Rock Singer Garret Rapp of The Color Morale Talks about Hope

Josh Bechler Writer for Rocking God's HouseThe Color Morale is a post-hardcore metal band out of Rockford, Illinois. Major themes of the band’s music include religion, battles with mental illness, and positivity and hope for people during times of struggle. The band is set to spend the majority of 2014 on the Van’s Warped Tour. They do not consider themselves a Christian band, although the entire group considers themselves Christians. A few other bands I have talked with in this genre agree about calling themselves a “Christian band.” They feel the title is actually more of a marketing tool than an actual belief system of sorts. So whether The Color Morale wants to label themselves or not, they are sure giving hope through their music, sending positive messages, and reaching all sorts of people who relate to what the band is doing. It seems that morality is a common thread of the group, rendering an appropriate name in The Color Morale. Vocalist Garret Rapp has had his fair shares of ups and downs, and he is not shy or insecure to share them. He is an open book about his inner demons and struggles. The band is signed with Rise Records, and they are spreading their positive messages to the masses like a wildfire. Call them what you want, but there is no denying that they are making a huge impact.

The Color Morale has became known as a band with a message of hope. Please comment on this?

I’ve spent nothing short of a lifetime searching for peace and resolution in who I am and what I’m doing in my life. Touring full time in a band kind of forces you to put things into perspective whether you’re prepared to or not. I found, in my travels, that being elevated four feet above an audience gave me a platform to collect pairs of eyeballs in abundant quantities every single night of the week. I then learned that I was surrounded in a scene where kids have been preprogrammed to feel with their eyeballs, which gave me even more of an opportunity to speak assertively and authentically to kids needing more out of music. This gave me the resolution that my purpose in music was to be the voice I needed to hear, I need to hear, and I want to hear. Hope has been the message that has given me peace and resolution as well as purpose, to always strive towards a goal.

Could your share some struggles in your own life and some steps you have taken to overcome them?

This list could go on for paragraphs. I’ve learned that although many have it far far worse than I did growing up, I grew up with certain obstacles and disadvantages. Being out traveling and talking to the youth every night has really shown me that kids struggle with far more than what seemed prevalent to me at my age. I also learned that I shared a common bond and connection by making myself so open. It’s difficult to retell stories every single night of painful and detrimental experiences in my life. I’ve learned however, that in doing so I make myself relatable to kids going through the exact same things I have. This gives me a huge responsibility to keep myself purpose-driven when I’m on the road. I have no time or energy to subscribe to the party band lifestyle. My purpose is to be honest to kids so I can help them — so they can help me.

Can you share some positivity that you have encountered with a fan?

I hear stories of hope nightly on tour. This last run we did there wasn’t a single night of that tour I didn’t meet someone at our merch table with “know hope” or “hope never loses us” tattooed on their skin. You know what? I just answered the question there. I’ve struggled with depression and I’ve struggled with suicide. Being out in the world in another country or state and meeting someone face to face with my words branded on them for the rest of their life is the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. This is rewarding because I know that instead of giving up, I locked myself in a sound proof room every day for two months and recorded Know Hope. I didn’t write lyrics, I wrote my life. In doing so, I saved others. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but every day is an opportunity. People like myself have to choose daily which they want to subscribe to, positivity or negativity. You can still lead a positive life, even with a negative mind.

As a band are you all comfortable with the influence over people that you are accumulating?

I believe the essence of what we are as a band is that: a message of hope. I try to coordinate ideas, thought processes, and messages nightly while I’m on tour. This is a task in itself for me as I struggle heavily at times with Attention Deficit Disorder, but ultimately it is a great challenge for me to work towards and through. As long as The Color Morale is a band, and I’m speaking on behalf of it, it will have the message of sustainability through the belief of hope — that one simple abundantly used word. You know what? In a music scene that’s constantly fueled by trend I’m OK with that word becoming a common trend within the message of bands and music scenes. There’s enough garbage out there void of meaning and validity. Kids are hurting themselves; they need a reason not to, and not a distraction. The youth of today grow numb; my message reminds them that someone is here to show them how to feel.

Hope never loses us.