Three Colours is an English band, London based, formed by Tomas Cajelo, Paddy Doran, William H. Wells and Mike Worthington. This band was born in the spring of 2009, they stand out for being a band with a big variety of contrasts. Think about Radiohead, Bloc Party, At The Drive-In, post-rock guitar riffs, latin rhythms and characteristic lyrics with a bit of dark humor. Everything is mixed to create pieces like ‘Aid-memoire’ or ‘Calvaire’ (personal favorite), songs that can be listened to on their myspace page.
They are recording their first EP in London and this is what they have to say.
On the origin of the band, we know you started to play last year, in 2009. Did you know each other way before that, or did you get together due to your common interest in creating a band?
The band came about through a website called Gumtree, basically a classifieds advertising website. Paddy, Mike and Tom all responded to adverts looking for likeminded musicians. He (Tom) was very keen to get Will involved as they had been friends for a long time and had played with each other in previous projects, a solidarity that has helped move the band on and establish a natural and stylised melodic section. After one meeting on a sunny day in Camden, and before hearing each other play we knew we had a solid base of ideas to work with.
You are recording your EP. When do you plan on release it? Will it be available digitally (iTunes, Spotify, etc)?
The EP is hopefully going to be available towards the end of 2010 so long as recording goes as well as it has been. We will definitely make it available for digital download…
What are your thoughts about digital strategy? Do you plan on use the internet as one of the main ways of promotion?
Digital promotion has to be targeted as one of the keystones of the modern industry and you need to adapt to the way people consume music. Despite facing an industry in turmoil with no certain outcome, I think, as a band, we feel that we can embrace new technologies – it’s also a really exciting time for new artists. Our generation is so lucky that we can instantly connect with people anywhere in the world. It’s great that anyone can put their music online but this means that promotion becomes much more important as everyone is desperate for exposure. Attention is perhaps the major commodity online but you still have to make the distinction between the virtual and the real world. Live performances are probably more important than ever but Myspace or Facebook fans don’t automatically translate into big audience numbers.
For a band at our level it is essential for us to spread our name with great recordings and also work on bringing people to live shows to feel the energy that we try to pack into our performances, that’s the reason you start to play music and it should be something you focus on as a band.
Would you like to tour in other countries, outside of the U.K.?
We would love to play to audiences outside the UK, there is always something special about playing your music to a completely new audience. If we had the means we’d do it all the time! There’s always a different vibe even when you play out of town, for the band and the audience. Some of the best gigs Tom has played have been in Europe with his previous band.
Tom: On the above point, bands seem to be treated a lot better on the whole on the continent. Here in the UK people are very much spoiled for choice when it comes to gigs, especially in London, you could go to about 10 gigs any night of the week if you had the time and money so when you play somewhere where there aren’t so many bands from out of town, especially foreign bands etc then people seem a lot more appreciative, whether you’re playing a town hall in Germany or in somebody’s garage in Czech Republic (I’ve done both) people go crazy for it. Plus they always make sure you’re fed, watered and paid, you know…how it SHOULD be.
What would you like to achieve, what are your dreams with this band?
I think we would all like to be able to look back on this band and the music we make with pride. It would be great to be able to have that artistic freedom and yet respect and following that bands like Radiohead or 65daysofstatic have managed to accomplish, and of course we would all like to win a Grammy and have our ‘relaxing with Jay-Z’ or ‘Snoop on a boat phase’!
Is this your full time project? Have you known forever that you want to be musicians, or do you have a Plan B?
There is no plan B as of yet. I think we are all onboard with thinking the passion that we put into our music is not for riches or recognition, but because it is music we truly love to write and play and if we have the opportunity to turn our love affair with music into a position where we can make a living from it and have it become our jobs, then there are certainly worse ways to make a living to pay the bills.
On your influences, we know some of the band’s inspirations. We want to know the personal choices of each member of the band.
Paddy: My influences as a bass player lay within the old grunge concept of keeping the bass and drums tight together, allowing the guitarists to play around and have more freedom with the overall style, rather than sticking to conventional chord based rhythms. I listen to music that varies from Wu-tang Clan to Mars Volta and does a few de-tours between Chemical brothers and Sam Cooke. Plus Electronic music has made a huge impact on me; artists like Squarepusher and Aphex Twin really push the boundaries of what music can really do.
