Color Theory in 2017

Starting Young

2017 is nearly upon us! It’s going to be a make-or-break year for Color Theory. At age 48, it’s time for me to either accomplish the things I set out to accomplish, or hang up my hat. More on that in the coming weeks.

For now, let us bask in 2016. Despite being an emotional roller coaster, it was, objectively speaking, a good year for Color Theory:

➤ I released the full-length Adjustments album after 6 long years. If you still don’t have it, email me and I’ll send you a download code!

➤ I hit 2.4 million followers on Twitter! Crazy!

➤ I’ll hit 1 million spins on Pandora any day now.

Adjustments was downloaded over 300,000 times on BitTorrent, with my blessing.

➤ I completed several tracks to unveil next year, including a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Shake the Disease” that would be right at home on Color Theory presents Depeche Mode.

Outside of music, I ran nearly 2000 miles, meditated every day of the year, played a non-trivial amount of Dark Souls 3 and Overwatch, and watched a couple hundred hours worth of anime with my daughter. No complaints.

I hope you had an amazing Christmas! Let’s make magic together in 2017.


p.s. New t-shirts!


The Best Revenge (Rename Remixes)

The Best Revenge (Rename Remixes)

Adjustments, my 9th full-length album, was self-released 5 months ago today. My heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone who supported it. Not many people buy music these days, so you are especially appreciated! ❤️

A favorite from the album is “The Best Revenge”, which Rename masterfully remixed way back in the summer of 2014. Just last week he released a limited edition CD-R with four flavors of the remix, which you can get here.

Unless you follow me on Twitter, you’d be forgiven for thinking I disappeared for two months. Rest assured I’ve been working hard on new material! I’ve been holding myself accountable by posting weekly timesheets since the beginning of August.

In that time I completed a collaboration with UK recording artist Bentley Jones, and finally got around to recording a Depeche Mode cover (perhaps you’ve heard of them?) I wanted to do for years. All the while, Matt Mancid and I have been quietly recording covers since our collaboration on Pet Shop Boys “Rent”.

All told, there are a half dozen or so tracks ready to be released as part of a grand project – one that has the potential to change the way I release and promote my music for years to come. Whether it will work or not comes down to you! The pieces are slowly falling into place. More soon…


I Should’ve Kissed You (Beyolie Remix)

Beyolie Remix

1. Beyolie resurrects “I Should’ve Kissed You” from 2008’s The Thought Chapter. Download it free for one week, no account required.

2. My new song “The Timekeeper” is nearly complete! I’ve been sharing bits and pieces, including the full lyrics and a piano solo, on Twitter.

The Timekeeper lyrics

3. I wrote a detailed review of music submission platform MusicSUBMIT, if you’re into that sort of thing.

4. I’ve been playing a lot of Overwatch. One might say too much, if one were a grump. In any event, this animated short is surprisingly moving.

5. Something wicked(ly awesome) this way comes, soon! The pieces are slowly falling into place. Vague much? 😜

Too Close (an eloquent remix)


“Too Close” is my favorite Color Theory song (“Two” is right up there). While it feels pretentious to even admit I like my own song (not sure what’s up with that), this stanza never fails to grab me:

I see you when I look in the mirror
But in sleep we see through telescopes
Looking out over light years, not inches
Too close, too close.

Maybe it means a lot more to me than the words actually say, but when I hear them, I feel what I meant to say.

Randall’s remix captures that emotion in a lush, atmospheric, even dreamy remix that builds and falls away from that moment.

1. “Too Close (an eloquent remix)” is a free download for a week, so grab it – or at least give it an uninterrupted listen on headphones.

2. I had a wonderful conversation with Christopher Swan of Living Your Journey. I’ll let him describe it:

Christopher Swan chats with recording artist, Color Theory, better known to his friends and family as Brian Hazard. Color Theory is quite popular online, especially with fans of 80’s synthpop and Electronic Dance Music (EDM). As an independent artist, he has successfully released nine albums and has gathered millions of followers. He also runs an audio mastering company, where he uses his mastering skills to make other artists sound amazing. In today’s conversation, we discuss Brian’s musical career, how he balances his time as a recording artist, running a mastering company, spending time with his family, and still getting it all done. We also talk about using social media as an artist, what’s next for Color Theory, advice for artists just starting out, a practice of deep work, and much more.

You can listen here or check out the podcast on iTunes.

3. My album has been downloaded over 300 thousand times on BitTorrent – and that’s a good thing! BitTorrent featured it on their homepage, where it was downloaded a quarter million times in 24 hours. Crazy!

Hopefully some of those listeners will go on to become genuine fans.

