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Color Theory (musician)

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Color Theory
Background information
OriginHuntington Beach, CA
GenresSynthpop, Synthwave, Electronica
Years active1993–present
Labels11th Records
MembersBrian Hazard

Color Theory is the electronic music project of American singer, keyboardist, and songwriter Brian Hazard.


Hazard, the sole member of Color Theory, began studying the piano at the age of thirteen. He took sporadic lessons in high school while also playing piano in the school jazz band and mallet percussion in the drumline. In 1992, Hazard was awarded a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from California State University, Long Beach. The following year he enrolled in songwriting and recording classes at Golden West College, and began writing songs for the first Color Theory album, Sketches in Grey.


Sketches in Grey was a local success when it was released in 1994, quickly selling out the first pressing. But it wasn't until fledgling label A Different Drum included "Heart Like a Doll" on its first release, Rise! America's Synthpop Underground, that Color Theory was exposed to the small but dedicated modern synthpop scene.

Hazard began performing Color Theory material live after the release of 1997's Tuesday Song, which includes "The Perfect Song", first performed as a proposal to now-wife Michelle. Hazard long considered 1999's Perfect Tears his best work, representing the culmination of the "electronic piano pop" sound he'd worked six years to refine. 2001's Life's Fairytale explored mostly piano-less electronic textures, representing a significant change of course from earlier material.

Another change came with 2002's Something Beautiful, a fully acoustic recording featuring drummer Jonathan Moffett, bassist Baba Elefante, a string quartet, flute, harp, and Hazard on piano and vibraphone. Twenty-six weekly demo recordings were posted on the web as part of the “Bad Song of the Week” project, which allowed fans to vote for their favorites and decide which songs would ultimately be included on the album. These demos were released as a limited edition two-disc set entitled Like Clockwork.

In 2003, Hazard released Color Theory presents Depeche Mode, billed as a one-man tribute to Depeche Mode. In addition to eleven Depeche Mode covers and two new instrumental interludes, the album includes "Ponytail Girl", a Color Theory original that was mislabeled and widely circulated on file sharing networks as a Depeche Mode track from their yet to be released Exciter album. Hazard's voice is said to resemble that of Depeche Mode songwriter Martin Gore.[1]

After a five-year hiatus, Hazard returned with The Thought Chapter in 2008, containing a Death Cab for Cutie cover and eleven originals. “If It's My Time to Go” won both a Lennon Award[2] and the Grand Prize in the Electronic category[3] of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.[4] Hazard received over $8,500 in cash and musical equipment in connection with the awards, as well as free CD manufacturing for 2010’s The Sound, containing nine originals and a cover of “Living a Boy’s Adventure Tale” by a-ha.

Songs from The Thought Chapter and The Sound have been featured on the MTV shows Styl'd and The Real World, as well as the video game Rock Band. The two albums also garnered Best Electronic nominations in the 2009 and 2010 OC Music Awards.[5][6]

Hazard released three EDM-influenced Adjustments EPs from June 2012 to November 2015. Each EP contains five new original songs, plus five remixes of those songs, with one exception: a cover of "Could It Be Magic" by Barry Manilow on Adjustments, Pt. 2. Eleven originals from the three sets were released as an album, Adjustments, in 2016.[7] The album and an alternate version including bonus tracks from the three EPs has been downloaded over 300,000 times on BitTorrent.[8]

Color Theory released a 5-track EP with German trance producer Matt Mancid containing three different arrangements (synthpop, electro house, chillout) of the Pet Shop Boys song "Rent" in December 2013, featuring Heather Alden of Faded Paper Figures on backing vocals.[9]

Hazard recorded three songs for Ubisoft video game Just Dance Kids 2014, including an original entitled "Interstellar Simon". The other two were soundalike versions of "Problem (The Monster Remix)" by Becky G ft. and "Fireflies" by Owl City.

In March on 2017, Hazard launched a Patreon page[10] and began recording a new song for patrons every month. He continues to release synthwave singles and to record 80s cover songs with Matt Mancid for an eventual album release.[11]

Hazard partnered with for a remix contest featuring the first of those singles, "Glory Days"[12].


Studio albums[edit]

  • Sketches in Grey (1994) - reissued (1999)
  • Tuesday Song (1997)
  • Perfect Tears (1999)
  • Life's Fairytale (2001)
  • Something Beautiful (2002)
  • Color Theory presents Depeche Mode (2003)
  • The Thought Chapter (2008)
  • The Sound (2010)
  • Adjustments (2016)


  • Covers & Rarities (2006) - out of print
  • Second Thoughts (2009)
  • The Silence (2010)
  • The Silence + Second Thoughts (2011)
  • Outside the Lines, Vol. 1 (2012)
  • Outside the Lines, Vol. 2 (2012)
  • Adjustments, Pt. 1 (2012)
  • Adjustments, Pt. 2 (2014)
  • Adjustments, Pt. 3 (2015)


  • Shake the Disease (2017)
  • Glory Days (2017)
  • The Future You is Forever (2017)
  • The Timekeeper (2017)
  • Untouchable (2017)
  • Classic (2018)
  • In Motion (2018)
  • In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry (2018)
  • The Fifth of July (2018)

Remix collections[edit]

  • Color Theory presents Depeche Mode: The Remixes (2011)
  • The Lost Remixes, Vol. 1 (2012)
  • The Lost Remixes, Vol. 2 (2012)
  • Glory Days Remixes (2018)

Matt Mancid & Color Theory[edit]

  • Rent (2013)
  • The Ghost in You (2017)


  • The Last Day of Summer (2017) with ELYXR[13]
  • The Timekeeper (2017) with Bentley JonesCite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many
  • Vortex (Stay Close to Me) (2017) with Bentley Jones
  • Colder (2013) with Amelia's FaultCite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many


  1. "Making Some Adjustments: A Color Theory Q&A". Vehlinngo.
  2. "2008 Lennon Award Winners". John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
  3. "2008 Grand Prize Winners - Session II". John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
  4. "About the Contest". John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
  5. "OC Music Awards recognize top local artists". Orange County Register. April 5, 2009. Retrieved Jun 29, 2011.
  6. "OC Music Awards Nominees Announced". OC Weekly. Feb 25, 2009. Retrieved Jun 29, 2011.
  7. "Color Theory releases new EP: 'Adjustments Pt. 1'". Side-Line. Apr 6, 2012. Retrieved Jun 24, 2012.
  8. "Adjustments - BitTorrent Now". BitTorrent.
  9. "Matt Mancid & Color Theory - Rent ft. Faded Paper Figures". Color Theory Official Website.
  10. "Color Theory is creating Synth Music". Patreon.
  11. "Color Theory Defined by Hazard". Color Theory Official Website.
  12. "Remix The New Single From Color Theory "Glory Days," Win Geist2 From FXpansion And Mentor Session".
  13. "ELYXR - The Last Day of Summer". The Electricity Club.

External links[edit]

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