Catching up with The Collingwood

Band releases video for its new single, ‘Confetti’

the collingwood
The Collingwood, from left, Greg Lundmark, Chris Malinowski, James Boruch and Jim Pennington, just released a video for their new single, ‘Confetti.’ | Image: The Collingwood

Delaware Valley-based The Collingwood has just released a video for its new single, “Confetti.”

Directed by the band’s Chris Malinowski, the video features guest singer Jules Corridori and was photographed by Ian Mosley-Duffy of Philadelphia and edited by Colby Bartine of Brooklyn. 

“Confetti” is the first single from the group’s full-length album, which they are in the throes of recording with University of the Arts graduate Rich Degnars of DaSa Studios.  

Formed in 1999 by guitarist/filmmaker Malinowski, The Collingwood blends cinema-driven, minor-key melodies with elements of post-rock and 1970’s-soul, creating shadowy dance numbers, both contemplative and severe. The Collingwood is renowned for its impetuous live performances, equal parts drama and ass-shake.

PW recently caught up with Malinowski to talk about the new video and more.

Jules Corridori is featured in The Collingwood’s new video, ‘Confetti.’ She’s pictured with the group’s Chris Malinowski. | Image: Ian Mosley-Duffy

The Collingwood was formed in 1999. Can you talk a little about how it formed and how it has evolved over the years?

At its inception, The Collingwood was designed to be an ambient guitar project with sparse, quiet vocals. Our goal was to create moody film scores, peppered with elements of rock music, to films that didn’t exist. I had just finished film school at Ithaca College in New York and was working with bassist Bill Bartram and his drum machine and listening to a lot of Labradford and The Chameleons. 

He soon moved to Seattle, and my long-time friend Anthony Sianni began playing bass with me, and this is when the project began to take proper shape. We added another friend, Josh Hendrix, on guitar, Jason Wray on drums, and Hallie Boyle on viola. Our first album “Why Cough? Save.” (2001) was a three-song release weighing in at 30 minutes or so. 

I grew up playing in the heavy metal band Freakshow in the ‘80s and the goth band The Absurd in the ‘90s, both of which were loud, ostentatious bands, so containing myself, physically, on stage, is not an option. I’m not a performer who stares at his shoes. I’m a fool. Thus, the second album “Sylvester to the Bzz Myapp Accompaniment” (2003) is a rock album, laced with lush, intertwining guitar ambience.

Following this record, I disappeared for a bit to write and direct a 16-millimeter, experimental film “‘Alms,’ You Say” (2007). When I resurfaced, I began writing songs with guitarist Jim Pennington, drummer James Boruch, and bassist Bill Ackerman. Tinged with voicings of artists like Curtis Mayfield, The Afghan Whigs, Antarctica and hints of prog-rock, this lineup recorded “The Pitter-Patter of Little Everything” (2010), a soulful, dark, rock record with tighter, grooving songs and louder vocals. 

I’m not a performer who stares at his shoes. I’m a fool.

– Chris Malinowski

Following this release, I was given financing to direct my first feature-length film, “Yes, Your Tide is Cold and Dark, Sir.” (2013), and, once again, I put The Collingwood on hold. However, our fourth record was birthed from the movie. The rock songs from this album are all included in The Collingwood’s current live set.

Me and my musical brethren, Jim Pennington and James Boruch, began playing out again shortly after and recruited bassist Greg Lundmark. In 2018, The Collingwood flew to Cincinnati to record our gritty single “I Like What You Do” with John Curley of The Afghan Whigs at his Ultrasuede Studios. Returning home, we continued to craft songs for our upcoming album “You Lust or You Rust,” and then I received financing to direct my second feature film, “The Last Time I Saw You Blessed,” which scattered my musical energies. After a dispute with the producer, the money was yanked from the movie, and I was able to return my heart to The Collingwood, and then the pandemic hit, and the song “Confetti” and its accompanying music video, with guest vocalist Jules Corridori, came to fruition.

You recently released a video for your new single, “Confetti.” How did both the song and video come together? What’s been the reaction of your fans?

The Collingwood has not performed or rehearsed since March of 2020. With my second feature film in pre-production limbo, my time has been spent teaching guitar students virtually (which has been my primary gig for the past 20 years), distance running, gorging on arthouse/cult cinema, and hosting tiny, socially-distant dinner gatherings with my lovely wife, Chrissy. After my work day, in the warmer weather, I retire with wine and an acoustic guitar to an outdoor fire at our home in Fair Hill, Maryland. 

