The electronic vs live music war has found peace in the shape of Crooked Colours, three Fremantle boys who create and perform their music a little differently. After winning triple j Unearthed’s Laneway Festival competition in 2014, Phil Slabber, Leon De Baughn and Liam Merret-Parks didn’t fall victim to the fast-paced, high turnover industry path that we so often see. Instead, releasing several singles throughout 2015 and 2016, it was only in August this year that the band release their debut album, Vera. And yes, it was worth the wait.
Not only do they do they do things their own way, but their musical style is as much their own. With hypnotic synth and clever rhythms, the boys have taken your favourite parts of the electronic genre and perfected it into a live set. If you’re after a dreamy soundscape without sacrificing the mastery of a live performance, then Crooked Colours will be your new favourite band. In the famous words of Old El Passo, “por qué no tenemos ambos?!”
To which Crooked Colours replied, “you can!” The boys also answered some more of my questions, talking their creative process, touring, German fans, and even album numero dos…
This year has been filled with lots of incredible things for you – big congratulations! What’s been the highlight so far?
Thank you! I think the Vera Tour around Aus was the biggest highlight. It was pretty exciting to play the album for the first time live to our fans.
You released your debut LP Vera in June this year. Before this was an EP and a stream of killer singles. Can you tell us about the creative process that birthed your first album?
It was a long process. Most of the tracks took a while to come together. For us its a team contribution. Phil and I bounce demos back and forth until we are pretty happy with them, then we get Liam in to do some drum parts for the songs.
Overall I think we spent around a year on the tracks that made the album.
And your music video for All Eyes (shot in New Caledonia!!) came out earlier this month. Tell us about that!
We worked with a very talented director, Patrick Rohl who helped us develop the idea of having three separate settings through the film clip that all correlates at the end. The island really fit the vibe of the track so we very happy with how it turned out.
How do you think your musical style has grown or developed on Vera since your first release Come Down?
Since we first started writing music together we have learnt so much about production and how to more accurately record the ideas we have in our minds. A lot of the time we get asked why it took so long for us to release a debut album but in honesty we’re glad it took us this long as it meant that the final product is something that we are all really proud of and a piece of work that we wouldn’t have been able to create even 12 months ago.
The idea of electronic music live sets has become a trend recently. Crooked Colours have mastered such a unique, natural sound within this style. Did you always intend for your music to be made and experienced this way?
Yeah definitely. When it comes to the live performances we always try to put ourselves in the punter’s shoes and what they would want out of a CC show. I think that helps us visualise what we want to do in our set.
In August you had your national tour which started out in Ballarat. Tell us about this?
They were the biggest shows we have ever done so to sell most of them out was crazy for us. We had Ivan Ooze jump on the whole tour with us too which was epic.
You’ve also played sets at Yours & Owls, ThisThat Festival, you’ve just done Spilt Milk and have Beyond The Valley lined up. How do your performances at a festival vary from your headline shows?
We love this time of year when the festival season starts. There are so many cool festivals happening this year it’s nice to be a part of it. We like to keep our festival sets up-beat so everyone can have a dance. We’ve picked up the tempo and given the songs a bit of a remix so they pack a punch on the big stages.
Do you have a dream festival that Crooked Colours would love to perform at?
Glastonbury would have to up there. It’s such an iconic festival. It’s where bands really make a name for themselves.
You spent all of October touring Europe and UK! What was that like?
It was a real whirlwind tour, but it was fun! We drove the whole tour so we were lucky enough to see some incredible places along the way.
How do international audiences respond to your music in comparison to Australian fans? Is there a marked difference?
It was really surprising for us how much the Germans get into it. We had no idea what the response would be like there but it was really positive and it was cool to see people dancing and having a good time.
Next February and March you’re touring over in the US. Do you enjoy lots of travelling?
We are really excited to jump on this tour. Its been in the works for a while now so we are keen to get over there. It’s great that we get to travel and see these cool places that we probably never would have if we weren’t touring.
What else can we expect from Crooked Colours in 2018?
Going to be back in AUS after US to do a run of headline shows that we are pumped for! Then dive into writing the second album.