Miami indie-folk band Stillblue is back with a new single, "Paint Me Funny," set for release on April 28. But the quintet's once vibrantly hued social media pages have been bled of all their color — even the band's signature warm blue — in preparation for the drop and the EP that will follow.
According to drummer Diego Gamez, the drastic change signals a sonic shift for the band.
"It's kind of like a palate cleanser," he says. "We haven't stripped ourselves of everything, but we are introducing people to this updated Stillblue. There's no color — it's like a blank slate. You can take it wherever you want."
Frontman Enrique Rosell assures that the monochrome theme is temporary, and fans of Stillblue's warm strumming and feathery vocals shouldn't be concerned. The change symbolizes the band closing the gap between live performances and studio recordings.
Because the band came together amid the pandemic, the current lineup of songs is primarily the work of Rosell and members Daniel Estrada and Sofia Soriano, which occurred during limited in-person recording sessions. That meant a disconnect existed between the band's slower-paced, stripped-down recordings and more upbeat, full-sounding live shows. "Paint Me Funny" and subsequent material includes more creative input from bassist Yamil Granda and Gamez, who joined the band when much of the previous EP, Flora, was already written.
"At our core, we are a soft, indie-folk, reflective band, but once we brought in Diego and Yamil, and we started really playing live, our sound changed," Rosell explains. "We want that to be reflected, and we want our songs to be more dynamic and full, the way we play them live."
Stillblue's two-day stint at Animal Studios last October also nurtured experimentation. At the Miami-based recording space, the group ironed out the demos for the upcoming EP, including live drums for the tracks — a first for the band.
"At Animal, there was a little electric toy organ that we were like, 'Why don't we have this play like a chord in the intro?' And we got some nice acoustic guitars for more texture," Soriano says. "I think [the new EP] is a lot more textural."
Though "Paint Me Funny" was already in the final stages of sound mixing during their first statewide tour, the band was still discussing mix notes for the tracks during the tail end of their trip — which was fraught with disaster. Some lowlights included killing multiple roaches in a motel room, a questionable hole in the bathroom wall, and a dishonest booking agent. In a video diary of the tour uploaded to YouTube, Rosell's face is in visible shock when a venue manager in Jacksonville asks who booked their show.
"It was like a rite of passage," Gamez says. "I think of everything like romanticized, you know? You've gotta romanticize all that stuff. It was really shitty, but it was a lot of fun."
"At that point ["Paint Me Funny'] was in its final stages, but still, just getting away from Miami and getting to be somewhere different kind of gave us a different perspective," Estrada adds. "We did make a couple of changes after that."
Apart from a change in the color palette, Stillblue hopes to release a music video for "Paint Me Funny." Various other artistic flourishes like poetry and exclusive sounds greet followers who email the address in the band's Instagram bio. Giving listeners a range of ways to interact with Stillblue is as vital to the group as giving them a taste of the band's new sound.
"It's like, we're building a world, you know," Gamez says.
"It's more about the experience of these songs as a whole versus like, 'Oh, let's just add a visual to this song,'" Soriano adds.