Foot on the Gas

Mesa’s Color 8 includes, from left, Bassist Jeremy Smith, guitarist Mikal “Kal” Benion, drummer Emmett “E-Nash” Ray and vocalist Ashton Vaughn Charles.” (Courtesy of Iryna Glavnyk)

Mesa’s The Color 8 has returned with an EP titled “Foot On The Gas.” 

As a band that dabbles in genres ranging from melodic soul and R&B to power chord heavy rap-metal, the EP is loaded with heavy guitar chords, fast rapping, swingy bass lines, catchy choruses and heart pounding drumming.

It features of two of the states budding rappers, Eddie Wellz of the trap-metal band Dropout Kings, who appears on the EP under the alias Black Cat Bill, and Glendale-based rapper DeLa Preme. 

“It’s heavy and has heavier stuff,” bassist Jeremy Smith said. “It’s more on the hip-hop and metal side but it’s an enhanced version of the stuff we’ve already been playing,” guitarist Mikal “Kal” Benion added. 

In addition to having all its standard elements that the band has made its mark with, “Foot On The Gas” features some dabbling with digitally created sounds recorded and transmitted through an audio track.

“With the EP, we played around with digital production to create beats with mini audio files that are going to serve as instrumental beats and melodies behind our live instruments,” Benion said. 

This style of musical production most impacted the bands drummer Emmett “E-Nash” Ray, who will have these beats blare into his eardrum during live shows as he serves as the backbeat to the band. 

“This is mostly used by our drummer, Emmett so he can stay on beat. As long as he’s on beat we’ll be on beat,” Benion said. 

Although there is contrast between “Foot On The Gas” and the band’s other heavy works, it offers a continuity of some its previous singles. 

“It hits along the same lines as our singles ‘Mad’ and ‘Savage Season’ in that it features singable lyrics,” said Smith. 

One element is the catchy choruses exuded on tracks like “Foot On The Gas” and “Pedal To The Metal.”

“‘Foot On The Gas’ and ‘Pedal to the Metal’ are both really engaging,” said vocalist Ashton Vaughn Charles. “They’re different enough to where they offer a contrast,” Smith adds. 

However, Charles was most eager to give the five songs off of the EP a home outside of earbuds and speakers. 

The album was originally planned to coincide Color 8’s tour alongside metal acts Don Broco and The Plot In You, but when the tour was postponed in light of some unfortunate events out of the Don Broco camp, the band had to think of a new way to market the EP. 

This led the band back to where it all began, playing First Fridays in downtown Phoenix. 

They played the EP in addition to several other tunes the night of its release in front of a rowdy crowd that congregated around the band for the first time in over two years singing lyrics back to the band and causing a ruckus over the course of the bands three-hour setlist. 

This gave Charles a chance to do what he loves the most once again. 

“We love making the crowd sing lyrics with us or even for us,” Charles said. “Then with the heavier songs, we like the crowd to get active so that they feel like they’re a part of the band.” 

Although the band does not have any timetable on when they will hit the road in support of Don Broco and The Plot In You, The Color 8 is basking in the positive feedback it has received from its latest work and hopes that the tracks prompt listeners to exit their musical comfort zones. 

“We hope that people try something new and allow themselves to open to something that they’ve never experienced,” Benion said.


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