly said.
To keep up to date with I Am The Mountain, visit their Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/iamthemountainmusic/?hl=en.