Cody Qualls plays Red Rocks 9/11 Stair Climb
Cody Qualls has spent fifteen years writing and performing with Face Vocal Band, so his bandmates gave him a strong start at the band’s August 13 performance at the Arvada Center. He considers his bandmates like brothers, so it was a great moment.
“They took all the music I had written for the band and put it together on a compilation of originals for me and released it as a surprise tribute,” Qualls said. “It was really festive. It was a nice way to part ways.
Qualls says the split was totally amicable, and he left Face Vocal to focus on his growing family and his solo project Cody Qualls and the Brand New Ancients, which performs at the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at the Red Rocks Amphitheater on Sunday, September 11. at 10 a.m., The Brand New Ancients features guitarist and producer Justin Long, bassist Adrienne Osborn, keyboardist Bryan Stax and drummer Greg Tan.
The group is a stylistic departure for Qualls, as it is not an acapella vocal group like Face Vocal, and he sees it as a return to his roots in rock bands. He plans to release an EP consisting mostly of originals later this year.
“I first came to a rock band called Kindred,” he says. “We played in hundreds of bars and venues before I was 21. The scene was very different back then. Brethren Fast was killing it, Opie Gone Bad. It was a whole different atmosphere. »
Kindred brought his alternative rock styles to the Bluebird Theatre, Soiled Dove and Herman’s Hideaway. After his disappearance, Qualls teamed up with the Face Vocal Band, which enjoyed local and national success, including performances at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall.
The Brand New Ancients play pop infused with rock and hip-hop elements – Qualls was heavily influenced by the latter as a young man – and write originals and add a healthy helping of “clever covers”.
“We’re doing a pretty cool take on ‘Achy Breaky Heart’,” he says. “I know it’s hard for some people to believe it could ever be cool, but it’s a great song. It sticks in your head.
Qualls says the group worked with hip-hop dance choreographers to incorporate dance elements into the live show. Overall, Qualls sees a Brand New Ancients show as a party with “down-to-earth messages that are hopefully delivered to community, connection, and healing the human condition.”
He adds that when he says this he is not standing on a moral platform and trying to steer anyone to any agenda. Gigs are about getting together and trying to find community.
“It’s such a crazy time right now, such a crazy time in history,” Qualls says. “It’s just raw. It would be hard for me to believe that there really are people who don’t feel some kind of ripple from what we’ve been through for the past few years. We try to bring people together to heal and connect.
He adds that his time with Face Vocal taught him to connect more with the public; it’s a skill set he’s glad to have gleaned from watching his bandmates for fifteen years. He’s looking forward to putting those skills to good use leading a more traditional rock band.
“I have my own space to go wild,” he says. “I have a ton of music that I’m constantly writing and producing and it’s been a little more room for that to come to the fore.”
When he writes music, Qualls says, he thinks about the human experience, not just his own but people in general. People are connected by a common ground of knowing something is wrong, a collective pain, and a yearning for something more.
“What I want to write about is hinting at more,” he says. “If people feel this, they are not alone. I feel like that. Did you go through some shit? Did you experience things that helped you grow, but do you also have a wound? You’re not alone.”
He adds that he wants his music to have a purpose, but still be fun to listen to.
“I try to put that into fun, upbeat songs,” he says. “I try to put that into deeper ballads. I put that in rock songs, in hip hop songs. Not everything is heavy, but there is definitely a purpose and an intention.
The 9/11 Stair Climb begins at 8 a.m., Red Rocks Amphitheater, 183000 West Alameda Parkway, Morrison. To register for the event ($35), visit 911stairclimb.com.