Painters: The next wave

by BRENT COLE

One of the beauties of a college town music scene is the constant churn of bands. They start out early in college, play, learn, develop over the next few years, eventually graduate, and move on. The cycle plays itself out over and over and over again. But when a band is especially young and making interesting music, then the town is in for something cool and hopefully for years to come.

With that, Bellingham, meet the Painters.

Ranging in age from 16-20, The Painters are made up of Duncan Ogg (vocals), Nathan Malick (guitar), Devin Vigor (guitar), Morgan Call (bass) and Austen Kahn (drums). The five-piece began a year and a half ago as a class project.

“We ended up getting together originally for a project in my Humanities class at Whatcom Community College. The assignment was to simply do something creative, so I decided to get some friends together and try to write a song,” stated Duncan. Liking the sound, they decided to keep going.

All five members are exceptionally talented and have played in previous bands, though often not getting past the beginning stages. Austen played in Honey Dotson and Morgan in Rat Riot, both Bellingham bands that were seen around the scene.

As far as influences to their sound, guitarist Nathan cites At the Drive-In as one of his primarily influences with writing structure, while Duncan adds, “I think in a lot of ways, it’s too early to talk about influences. None of the songs really sound like one another, and we’re not really modeling ourselves after any particular groups. We’re just trying to write interesting songs.”

The songwriting duties in Painters shifts; at some points Duncan and Nathan come up with an idea of a song, other times it’ll be Nathan’s origins with Austen working out the rhythms, all with the band flushing out the ideas as a whole.

“I have a lot of solo work, loops, and different ideas I like playing with that I then try to turn into a larger song,” Nathan said.

As the band continues to grow and mature, the songwriting has followed. “The emphasis has changed from writing music via jam to something more focused on songwriting,” said Duncan, with Morgan adding, “The music has gotten a lot harsher, and that’s awesome.”

The band plans on hitting the road this summer, and are pursuing shows out of town. “Our tour is really coming along well, we already have quite a few dates booked. We’re only going down as south as Portland, but that’s a big deal for us. We’ve never gotten to play out-of-state.”

Painters will also be recording, with hopes of releasing a record in the future. In the mean time, they’re selling a collection of demos recorded by Clark Lavigueure, the “sixth” Painters if you will.

“The recording process took a long time, certainly longer than I think any of us expected. We actually ended up breaking up in the middle for a few months and really only got back together right around the time everything was being finished, last August. We recorded everything at Clark’s studio, Third Floor Recording, and he was nice enough to give us free recording time and as much of it as we wanted. It really was a sweet situation,” Duncan said.

Devin added, “I personally consider Clark to be the sixth Painter. He’s pretty much been there since Day One, fixes all our gear, goes to all our shows, really was sort of the driving force behind us getting back together when we split up. He’s a great guy.”

LIVE SHOW: Painters will perform April 9 at the Alternative Library as part of Benefest. For more about the band, see www.facebook.com/paintersband, and

Published in the April 2015 issue of What’s Up! Magazine