Copeland has reunited to release their sixth album after calling it quits in 2009. Here’s what you need to know:
• Copeland formed in Lakeland, Florida in 2001. The band’s first album, Beneath Medicine Tree, came out in 2003 on indie label The Militia Group. The album’s layered melodies, combined with Marsh’s thoughtful, emotive croon, immediately engaged music fans, offering a nuanced take on the emo music of the early ‘00s. The group unveiled four subsequent albums between 2005 and 2008, including Eat, Sleep, Repeat on Columbia Records in 2006. Copeland signed with Tooth & Nail in 2008 and have partnered with the label to release their long awaited sixth album, Ixora.
• In their heyday, the band played over 200 shows a year. They’ve toured with Brand New, Sparta, Goo Goo Dolls, The Rentals, Bob Mould, Switchfoot, Motion City Soundtrack and Guster. Copeland has also historically supported new artists and Paramore’s first ever show was opening for Copeland in Nashville in 2004.
• Copeland officially broke up in October of 2009 after nine years as a band. They wrote on their website, “We have come to an extremely difficult decision. It has come time for us to move on from Copeland and follow other paths in our lives. To put your minds at ease, we assure you this is not a bitter break up. We all individually feel Copeland has run its course in our lives and it’s time for us to pursue what is next.” The band members added, “It has been discussed and we are not ruling out the possibility of recording one more album sometime in the future.”
• The band members have pursued other musical endeavors over the past few years. Aaron built his own studio in Florida and has produced for Anberlin, Anchor & Braille, Person L, This Wild Life, and Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk. Aaron worked on a hip-hop project called The Lulls in Traffic. Bryan, Stephen and Jonathan formed a new band, States, with Lydia singer Mindy White. The idea of making another album has always been in the back of their minds, however. “In my head I always felt like I had some other things to say and other things to do in the music,” Aaron says. “I feel like we just started to scratch the surface of what our sound was. I felt a sense of incompleteness with our recorded work so that was one of the reasons I wanted to do another record.”
• The musicians spent much of 2014 working on new music, pulling some tracks from older material they’d set aside (one song, “Like I Want You,” Aaron found in a folder on his computer from 2009 and appears on the new album as a preorder bonus track). Bryan and Stephen spent eight weeks in Florida at Aaron’s studio with Aaron at the
helm of the production. “It was like picking up where we left off,” Aaron notes.
• Ixora features a few notable contributions. The band brought in guest vocalist Steff Koeppen, who plays in Arizona band Steff and the Articles, to sing on several tracks, including “Chiromancer.” The final ten-track album was mixed by Michael Brauer, who has worked with everyone from Bob Dylan to Coldplay, at Electric Lady in New York.
• The music on Ixora, which is titled after a type of tropical flower found in Florida, is a logical continuation of Copeland’s emotional and atmospheric melodies. Aaron’s lyrics, however, represent a more mature take on life. “My life is drastically different as a 34-year-old dude married with two kids than it was as a homeless band dude with a lot of young person drama,” the singer says. “A lot of (the lyrics are) about my kids, my life and my family, and dealing with all of the mental and emotional issues that come with becoming a parent. There’s a happy-sad tone to it all, which has always been true of our music. It’s just less love songs than it used to be. In my mind, these lyrics are some of the best I’ve ever written.”
• This is likely not Copeland’s last musical effort. The band plans to play some shows in support of Ixora as it makes sense in their current lives and possibly write more music. “We all are thinking that there will be more albums in the future,” Aaron says. “I don’t know why we wouldn’t. We all enjoy making records together. As long as people want to hear them I think we’ll keep making them.”