An Interview with Gone West
Words from Colbie Caillat
1. How did the band come into existence? How did you meet?
Taking you back to the beginning, 14 years ago Jason and I met. It was 2005 and he moved from Iowa to Southern California where I’m from. We went on hikes and to the beach everyday and for fun wrote my whole first album Coco together. Shortly after that we met Justin. I was a fan of his music from Hawaii and asked him to join my band to play guitar and sing. We got to travel the world together playing music and after 2 and a half years of being friends we fell in love. We started dating in 2009 and have been together for almost 10 years now. That was the same year Jason met Nelly in Nashville. They met in a co-write for Nelly’s duo group The JaneDear Girls, Jason had a crush on her but they stayed friends for a few years and eventually fell madly in love. They have been married for over 7 years now. So we have all been hanging out together between 10-14 years, traveling, writing or playing music, or just hanging out. 3 years ago Justin and I moved to Nashville because we wanted to try living in a new city and Jason and Nelly lived there. That fall we all went on tour together for my album The Malibu Sessions. Justin opened the show with his music, Jason and Nelly also opened the show with songs from their duo group High Dive Heart, and during my show it was the four of us up on stage performing my album from start to finish and that was the first spark of the idea of this band. We loved the hang and singing 4 part harmony. We got back to Nashville and that summer wrote our first song together for Gone West.
2. Why the name Gone West?
When we first got together, we didn’t have our band name yet. My sister suggested we should have something with the word West in it and she threw out Go West. But that’s an 80’s band so we kept brainstorming and came up with Gone West cause we are all from West of Tennessee (Iowa, Texas, California & Hawaii) and always say we’ve gone west when we go visit back home.
3. How would you describe your sound/what makes you unique?
The sound of our music is very organic. Acoustic instruments, 4 part harmony, the steel guitar, soaring melodies and storytelling in our songs which are surprisingly mostly about heartbreak. We all grew up listening to the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac so those were big influences.
4. What is it like to work with both your friends and partners? Does that create a different dynamic?
Working together as friends and significant others can be really fun! We all feel lucky we get to travel and play music with our favorite people.
5. What was the inspiration for your new single “What Could've Been”?
We wrote “what could’ve been” with our friend Jamie Kenney. It was inspired by someone from his past, but we all instantly related to it when he played us the idea. It’s about looking back on a past love and wondering what you could’ve done better, maybe a few small differences could have changed the outcome of that relationship.
6. What opportunity has been the most exciting for you thus far?
Our favorite opportunity so far has been performing at The Opry in Nashville and it was our debut performance as a band which was so incredible.
7. Who has been your greatest encourager?
We have a wonderful team who keeps motivating us. Our manager Chad and our label Triple Tigers. Also the writers who first took a chance on us before we were anything Tom Douglas, Liz Rose, Jamie Kenny, Eric Arjes and Jimmy Robbins.
8. Why do you love music?
We love music and song writing cause it’s not only therapeutic for the listener but for us as the writers. You can write a song and bring it to life with the production and write about what you are going through in life and we also write about people around us as well.