Will: Paddy’s summed it up perfectly for me, with Wu-Tang through TMV. RZA Vs TMV. Electronica has been a massive influence, from discovering trip-hop, DnB and breaks to Dubstep, which was the last thing that blew me away. More recently the stuff coming from New York like Midnight Masses and Mon Khmer… and of course acid-skiffle.
Tom: I’d only be repeating my band mates here, but just to add, I think it’s best to draw your inspiration from a wide palette of sounds as possible. It’s only through fusing different sounds that you create something new, which I guess is the point of what we do. My favourite artists are the ones who do exactly that: The Mars Volta, Radiohead, 65daysofstatic..I could go on..
Mike: I listen to a bit of everything depending on the mood, which ranges from Fourtet, to Deftones to Toots and the Maytals, and includes most stuff in between that. Drummers that influence and inspire me pretty much include every drummer I ever see play live, I always want to jump on a kit after seeing a live band. Questlove from The Roots and on Jon Theodore (TMV) are probably my top 2. Programmed beats and electronica have also had a big effect on me, I also like the aspect of drummers that replicate programmed drums live.
How do you mix all your personal choices to create the Three Colours’ sound
Tom: Well as you can see from the previous question, there’s a lot of cross-over and common ground in terms of music we all like, so, fortunately, there’s very little compromise when it comes to creating our ‘sound’. I usually come in to the rehearsal room with a bunch of ideas and half-songs and we generally just jam and play around with them until they become more structured. Then we add any extra bits we want with the programming and the process starts over until we get it right.
Mike: I try not to make the beats too complicated for most of the tunes, but add in little frills and interesting bits here and there, some of the time there are programmed beats playing as well, so it’s easy for the live drums and programmed stuff to overpower and too busy/messy. On a few of the songs I play a 2 or 4 bar phrase to keep it a bit more interesting.
Most of they songs I’ve listened to on your MySpace have vindicate lyrics. Do you like to make people really think about what’s all around us?
Tom: It’s not really my intention to make people ‘examine the world around them’ or ‘wake up’ etc. But at the same time they are my humble observations of the state of things. I guess I just write about whatever inspires me, film, politics, and humanitarian issues. I guess my struggle is always finding more nuanced ways of saying things. One of my favourite lyrics is by a political folk-singer-songwriter, Chris T-T which is: “war’s bad, poverty’s bad, racism’s bad; well done, have a biscuit”. It serves as a constant reminder to me to try to be subtle, despite that mini-Zack de la Rocha inside me who wants me to ‘stick it to the man’. But at the same time I make no apologies for my politics. I’m just highlighting the message, it’s your choice what you do with it..
We’d like to know some of your musical recommendations. Best album of the year
Paddy: Nedry – Condors
Will: ‘Mon Khmer’- Mon Khmer
Tom: “we were exploding anyway” – 65daysofstatic (although, somewhat embarrassingly I will hold up my hand and say, I listened to enough new music this year)
Mike: The Roots- How I Got Over
Best song of the year?
Paddy: Dance dance dance – 65daysofstatic
Will: ‘Underachiever’ – Ex Libras
Tom: agree with Will on this one with the possible addition of “crash tactics – 65daysofstatic”
Mike: Tunng- Sashimi
An album you can’t live without?
Paddy: At the drive-in – relationship of command
Will: Deloused in the Comatorium (TMV)
Tom: Both of the above
What was the first album you ever bought?
Paddy: Modern life is rubbish – Blur
Will: ‘Now that’s what I call music 34’ (mainly for Gangster’s Paradise on tape 2)
Mike: Can’t remember the first album, but it was probably one of the Now compilations too, I remember my first single though- Ghetto Superstar-Pras feat Mya and Ol Dirty Bastard. Still a tune. Tom: Maybe now 32? (That’s right…I’m 2 cooler than Will..highlights included: Tina Turner – Golden Eye and Blur – Country House)
Will: Hang on, that’s the one I had! My mistake. I guess that makes ‘Now 32’ the best album ever
Your musical guilty pleasure?
Paddy: I love a bit of Dexys Midnight runners, but only after a few pints.
Tom: Another Level…but then I don’t know if it counts as a ‘guilty pleasure’ if I’m just an outright fan?
Will: Disney or Three Colours?
An album you’d recommend as an essential?
Paddy: And so i watch you from afar – And so i watch you from afar
Will: Enter the 36 Chambers or Now 32
Tom: Relationship of Command – At the drive-in
Mike: De-loused in the Comatorium