Tight, Toned, & Sensual: An Interview with Boulder's Root Rock Trio Augustus

By: Hannah Oreskovich and Zach Dahmen

Augustus is making some great Americana noise in the scene.

In honor of their upcoming Fox Theatre show, we sat down with Augustus recently over some tasty Twisted Pine brews and talked drunken jam sessions, songwriting in the Boulder music scene, and what's next on deck for this Boulder band.

So tell us how the three of you got started playing together.

Jesse: We got together through drunkenness and jam sessions.

Jim: Haha yeah- actually we met at a Whiskey Autumn show.

Colin: Yeah Pete Laffin introduced us. I was doing a bunch of open mics around town like at the Catacombs and Conor’s and I’d seen [Jim].

Jim: Jesse and I used to be in a different band awhile back too.

Jesse: Yeah and so once we were all introduced I was like, ‘Hey you play stuff? Then come to my jam session.’ I was hosting jam sessions once a week and so we got together and started playing.

Colin: At the time, I was hosting The Lab at Amante and eventually the guys started coming in and we would do one song live. I was bringing in a bunch of artists [for it] and playing with some of them. And I remember one of the first times I played a show to no one- like it was my girlfriend and Becky and that was it. But then these guys started coming and we learned more songs [together] and more people started showing up.

And here I have to interject. First- because I remember attending an Augustus lab session that was so crowded at Amante that it was hard to even get inside, let alone order a latte. So these guys are being modest about the eventual success they built there. And second- because as Augustus is telling me about their formation, Hunter Stone has commandeered the previously ended open-mic night and his bleeding vocals are bringing us an awesome version of “Dont Let Me Down” that is worth mentioning. But I digress.

Colin on strings. Photo Credit: Levi Bechtel  

Colin on strings. Photo Credit: Levi Bechtel
 

So where did the name Augustus come from?

Jesse: We liked Augustus because it’s a Roman, imperial, one-word name. I also liked Brutus and the Backstabbers though. I mean mostly we came up with a lot of awesome metal-sounding band names.

Jim: Yeah like Signwolf.

Signwolf?

Colin: I told them I would not be in the band if we went by Signwolf.

[All three laugh]

Jim: We were Tusk for a month and realized there’s a three-piece from the UK operating under that name.

Jesse: Yeah and a Fleetwood Mac album and a movie.

Colin: Yeah which is funny because a few have popped up after us.

Multiple Augustus’? Augusti?

Jesse: Yeah but now we’re safe! Augustus is trademarked!

Jesse bowing us away. Photo Credit: Levi Bechtel  

Jesse bowing us away. Photo Credit: Levi Bechtel
 

Nice. So tell us about your writing process.

Jesse: Well it starts with Colin coming in with song ideas. Sometimes fully baked; sometimed half-baked… And definitely the arrangement process is a longer process that evolves over time. Like if we’re adding different bridges or interludes or instrumental parts... that kind of stuff blooms over six months or a year as opposed to thinking of [it] as a creation or performance process. The arrangement and decoration and filling out happens over time. [A] song that sits with us that we thought we were happy with, we will actually revisit or something else will pop out and a bunch of new things will happen and we will be even happier with it.

So you guys mentioned that you met at a Whiskey Autumn show; you connected through Amante. Can you speak to the Boulder scene in music and what that’s been like for you?

Colin: Four years ago, there was a scene here. I would go around and watch bands like Hot Soup or Dechen and those groups are definitely still doing it… but we are amongst this group of folks like Whiskey Autumn or Foxfeather who are kind of the underbelly of the Boulder scene and have started to grab a little more attention. And I think the real affirmation [of this attention] for me was the most recent [Whiskey Autumn] CD release show; seeing how many people walked through the door [for all of us]. You know- [the reason] we all ever went to that Whiskey Autumn show at Johnny’s was because for years I had played there to zero f*cking people and suddenly [Whiskey Autumn] was playing there and it was a 180 degree turn. [They were] bringing in people to check out something different than what other groups were doing. And I think [it’s because] the scene we’re in has taken its roots in songwriting. That’s what I came here to do. I wanted to write good songs and I wanted to be around people who do that and there is a lot of evidence of people writing great songs here. And that’s what breeds a scene that people will give attention to: great songwriting and original music.

Lean with it. Photo Credit: Augustus  

Lean with it. Photo Credit: Augustus
 

I could definitely see that. So what can we expect from your set at the Fox this week?

Jim: It’s a short set, so we have the ability to make it tight and concise and kind of give a nice splattering of what we have to offer.

Jesse: But just don’t call it a splattering to anyone else

Jim: We’re gonna call it a splattering to everyone.

Jesse: It’s gonna have acoustic and electric and a real tight splattering for everyone. We’re gonna make concise statements with the solos and put the songs end to end and stack as much material as we can get into people’s ears in that amount of time.

Jim recently at Mad House. Photo Credit: Augustus  

Jim recently at Mad House. Photo Credit: Augustus
 

Awesome! So after this show, what’s next for Augustus?

Jim: Well we’re heading to the studio again- Mad House Studio in Leadville. It’s where we recorded our last EP. Before we tracked the whole thing live with minimal overdubbing and we’re hoping to do kind of the same thing this time.

Colin: Yeah we are super stoked to be doing another album. We have all the songs, so it’s great to be getting them out there. It’s great to get them done and out of the way so there is room for more songwriting.

Jesse: Last time we did 2 days; 30 hours in the studio. We woke up, drank coffee, got in and did 16 or 20 hours, and then we drank heavily and went to sleep and did the same thing again. This one is gonna be tight, toned, and sensual. What’s not to like?

And what about the rest of the summer?

Jim: We have shows once a month in Estes Park, once a month here [at Twisted Pine], and a few cool gigs in places we haven’t played before. A lot of Front Range stuff and we’re talking about doing a long weekend in Durango/Grand Junction, which is in the works. We’d love to conquer Denver. If you’re reading this UMS, we would love to be a part of your delightful festival. Denver’s an elusive place, but we definitely want to play more there.

So there you have it. Get tight, toned, and sensual with Augustus this Saturday at the Fox, opening for Paul Kimbiris and The Paper Stars.

-Hannah & Zach

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter. Connect with Zach on Instagram.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.