If you ask any barista to describe what they love about working in a cafe, I can almost guarantee that “community” will be among the top ranked answers. There is something indescribable about the buzz of a full cafe and as a barista, having the unique opportunity to interact with so many individuals, each one with a different story to tell. Coffee inevitably creates conversation, and as you get to know your regulars, you will find out very quickly that this city is fuelled by the creativity, passion and motivation that resides within its residents and something that should be made abundantly clear is the extent of incredible talent in our very own city. We have the privilege of serving some incredible individuals, and we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to them.
Our first Artist Spotlight focuses on Colin Carbonera, and if you visit the Britannia location at any frequency you’ve likely seen him there. Colin has been a loyal Monogram advocate for years, and we are so happy to introduce him to you!
Colin Carbonera is a producer & singer-songwriter based in Calgary, AB. Raised on a wide palette of musical influences, Colin’s work combines the familiarity of organic textures with fresh and relevant sounds. His love for music is underscored by the desire for connection and the role that music itself plays in our relationships and worldview.
As a multi-instrumentalist, Colin plays with a few local acts, including the pop project Rabino. His song “Manic Panic” (Rabino) is currently nominated for The YYC Music Awards Pop Recording of the Year. When he isn’t mixing records or geeking over audio gear, you can find him enjoying his coffee by the river or accidentally stepping on his kids’ LEGO pieces.
(This kid's LEGO pieces ^^)
Jill: What made you decide to pursue art?
Colin: Growing up my parents placed me in piano lessons and did quite a bit to foster a “creative environment” and passion for art (both visual & auditory), but it wasn’t until after I graduated high school that I viewed a career in the arts as a viable option for myself. I think I started out wanting to create the sounds from my favourite albums and that quickly branched out into the fascination of tinkering with infinite sonic possibilities. I knew I wanted to make records for the rest of my life, and the thought of using music & lyrics to connect with listeners on a global scale was and is something that is at the forefront of my “why”.
Who or what have been your biggest inspirations so far to date though your creative journey?
My community— the people around us and our collective stories, pop culture, spirituality & faith, the unknown.
Do you have any rituals, “must haves”, or favourite places you go to for when you work?
No session is ready to go without a cup of coffee (morning/afternoon) or jasmine/rice tea (evening). An essential would have to be one of those coasters that keeps your drink warm— I’m a notoriously slow sipper! Fave place to meet with clients is Monogram Britannia, duh!
You have a lot of talented friends in the music industry around the city, if you could name just one local fave, who are they and why?
I’ve got a lot of love and respect for local singer-songwriter, Wyatt C. Louis. He’s a gifted lyricist and brings something to the table that is uniquely him. Wyatt writes with depth and vulnerability beyond his years, and is able to marry that to a musical performance that invites people in from the first chord strummed. Aside from that, one of the kindest human beings I know.
Oh, good one! We also love Wyatt and his partner just happens to be our amazing assistant manager at our Altadore location (shout out to Kait)!
What is your all time favourite musical artist?
Ms. Lauryn Hill, or maybe Death Cab for Cutie.
Do you have a favourite song that you’ve written or produced?
I do but it’s not out yet. It’s called “Magnolia Winter”, co-produced with my friend Phenix Warren. We tracked all the instruments between his studio, Alta. Sound, and mine, and recorded the vocals at OCL. Have a few vocal kinks to work out but I think it’ll be released by Spring 2021, hopefully sooner!
How many instruments do you play, and do you have a favourite to play?
Five instruments! I think piano is what I naturally gravitate towards; it’s the instrument I’ve spent the most time with.
What is the first song you ever performed?
Probably “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” at my first ever piano recital. But vocally it would have to be the solo from Rent’s “Seasons of Love” in choir, Grade 9.
Rumour has it that you once played the role of Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast in a musical...
Where are your favourite venues in Calgary to watch live music?
Commonwealth / The Palomino, but my favourite setting to watch live music is at an intimate house or backyard show.
What has been your all time favourite concert that you’ve been to?
Can I list two? My wife and I saw Gregory Alan Isakov at Commonwealth, and for his song “The Universe” they turned off all the lights and turned on these illuminated world globes— made for such a beautiful moment. LANY played at MacEwan Hall later that year and that show was everything we wanted it to be.
If you could sit down for coffee with any musician dead or alive, who would that be and why?
I would love to have coffee with George Daniel of The 1975 and pick his brain about production and audio design. I think The 1975 has paved the way for many current bands/artists sonically and lyrically— they have certainly inspired me as a producer and songwriter.
Do you have any exciting projects coming up? If so, can you tell us about them?
My friend, Phenix Warren, and I are currently co-producing Wyatt C. Louis’ debut record. Each session we’ve had has been such a meaningful and creative experience; please keep your eyes & ears open for Wyatt’s release. I’ve also wrapped up post-production for local artist Denise Valle’s upcoming debut EP. This project has been in the works for two years and we’re excited to see it take off. My band Rabino will be releasing some new music soon as well.
How has COVID affected your music? Have you done anything creative during this time that you otherwise wouldn’t have done?
When COVID shut everything down, I was mainly focused on my pop project Rabino, and although we weren’t gigging very much we had to cancel our EP release show and all future performances for the foreseeable future. We did a “live” self-distanced performance video of one of the songs off the EP but not much since then.
A few months in, I decided to launch my production company and spend more time helping others record and release their own music. I had already been approaching my music from a global perspective, so not much changed other than having a little more time to dig into my craft, listen, and create. I’ve done a handful of co-writes since COVID happened and it’s a practice I’m (slowly) becoming more comfortable with.
Totally switching gears here...what is your favourite food?
Ah, the hardest question of all! Three-way tie between pho, sushi, and pad thai.
Honestly, I get it - how can you really choose just ONE favourite?! I support this three way tie, all great choices!
Do you make coffee at home? IF so, how?
French press, but my love language is someone making it for me. Haha!
And, last but certainly not least, what is your coffee order?
Oat Milk Condensed Milk Latte (hot or iced) — an iconic drink!
Next time you see Colin sitting in the booth at Britannia, go over and say hi! And, now we all know his drink order so send one his way if you're feeling generous!
Below is the music video for Rabino's nominated song, Manic Panic, make sure to click, watch and enjoy!
You can listen to Rabino's full album on any music streaming platform.