[Originally posted on UK Arts Directory 10/7/15]
I’m thrilled to be introducing you to Colour of Noise today. Those of you who have heard of them will know that they are a brilliant new classic/blues rock band from the UK. Those of you who haven’t heard of them are in for a treat.
This band reminds me of bands like Free from the great days of rock ‘n’ roll. I found out about them via a Facebook friend who was raving about them when they were going to be appearing at Download this year. I’m happy to have discovered them and am looking forward to their debut album, soon to be released via Pledge Music.
Although Colour of Noise is a new band, the band members are talented musicians who have been in the music industry for many years. My interview today is with Bruce John Dickinson, guitarist with Colour of Noise, formerly of Little Angels and b.l.o.w., both excellent bands from the late ’80s/early ’90s era of rock.
Interview with BRUCE JOHN DICKINSON of COLOUR OF NOISE
Most, if not all of you, have a background in music and have been in/are in other bands. Tell us a bit about that and how you all got together to form Colour of Noise.
I was in Little Angels back in the day. We got a record deal really young and had several hits and a number one album in the early ‘90s,
I was a fan! 🙂
You might know Matt from Furyon and Andy from Straw, Jeevas, and Magic Bullet band. Dan was in Magic bullet band too and Ben on bass has done a thousand gigs and sessions. So we’ve all been around a while…
Colour of Noise started with an unshakeable, yet irrational, conviction that the time was right to make a classic rock record in a traditional way, that would have strong echoes from the ’70s, but still be rooted in the present. I met up with Andy and Dan and they seemed to be into it. Dan recommended Ben on bass. Dan used to be a bass player, but gave up when he heard Ben’s immense sound. Ben is not a small bloke and has massive hands like gorilla’s feet. We did a couple of studio session and asked Matt to come and help us write, he was so great, after about 20 minutes we’d all just decided that this was the band. It was just kind of assumed rather than spoken about… Andy christened us ‘Colour of Noise’ and here we are 6 months on.
The music you’re producing as Colour of Noise is influenced by classic rock. There seems to be a bit of a revival of music influenced by the blues/rock of ’60s and ’70s recently. Was it a conscious decision for you to produce this sound, or was it something that came naturally for the band?
Well, you are what you are. Initially I wanted to do something like a Blind Faith record, and Dan and I were playing Strats, but after a while you revert to type and my old black Les Paul came out and we fell into the twin Les Paul attack mode. I don’t really care what other people do so much – this is driven by what makes us smile in the rehearsal room… I am personally reverting to what I was into when I was about 16. I love playing with these guys, they have much more groove and soul than a traditional rock band, I suppose early Aerosmith has some of that. The blues hangs it all together, even if we are riffing in a fairly hard way.
It’s sounding great from what I’ve heard so far! You’re currently working on your debut album, and I understand that you’re recording it in the old fashioned way. Whose idea was it to do that?
We record usually onto 2 inch tape, it can sound sound better. We use old style amps, basically hand made reproductions of early Marshalls and Voxes made by Cornell amps. We record live a lot and do very few overdubs, less and less as we go – you’ll find live shows and filmed radio sessions on you tube. The band sounds best when it’s very purely recorded. Matt’s voice has no production effects, save the odd drop of delay and room, and he records very quickly. We often keep Matt’s guide vocals and use them as the final version as they are so good.
He has a great voice.
Have all the songs been written, or is this still happening? Tell us a bit about the songs that will appear on the album, who wrote them, the inspiration behind them, etc.
We’re maybe three quarters through writing the album. We are playing really well at the moment and riffs and ideas just seem to fall from the sky, but there’s that really hard bit where you have to get disciplined and get the detail right. Lyrics and subject matter are important to us; Matt and Andy write most of lyrics and we write about the redemptive power of rock ‘n’ roll, which we kind of need, as real life is so complicated. Music keeps us all grounded…. We write about the things that matter, relationships that have stood the test of time, ones that haven’t, dreams broken and fulfilled. We are not 18 anymore and I think as you get older you think more about what really matters in your life, the fundamentals, rather than partying so much.
You recently played the Download festival. What was that like?
It was so great. So great. We’d only done a couple of warms up gigs before. I was scared because I’d never played in a tent before (back in my day there wasn’t these extra stages). I was worried about sound. And actually it sounded great. Matt took over the stage like he does, and I was happy because we sounded like we should and Andy, Ben, and Dan Electro grooved away. It just felt very right. The crowd were really up for it, and of course they didn’t even know the songs as the album isn’t out yet…. So to see the sea of hands in the air from the get go was so unexpected and joyful.
You’ve been supporting Thunder on tour in Germany. How did that come about, and how have the Thunder fans been taking to Colour of Noise?
Well, we asked to do those shows and the lads in Thunder kindly said we could. So we did. The shows were great and so were the crowds – there is some footage on our Facebook shot from the crowd from one of the German shows, where you can get the vibe. It’s a natural fit as the audience understands where we are coming from. They have the right record collection.