One such afternoon in September, I began to feel an achy, late-afternoon existential-longing, and I started picking through a C Major 7/9 chord that I kind of hated. We just lost Chrissy’s mom, and our home and tree-lined yard were cast in metaphorical shadow. To boot, I missed our friends. I came up with a melody line and lyrics pleading with the gods and goddesses of nature to guide my listlessness. The song felt more like an emotional exercise than an actual song until I reached the chorus with the proclamation, “I want to explode my love on this world. Live it wet and make it personal.” 

Now, I had a mantra and a song. I decided I was going to record the song on my own with engineer Rich Degnars at DaSa Studios. I just wanted it to be guitar and vocals, kind of like a lost Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (who I love) demo. 

The video imagery comes from my interest in the occult, with its contrasting light and darkness, and the idea of the divine feminine as an otherworldly mentor and power, in domesticity and in nature. 

– Chris Malinowski

Jules Corridori is one of my 16-year-old guitar students. She sings like no one I’ve ever heard, and I mean this with every fiber of my being. I always told her that I was going to include her on a recording by The Collingwood. I called her mom, Laura, a long-time friend, and we set it up. In the midst of recording, Jules was coming up with harmonies that I’m not smart enough to create, and the song took on a supernatural feel. In fact, I chose one of those harmonies to open the song. Rich added some percussion, and a pagan-esque, drum circle atmosphere emerged. 

I knew a video was warranted. I contacted Philadelphia cinematographer Ian Mosley-Duffy and Brooklyn editor Colby Bartine. I have an awesome entourage of solid, female artist friends who agreed to appear, along with my wife, who introduced me to some ruins she found in the Fair Hill trail system that appear in the video. The video imagery comes from my interest in the occult, with its contrasting light and darkness, and the idea of the divine feminine as an otherworldly mentor and power, in domesticity and in nature. 

I think our fans/friends are quite intrigued by the song and the video. I always try to maintain a sense of the poetic in my lyrics and visuals.

“Confetti” is the first single from your first full-length album, which you’re in the process of recording. How is it coming along? When do you think it will be released?

We’re in pre-production for the remainder of the material, setting tempos and ironing out the logistics of the songs. Honestly, recording is always quite smooth and easy with Rich Degnars at the proverbial helm. I can be controlling, but I trust him with anything, especially mix-related. He just knows more than I do. We’ll record in shifts, one or two people at a time. For the most part, this has been our process anyway. “You Lust or You Rust” should be released in early-fall, a season that suits our aesthetic.

How has the pandemic affected The Collingwood? Did it disrupt the production process or cancel live dates?

The Collingwood booked no live shows after March of 2020, so the pandemic took away our ability to perform and rehearse. We’ve been offered live streams, and that’s not out of the question, but I really like feeding off of an audience’s presence. I dig the symbiotic energy of the “band + audience” equation. Recording was most definitely put on hold due to the pandemic, but the simplicity of laying down “Confetti” has allowed us to ease into the fold, thankfully.

You’ve got ties to the Delaware Valley area. What’s the music scene like these days – pandemic notwithstanding? Is this an area where artists can thrive?

I’m often overwhelmed by some of the brash originality of the groups on the Delaware/Pennsylvania/Maryland circuit. Any band who takes chances artistically, knowing that they’re not going to be loved by all, is a band that piques my curiosity.

Like The Collingwood, these bands are not creating for airplay or arena audiences, they just want to express and hope it resonates…with someone. I think musicians can thrive here (or anywhere) if they remain true to their craft without regard for audience opinion. The “thriving” is in the idea that an artist is in love with her/his own creation and is able to find footing, camaraderie, and an organic following on the local scene via the integrity of their work.

What are the best ways for your fans to stay connected with The Collingwood?

linktr.ee/thecollingwood is the best method of hearing/seeing The Collingwood’s music. As well, when watching The Collingwood’s “Confetti” official music video, I’d recommend viewing it on Vimeo rather than YouTube, as Vimeo maintains the integrity of our 4K video footage with no sound or picture degradation.

On social media, you can find The Collingwood at: facebook.com/thecollingwoodmusic and instagram.com/thecollingwoodmusic.

  • Eugene Zenyatta was raised on old-time Memphis 'rasslin' and strongly prefers the company of dogs to people. His greatest heartbreak came in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic.

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