Colourmusic - f, monday, orange, february, venus, lunatic, 1 or 13
Owain Paciuszko 09/09/2008
Meeting ten years ago at Oklahoma State University, Colourmusic are without a doubt one of the finest bands around at the moment creating uplifting, glorious, kaleidoscopic folk with shades of The Beta Band, Grandaddy, The Flaming Lips and the cacophony of The Polyphonic Spree. They are influenced by Issac Newton's theory of colour and the first two EPs ('Red' and 'Yellow') represented the inspiration of each titular colour, whilst their debut album 'f, monday, orange, february, venus, lunatic, 1 or 13' tackles the entire spectrum. They also masquerade under the collective pseudonym of Roy G. Biv (Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet), hence why you will see many of the following quotes attributed to Roys.
PoncaCity Roy: As a listener, I officially became a fan of music when I was eight years old and convinced my grandmother to buy Metallica's '...And Justice For All' for me after having seen the One video for the first time. After this, I started playing the guitar and by the age of eleven I began writing my own metal songs.
BritRoy: I grew up in North Yorkshire in a little village with not much to do, so music was very important for me and my older brother. We used to tape the John Peel show every night it was on and spent all our pocket money on records and CDs. I didn't start playing the guitar until I was 16. At first I didn't want to because I thought I wouldn't appreciate the music I liked as much - which ended up being true when I found out how easy The Jesus and Mary Chain songs were to play! Hahaha. So at 16 I learnt 2 chords and bought the cheapest 4 track recorder. I've been recording ever since then.
PoncaCity Roy 2: I was always around music. My father was a musician, and so I of course was very fascinated. But then I got into cage fighting in high school. After nearly killing a kid in the regional finals at the Spider Dome outside of Stillwater, I came back to music.
Their performances are known for being something special, they've done the 'theme' shows (basically fancy dress, as most successfully modeled by Birmingham's Kate Goes), but the shows that really dazzle are ones such as live hair cuts and improv tailoring or the band all dressed in white being painted on stage:
colourmusic at DFest 2006
Ponca City Roy: Our love of metal, such as Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Slayer and Metallica is what ultimately brought us together. We all answered Roy's ad in a local newspaper called 'The Recycler' and the rest is history.
BritRoy: Piedmont Roy and I started the band in 2002, this was a few years after meeting at OSU. I think we got together for our interests in electronic music and ambient music; that's what we originally wanted to do. We always have lots of recording ideas but it has always been difficult writing songs because we try to eliminate anything that reminds us of other songs or we think is a too standard idea. We attempt to work on a song until it has gone in an unexpected or interesting direction. Sometimes that can take a while.
Ponca City Roy 2: eHarmony.com With eHarmony's ability to match our compatibility across 29 dimensions, writing together is a cinch.
How difficult is it maintaining a band? Or having a group level of enthusiasm when playing a gig?
Ponca City Roy1: With the members of this group, I'd say maintaining a collective mentality focused on world domination has been pretty easy. We all want the same things for the band and we all have a pretty good idea what we as individuals need to do to make those goals come true. As for playing shows, I don't think any of us worry about what the other members are doing. We simply play the songs we have with all the energy we can muster and hope that the audience has a good time watching us do so.
BritRoy: The main difficulty for me has been coming back and forth over the pond. Trying to keep a job in England while coming back and forth and getting visas for the US, all that boring kind of stuff. As far as the actual real band things the enthusiasm with all of us has always been great during recording and playing live.
Ponca City Roy 2: Luckily enough, we all want to do this (record, play music) more than anything, but we all have other options, so we have an attitude where if we decide to do this, let's do it all the way now - otherwise its a waste of time.
Usually I would begrudge most bands any kind of 'world domination' aspiration, and on the one hand I would love to keep Colourmusic a nice little 'secret', but listening to tracks such as the incendiary 'Yes!' or the truly majestic 'Spring Song' you just want to run outside blaring the music from speakers hoping that all your neighbours are as inspired to prance and leap and chant as you are. If that all sounds a tad like a cult then fear not as their ramshackle new video Motherfather addresses this issue:
...or at least suggests that if you won't join them they'll beat you.
Who do you think your songs speak to? What, though this may sound a tad existential, is the reason you decided to press 'record'; what factors around you, in your life or in other culture you enjoy (or not) has been inspirational to you?
BritRoy: I'll speak for Piedmont Roy; "My audience hasn't even been born yet!"
Ponca City Roy 2: Vanity and stardom. I love the sound of my own voice and I want to be on the TV.
Ponca City Roy 1: I think our songs speak to people who simply want to have fun and let loose while they're enjoying music. From four year olds to people in their seventies, I've seen every age at our shows genuinely having a great time. I'd say our music speaks to a sweeping demographic. I'd say, at the risk of sounding selfish, I press record for myself more than anything else. Creating music is quite therapeutic, at least while demo-ing a new idea.
The album seems to have been on the horizon for quite a while, or maybe it's just my expectation of it? If it has indeed been eagerly waiting in the wings for a while was there any particular reason for this? (If not, discard this question!)
BritRoy: It's been a little tedious for us to wait so long to finally get it out. I don't know if it takes this long for all bands to get their first record out or if we have just been living in a Bermuda Triangle of time and space.
PiedmontRoy: Contracts and Immigration problems would be the real answer. I actually think we've waited too long to get it out, because as a band, we've been moving in a different direction. But I still think it's a great record although I'm prepared for it to be misunderstood.
PoncaCity Roy: It has been marinating like great steak, aging like a fine wine. The record is finally ready to be consumed by the world, and in a lot of ways, the world is finally ready to consume the record.
It is literally these immigration problems that are still causing issue, I was planning on holding this interview back for a little while longer (I'm mean like that), but I received word from Roy G. Biv that their lawyer needs to gather international press so that BritRoy can speed up the turbulent process of acquiring a visa pre-tour! Fortunately though the album has finally been released and you can import yourself a copy from whichever import site you use (I'm not getting paid to advertise anyone here!).
Colourmusic are a band that I just want to talk about, I want to prattle on about how fantastic I think they are, how excited I am to finally hear a full album of their music, but I'm a firm believer in not over-hyping things and letting the music speak (or clash, whistle, boom, twang) for itself. So I thoroughly recommend you read the final part of this interview and then head on over to Colourmusic's site and make your ears happy.
What are you most proud of having achieved so far as Colourmusic?
Ponca City Roy1: Having a nationally-released record is pretty amazing. For me, it's definitely a huge step towards confirming that my life-long dream of being able to make a living creating music is becoming more and more plausible. I don't think it's hit me yet that all these great things are happening for our little band from Oklahoma. Pretty neat if you ask me.
BritRoy: I haven't had the new record on vinyl or cd in my hands yet. When that happens that will probably be my moment. I might cry with relief over the 6 years that have been leading to this point.
PiedmontRoy: Working with my band. They're brilliant.
Ponca City Roy2: Billy Zane came to our show once.