Get to Know: Collen the frontman from the band Bent Roads Tavern

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing frontman Collen from the Canadian indie folk band Bent Roads Tavern (BRT). In the interview, we talked about Collen’s background in music, the creation of BRT, his musical influences and so much more!

Collen Middleton

When did you first have the epiphany that you wanted to have music as a career?

Music has been a part of my life since I was a young child. I grew up in a family with my grandfather a classical pianist, and my uncle a new-wave drummer. I got involved in concert band in elementary school, and guitar and rock/jazz bands in high school. I have always had at least one musical project on the go since I was 10 years old, so it is just part of my life. The career aspect of it is more like a life-long pursuit. Sometimes it makes money, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it’s a committed undertaking, and sometimes it’s just for kicks. The other musicians in the group all have analogous backstories 🙂

Tell us about the creation of Bent Roads Tavern? How would you describe your music?

Bent Roads Tavern started as a folk-roots-jazz jam band on campus at The University of British Columbia in 2001. We wrote, performed and recorded jazz and blues infused folk songs with ample room for improvisation by all of the musicians. We were most active between 2001 and 2007, and we are now going through a revival of sorts as we tell our story and write and record new material in the coming year.

Hard Reset

Please share the details of your latest single.

Our most recent feature track, “Steeples and Turntables (III)” is the second single from our August 31st release, The Legend of Bent Roads Tavern Volume 3&4. It is the third iteration of a song that has been rearranged more times than any of our songs, but the third (III) version is the one I like the best. It is an intentionally noisy and obscured vocal line under an arpeggiated piano line accompanied by guitar/bass/drums in an attempt to articulate the effects of the digital age on humanity generally. Listeners can hear the track on Spotify, SoundCloud, iTunes/Apple Music, Bandcamp, and YouTube.

Name the artists whose works you most admire/are influenced by.

I am influenced by a range of artists from blues, americana, punk, modern rock and post-rock. To name a few of my favourite artists, I’ll mention The Tragically Hip, Alanis Morrisette, Radiohead, Green Day, Rancid, R.E.M., Robert Johnson, MuteMath, Do Make Say Think, Hey Rosetta!, Half Moon Run, The Beatles, Dave Matthews Band, Cake, Jimi Hendrix, The White Stripes, Mumfrod & Sons, Bob Dylan, Metric, and Florence & the Machine.

What are you currently working on?

Right now we are meticulously recording material for an upcoming release in late spring/early summer 2021 that we haven’t formally announced yet – stay tuned!

What can we next look forward to from you?

On Saturday, October 17, The Legend of Bent Roads Tavern Volume 5 begins pre-order on iTunes and the official lyric video for the first single, Rainstorm, will be released. The full Volume 5 will be released on Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, SoundCloud and Bandcamp on Friday, November 6!

Thank you so much Collen for your time and for sharing exciting details with us. I highly recommend listening to BRT, especially if you enjoy the indie folk music genre. Stay tuned for more updates on the band and you can follow them on all the usual social media platforms.

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