Your new album is being crowdfunded on Pledge Music (http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/colourofnoise/). That’s becoming a popular way for artists to raise finance for albums these days. I think it’s also nice because the fans can be involved from the early stages. What made you decide to use Pledge Music?
It’s one way of doing things and it works well in that you don’t need a record company and therefore have full control and direct links to the people buying your album. It’s a simple idea really, you’re just pre-ordering the album directly. We’ve been really happy with the guys at Pledge and humbled by peoples support and faith in our new band. You can see a documentary about the band online where we talk about the Pledge thing. We’ll be doing a follow up documentary very soon.
Do you have any idea of a release date for the album yet?
September this year.
Looking forward to it!
Do you have any tour plans for the rest of the year?
Yes! More festivals, Steelhouse and some TBA, and we’ll be touring once the album is out either supporting or doing our own shows where we are big enough to do so. The music and band can grow at its own pace. There isn’t a business plan though – it’s all about the music.
Many of you have been involved in the music industry for quite a few years. What changes have you noticed over the years?
There is a stupid idea that bands should play at the volume of a mouse fart, and that the sound engineer is running the show.
Ha, ha, ha! 😀
It comes from pop music and a culture where people are miming to backing tracks… and of course the influence of computers and editing has massively affected the quality of recorded and live bands. That’s why time and time again we all come back to records recorded in the ‘60s and ‘70s. They are much more honest, therefore we love them more.
Having said that, I think it’s a great time for young musicians who no longer need the endorsement of a major label to get going. Sure there’s a lot of competition, but the great ones with something to say still get through.
What do you think are the main challenges facing bands that are starting out these days, and do you have any tips as to how they should promote their music?
It was always hard. It’s tempting to look back at the good old days, but people forget how few record deals were done and how quickly the major labels wanted to move on to new acts. Back in 1993 I was a dinosaur at 25 years old…. Now it’s at least socially acceptable to be an old rock ‘n’ roller, and there’s a load more festivals to play. It sure beats real life and 9 to 5 and all that stuff. The main challenges are being great and making great records. Concentrate on that and other stuff will follow.
Good advice 🙂
Any other news for your fans?
A big thank you for the support. We’re making a very real record and it’s been joyful so far, and we’re giving it everything we have got for you. We’ll do you another documentary with a full update very soon too.
Thanks, Bruce! I’m looking forward to the debut album and catching one of your shows in the future!
Colour of Noise are a classic rock band from Brighton, England. We are steeped in the tradition of the late 60’s British blues boom, and early 70’s stadium rock.
Colour of Noise are working with discerning Hard Rock fans, through Pledge Music, to make their debut, self titled album, which will be released on September 20th.
Bruce John Dickinson (lead guitar), was previously in Little Angels and b.l.o.w, through the late ’80s and early ’90s, the Angels achieved 11 top forty hit singles and a number one album in the UK.
They toured Europe with Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Bryan Adams, ZZ Top, Aerosmith. Following the tragic death of their original drummer Mike Lee (who had gone on to play for the Cult and Page and Plant) the band reformed in 2012 for a triumphant return at Download festival, following this up with a nostalgic headline tour the same year.
Bruce was a founder director of the BIMM franchise of music colleges and DIME online music degrees. He continues to work in Higher Education writing degree courses and ‘making the academic case for rock n roll’.
Matt Mitchell (Vocals), was a founder member and lead singer songwriter of cult melodic rock act Pride and more recently the highly respected Furyon.
Furyon played Download in 2012 and Bloodstock Festival and have enjoyed immense support from Classic Rock and Metal Hammer magazine. Matt and his band have a healthy and loyal following of rock and metal fans.
Andy Nixon (Drums,) was the drummer in Straw and the Jeevas and the singer and songwriter in Magic Bullet Band.
Straw signed to WEA and issued its debut single “Weird Superman” in the summer of 1998. Two more hit singles and one EP were released: in 1999 before Straw released their first full-length album Shoplifting.
Throughout 1998 and 1999 the band toured extensively with Puressence, Space and Feeder, Muse, Supergrass, Alanis Morisette, Fountains Of Wayne and Reef.
Andy Nixon and Dan McKinna went on to play in The Jeevas with Crispian Mills of Kula Shaker.
Andy met Dan Electro ( AKA Swedish Dan) and formed the Magic Bullet Band supporting Kula Shaker on their recent reformation.
The band also features the aforementioned Dan Electro (Rhythm Guitar) and Silent Ben Daniel (Bass).
Colour of Noise have rekindled old acquaintances with the limited release of ‘Head On’ to their friends in the classic rock community. The have recently confirmed a slot at Download Festival 2015, Rambling Man and will be touring extensively in 2015.
Danny Bowes of Thunder commented “This is the most exciting new classic rock act of 2015 – I expect big things from them”
[Originally posted on UK Arts Directory 10/7/15]