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Your last album, released in 2007, was “Let’s Get Away”, and recently, the single “Lady” was released. Why did it take so long to put something out, and is there a full length album on the horizon?

Within the two weeks it took me to record “Let’s Get Away,” I had already written enough material for another album. But, I didn’t want to rush strait into things and record yet. I am really taking my time, and building my catalog of songs, so when it comes time to record again, I can pick and choose which songs I really enjoy, and make an amazing album. In Brazil, I met up with producer, Victor Rice, and we recorded “Lady.” It was a one off song that was released on 7” vinyl, which is available from colingiles.com.. It has also been released on iTunes. And yes, there is a full length album on its way.

You were once a backup singer for legendary Reggae acts and decided to branch out into your own thing. Talk a little about your past experiences with some of the legends from Jamaica.
Singing backups for some of Reggaes biggest legends was a tremendous experience for me. The music that I have listened to and loved for so long, I can now say, that I have touched my voice on its history. It may be 40 years later from when it was recorded, but I was there, and I was singing. Most of these Reggae legends like Ken Boothe, Derrick Morgan, and Stranger Cole are at the end of their careers, simply because they are old in age. "When it’s time to go into the studio to record I definitely have a direction that I want to go, but mostly every time, the outcome will be differently than what I originally imagined." So, it is my pleasure to sing in harmony with the greats. Alton Ellis passed away soon after the last show I sang with him. It was a real treat after rehearsals to sit around with them and hear all of the old stories about Jamaica, Studio 1, Coxsone Dodd, the dance halls, and the recording sessions. Vernon Buckley of The Maytones, once told a story to me, of how producer Duke Reid, worked in a shop below the recording studio, and how he carried a pistol on his side at all times. When he heard a riddim the band was playing that he didn’t like, he would fire a shot through the ceiling. That’s insane!!

What is the difference working with artists from Jamaica compared to individual here in the states?
The accent for sure! One of the things that I’ve noticed, is if the band doesn’t have the rhythm or feel of the song just right, the Jamaicans will start the song over. Even during a live show they will tell the band to start it over. But who can blame em? Reggae is a serious thing man... it’s a serious thing.

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There seems to be a lot of influence in your music other than just Reggae. What other genres inspire your sound?
My influences come from all over the musical map. From 60’s Soul to70’s Folk, and from late 70’s Punk to 80’s (well… maybe we’ll skip the 80’s with the exception of The Specials, The Beat, and a few others.) I really like to keep a broad influx of genres spinning on the turntable because it’s music, and music is beautiful. I’m really enjoying Brazilian music at the moment, and it has come across in my recent song writing.

When you go into the studio to record, do you have a certain direction you know you want to go, or does it just come together organically?
When it’s time to go into the studio to record I definitely have a direction that I want to go, but mostly every time, the outcome will be differently than what I originally imagined. When working with other musicians in the studio, I like to let them really feel the song, and then when they do their thing, it usually comes out. That’s the organic part. Nothing’s sweeter than that!


On the subject of your previous band, The Big Sound (which, by the way, was a talented lineup), is there any possibility of more music from them? Or is that a thing of the past?
For now, I don’t see The Big Sound doing much. We are all really close friends but we live too far apart from each other now. At one point in the early days, the entire band lived in two houses on the same property. When it was time for rehearsal, we’d yell out the window.

I know you are a huge surfer and ride the waves whenever you can. What spots could we find Colin catchin’ some waves?
"One of the things that I’ve noticed, is if the band doesn’t have the rhythm or feel of the song just right, the Jamaicans will start the song over." Yes, I enjoy surfing. From when I was a kid, I’ve grown up surfing Malibu, California. You can definitely find me surfing up and down the California coast. I’ve traveled the world riding waves in countries such as: Australia, Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand, Hawaii, Tahiti, and more….

Who are some of your favorite Surfers? Have you had a chance to ride alongside any famous guys?
Kelly Slater with out a doubt, Mick fanning, Parko, and Dane Reynolds. While competing as a professional, I have surfed alongside many famous guys. I don’t always beat them, but I have surf alongside them.

What surf movie or documentary do you recommend to someone learning about the sport and why?
Everything you would ever want to know about surfing, you can find in “The North Shore,” directed by William Phelps. Amazing.

What is a typical day in the life of Colin Giles?
It’s quite difficult to tell the story of a typical day, being that everyday is quite different…. So I’m going to tell you how my day went today. When I woke up, I gave a kiss to my wife. I rolled out of bed and went strait for the espresso machine. Jammed to the beach and surfed epic waves for about 4 hours. I had some lunch, then, I wrote some new music (playing my instrument and developing my song writing daily, is key for me.) Had a wonderful Sushi dinner, and I’m about to hit the sack. What a day!

Final question: What can we expect from you in 2010?
There is new & exciting stuff happening in 2010… stay tuned.

Photo Credits
Top black & white photo - Steven Lippman
Live shot - Christina Chomut

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