You might be thinking, “Why did I pay $15 for a CD when you were just going to give it away a few weeks later?”

Because sales had slowed to a trickle, and BitTorrent exposed my music to hundreds of thousands of people who otherwise would never have heard it.

Of course, anyone could’ve downloaded it on BitTorrent anyway, or heard it for free on YouTube, Spotify, or my own Bandcamp page.

Your support is what makes it all possible! Without you, there wouldn’t have been an album to give away in the first place.

Adjustments on BitTorrent

4. If you’re a musician, check out my new review of pay-to-play internet radio platform Radio Airplay.


5. “OBE (Memoryy Remix)” was featured on three music blogs: Audio Drums, Cloudberry Mornings, and Acid Stag.

6. I made the leaderboard on our local 5K this 4th! It just goes to show, I’m getting old.

Surf City Run 5K

There’s plenty more day-to-day stuff including works-in-progress and even video game footage on Twitter!

Adjustments is Here – Hear it Now

I released my 8th full-length album, The Sound, in August of 2010. If you’d asked me then how long it would be until my next, I’d have said two years (while secretly hoping to pull it off in one). Which isn’t totally unreasonable, considering The Thought Chapter came out less than two years prior.

Six years later, here we are. Today I’m proud, excited, and more than a little bit relieved, to announce the release of my 9th full-length album, Adjustments. You can listen to it in its entirety, order a CD, or download the digital version here. Or iTunes if that’s your thing.

If you follow me on Spotify (please do!), you should have received an email announcing the album is available for streaming. While it’s true that artists only receive fractions of pennies per play, your plays help raise my visibility – so I do appreciate it. Even better, add me to a playlist or two!

For those of you who ordered the CD, they are on the way! Be aware that the return address says “Resonance Mastering” which is my day job, and the name that my PayPal account is under.

If you live outside the US, could you do me a favor and let me know when your CD arrives? I received conflicting information from the post office on how the ship the CD, so I’m checking my PO Box every day to see if any came back. So far, so good!

tl;dr: new Color Theory album 👍🏻

Thanks for being a fan!


Color Theory - Adjustments

Six years in the making, the 9th full-length Color Theory album features the best 11 originals from the three Adjustments EPs, fine-tuned and remastered for optimum audio fidelity.

The album will be released on May 27, but you can pre-order it right now!

The CD comes in a 6-panel Digipak, signed and numbered, limited to 300 copies worldwide. Pre-orders will also receive a download code for the digital version.

Whether you order the CD or the digital version, the moment the album is released you’ll get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus a high-quality download in MP3, lossless FLAC, and more.

I wrote more about the choice to release the album on CD, and the differences between the album and the three EPs, here.

The music industry has changed dramatically since the last time I released a CD, and honestly, I have no idea what to expect. I could blow through the 300 CDs in five minutes, or I could sell a hundred and be stuck with the rest.

Adjustments Pre-Order

Your support allows me to keep making music, for which I am profoundly grateful.

My New Toy

1. The last Color Theory CD comes out on May 27, but that’s just the end of physical releases, not my music! Check out my brand new, insanely expressive ROLI Seaboard RISE 49:

I’m still getting a feel for it, and also for Logic Pro X, which is better equipped for recording it than my go-to DAW Ableton Live 9.

2. It isn’t often a release I master hits the Billboard Heatseekers chart! Big congrats to The Harmless Doves!


3. Pewdiepie, the King of the Internets at 44M YouTube subscribers and counting, actually replied to my tweet. Kinda starstruck.

4. Did you know there were approximately a bazillion different versions of The Golden Age of Wireless? Great article about the rise of Thomas Dolby.

Thomas Dolby

5. I took my daughter to WonderCon and finally met Traci Hines after working with her on several projects over the years. I know what you’re wondering – where’s Waldo?


6. We also went to the Rain Room at LACMA. It’s an exhibit where you get to walk in the rain without getting rained on, which is half the fun I suppose. Val Kilmer was behind us in line.

Rain Room

7. Finally, you must watch this anime. It’ll make you want to play the piano. And cry 😭. It’s on Netflix.

Your Lie in Apri

The Last Color Theory CD

Color Theory - Adjustments

Adjustments, the 9th full-length Color Theory album, will be released on May 27.

In a display of stubborn bravado, I’ve decided to release the album on Compact Disc (CD). For those of you born post-Violator, the compact disc is an antiquated 5″ metallic frisbee packed with zeros and ones (mostly zeros), typically used as a coaster.

The CD will be housed in a 6-panel Digipak, signed and numbered, limited to 300 copies worldwide. Pre-orders will also receive a download code for the digital version.

Why CD?

