Colour Of Noise - Spring 2016

From time to time, a familiar conversation presents itself within the music press. I'm sure you'll recognise it. You may even have taken part in the debate. Essentially, a question is raised around the future of rock music and how it may evolve. What characteristics may it exhibit and who are the headliners of tomorrow? But just to be clear, we welcome the opportunity for rock fans to consider what's next, and it's actually a very important debate. How easy is it to do something different? How easy is it to create a sound that's going to stand out and grab people’s attention? Rock Today takes pride in exploring new music and throughout our pages you will see fine examples of artists and bands who can expect big things to happen. And it's with this future-focus in mind that we bring you a band who we feel is doing something different: Colour Of Noise. Hailing from Brighton in the UK, you may already be aware of guitarist Bruce John Dickinson (Little Angels, b.l.o.w) , singer Matt Mitchell (Furyon) and drummer Randy Nixon (The Jeevas, Magic Bullet Band) but this band also introduces new talent in the form of guitarist Dan Electro and Ben Daniel on bass. They've just released their debut album and it's before a gig in Leeds that we chat with Bruce about how Colour Of Noise came together and their future plans.

Colour Of Noise are a band of both incredibly successful musicians as well as perhaps new talent. How did you come together as Colour Of Noise?


Well I've known Randy (Nixon) the drummer for 30 odd years because we grew up together. He's younger than me and he was always in bands like Straw, The Jeevas which was Crispian Mills band after Kula Shaker, so I'd gone to watch Randy play and we were mates as well living in Brighton. He knew Ben and Dan who were in an amazing band called The Magic Bullet Band. They never actually put their record out but it is one of my favourite records, and then Matt came in. It was just over a year or so ago when we had this idea to make this classic rock record. Matt came onboard to help us with the writing and I'd known him from Furyon. What I didn't know was that he had a deep understanding of the blues so we clicked within 30 seconds. We all looked at each other and thought this is the band


How did you decide on the name?


The name came from Randy. He tends to do a lot of our visual stuff like he found Chrissy the artist who did the sleeve. It was his kind of thing that he wanted colour and it reflects the psychedelic side of the band. It comes from the back end of The Beatles’ White Album and Cream. It's got that slight psychedelic tinge to it.


Your self titled debut album is an incredibly immersive and cohesive experience. Your statement that it captures the spirit of 70s stadium rock is absolutely undeniable, with flavours of Aerosmith’s ‘Rocks’, you mentioned Cream- absolutely -  and a tipping of the hat to bands such as Zeppelin and early Queen. But let's be clear: this is an original record. What is it about this era that you connected to and how does it retain its relevance in 2016?


It's the influence in black music in what we do which, as well as Randy, comes from Dan and Ben. A lot of soul and funk in that Aerosmith-y/Hendrix-y sort of way, and I think when rock loses the blues, I lose interest in it. So there's a seam of blues running the way through it and there's also a desire to find a bit of space. I think Free do this really well – sometimes it’s better not to play anything. It’s what you don't play as opposed to what you do play. 


Referring to your self-titled debut, you go on record to say that the noise that you make is powered by highly cramped vintage equipment, yet it still sounds fresh and modern. Why did you take this  approach to the recording of the album?


Most modern rock records I don't like the sound of. They can sound too hard and digital to me and I go back to my favourite sounding record which is Coda by Led Zeppelin or Black Rose by Lizzy which have that warm analogue thing. But we're not purists about it. Our back line, this band could have played with gear you could have bought in 1965. It just sounds better for what we do. But when we were recording we did some stuff on 2 inch tape, some stuff on digital and mixed it up a little bit. But in retrospect, the stuff I like best is still the stuff we did in the fairly hardcore 70s way. So I think we will be edging more towards that warm, tape-y analogue thing.

You also make it clear that there are no ballads on a Colour Of Noise album. Was this a conscious decision when writing the record?


Yes it was because we wrote a few, and I felt there were some really strong songs there, but I think we kept coming back to this idea that it would just be more fun to kick people in the nuts and do a rock ‘n’ roll record with 2 guitars, taking the psychedelic elements of something like Cream and Zeppelin crossed with the attitude of AC/DC. That was the thing that made us smile in the rehearsal room so we just kept doing that, and the ballads just kind of went into a pile and we didn't do them.


Might they be revisited?


I don't think so. Not with Colour Of Noise. We are going to keep with the twin guitar attack for now.


Bruce- you will have seen more than most how the music industry has changed over the years, not just your experiences as a musician in a band but also your industry experiences and connections as part of BIMM (Bruce was one of the founders of the Brighton Institute Of Modern Music in 2001 – Ed). With a band as talented, and with the strength of material, as Colour Of Noise how are you going to ensure you achieve the success you deserve?


I think it's a very different world and people often harp back to this supposed golden age but in many ways things are better these days. I think if you've got an audience as band, whatever age you are – whether you're our age or whether you're just starting out - you'll do fine, and it's always kind of been that way and it's never been easy. You've always got to be prepared to put the work in and play smaller venues and give everything you've got. So in that way I don't see it being that different from the Little Angels period. And it terms of Colour Of Noise, we’re not really chasing success in that traditional sense, we just want to make records that we like and we know the audience have kind of grown up with the rock ‘n’ roll thing, and we like that too. Interestingly, we did the record via a Pledge Music campaign so people pre-ordered the record. That brings you very close to your audience and it does change the way you write songs. Pledge is like Facebook on steroids. It develops a community feel and if you share the stuff that goes wrong in the writing of the record as well as the stuff that goes right, I think that helps. It brings your audience closer to you, and I think it does affect the subject matter and what you're writing about. Colour Of Noise is writing about having a life in rock ‘n’ roll and having a life on your own terms. Whether you've got kids and responsibilities and you have to put food on the table and do all that stuff, this band is about still doing that but it's also about not letting go of the stuff that made you smile when you were 16.

The band members have other musical endeavours (Matt has Furyon) so is Colour Of Noise a project or something intended to be a long term commitment?


There is a long term view in that we enjoy doing it and we want to be making these type of records in 10 years. I think largely, as with any band, we will do it as long as people are interested in hearing it. That's the key. We get on great, we get on great musically and we have the same idea about what we want to do, and it's been lovely that people have liked the record and people have been coming to the shows. That's been amazing. As long as that continues we’ll keep trundling along.


Bruce- you have had many rock orientated endeavours. What does it mean to be part of a band again?


It's surprising because I didn’t expect it, and I appreciate it and every single person that comes to the show, buys the record or listens to it, and takes the time, especially as there's so much music and people have really got a choice. So to make that choice to listen to our band is an amazing thing. So surprise and appreciation, and also just enjoyment. It's amazing that people let us get away with it! I'm 48 years old and having a right laugh!


What can we expect next from Colour Of Noise?


We’ll do a couple of festivals: Wildfire in Scotland, Dementia Aware in Birmingham which is an amazing event which we’re headlining. It’s a lovely little festival and an important one for us that one. And then we’re doing a lot of writing so we're in the studio a lot in the summer. We will be doing other gigs and more touring but we’re cracking on with the second album already.


Will that be another Pledge campaign?


I would think so because we had such a good time last time. I think it will be, yeah.

Reflecting on our conversation, it's with the strongest of recommendations that we invite you to check out Colour Of Noise. A great band with a great album and a future for us all to get excited about. Their self-titled album is available from the band’s website www.colourofnoiseofficial.com. In the meantime, watch the video to Can You Hear Me below.