1. Nostalgia. The end of an era. One last hurrah. The first Color Theory CD came out in 1994, and the last will come out in 2016. Not a bad run! Of course I’m going to keep making music, but the album format may not be the best vehicle for it.

2. Sound quality. I’d convinced myself that Spotify’s high quality streaming was more or less indistinguishable from CD, but hearing the CD in the car for the first time was an epiphany.

3. You asked for it! At first I toyed with a cassette release, to double down on the nostalgia factor. That was quickly shot down, so I thought… vinyl? Nope! Twice as many of you requested CD.

What’s different?

The set features the best tracks from the three Adjustments EPs, which many of you already own. Being the perfectionist I am, there were dozens of teensy things I wanted to fix – in some cases, for years!

Along with dozens of mix tweaks, I remastered the album to have more dynamic range. When Adjustments Pt. 1 came out, I felt it was important to keep the tracks at a “competitive” volume with mainstream EDM releases, for club play.

This CD however, is a labor of love. I want it to sound the best it possibly can, regardless of market considerations. So I’ve traded a bit of volume for a lot more clarity and punch. I’m excited for you to hear it!

Pre-orders begin May 10.

1. A Work in Progress
2. Headphones
3. What You Said
4. The Best Revenge
5. Playing Favorites
6. Slot Machine
7. Productivity
8. Drive You Home
9. The Motions
10. OBE
11. The Light Inside

Color Theory - Adjustments

The Light Inside (Undocument Remix)

1. The Undocument remix of “The Light Inside” is a free download this week, no email address required!

2. Now that’s what I call style! 😍 Use code Colortheory25 for 25% off thru 3/25 at Modify Watches

Color Theory T-Shirt

3. Proofs are looking good for the upcoming Adjustments CD! (click to enlarge)



4. This Moonbeam City fanvid by Alli Hart serves double-duty as a music video for “Indestructible.”

5. I wrote a new promotion post: These 59 Music Blogs Will Listen to Your Song, Guaranteed

6. Salacious Sound featured “A Work in Progress.”

7. I’m this month’s Featured FanBridger (FanBridge is the service I use to send email to fans).

Featured FanBridger

8. I revisited this classic on my long run, and pondered covering “Goodbye is Forever.” Whaddaya think?

Arcadia - So Red the Rose

9. Here’s something I recently mastered that I think you’ll really enjoy:

10. While I’m recommending music, here’s an 80’s-styled concept album that really works:

11. Finally, Orkestra Obsolete play “Blue Monday” using 1930s instruments:

p.s. Did you know you can hear 15 of my albums for free, guilt-free, on Spotify?

Playing Favorites

Playing Favorites

“What’s your favorite book/movie/song/album?”

That line of questioning rubs me the wrong way. I just don’t like to think in those terms.

For one thing, there’s an element of permanence in naming favorites. It locks you in. Any possible contender is now a challenge to your self-imposed hierarchy.

Our relationship to music was so much more intense as teenagers. How can one compare the way we consume music now to waiting in line to buy a record at a midnight release party?

Beyond that, I like different stuff for different reasons. I’ve listened to The Cure’s 17 Seconds probably more than any other album in my life. But does that make it my favorite album? No way! For whatever reason, it spoke to me at the time – a rather dark time, one would presume.

The Cure - 17 Seconds

Anyway, favorites. Not my thing. So I wrote a song about that…

1. Playing Favorites, the opener from my latest EP, is a free download this week.

2. I just posted detailed review of online radio promotion service, which I worked on for months!

3. Use code “LeapYear” to get 10% off a Color Theory watch (or anything else) through Monday at Modify Watches. They just launched a stainless steel edition!

Color Theory watch stainless steel

4. Lots of great press this month: Endeavor Magazine published a feature story on yours truly. I’m looking forward to receiving print copies in the mail! Rated Sound posted an extremely generous review of Adjustments, Pt. 3Empty Lighthouse followed up on the new EP, and longtime fan Aaron Vehling posted a thoughtful and detailed interview on his blog Vehlinggo.

5. Today I updated my massive Spotify playlist, Color Theory’s Synthpop Wonderland, to 200 tracks. My 8tracks playlist Indie Synthpop went gold! (no account needed to listen)

6. I spoke with two other Brians about Brianhood, and my music, on The Brian Trust (podcast on iTunes here).

7. I answered, and continue to answer, dozens of questions from dozens of people on Wiselike. Ask away!

8. I beat Matt Damon in the Surf City Half Marathon by 20 minutes. 😜

Matt Damon

9. I received, apropos of nothing, a bottle of Diet Coke via FedEx.

If you want to hear about these sorts of shenanigans as they happen, follow me on Twitter!

photo by Thomas Hanewinkel