Kenneth Liong sat down with Sydney psychedelic rock band King Colour to talk about their origins, starting a record label, and hosting their own parties. Watch or read the interview below!
How did you guys come to be a band?
Josh: Liam and I were at a party, and we were just talking about playing music. We played in bands at school for HSC projects and stuff. I think Matt or AJ had talked about starting a band as well and then the next thing I knew, we were at my house jamming.
Did you guys all listen to the same sort of music?
Matt: No, not really. Josh was a ‘prog-boy’ [progressive rock]. Me and AJ listened to kind of similar music growing up, and Liam was into his pop punk growing up.
Liam: I’m pretty pop punk.
AJ: I listened to a lot of hip hop growing up. And then also, the classic indie rock anthem bands like The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire.
Josh: I remember you guys were like my gateway into normal music. When I met you guys I was like, ‘God that music is really cool, I really wanna listen to that kind of music’. I didn’t like The Beatles at first and then I loved them.
Comparing your first single ‘Break the Ice’ to your latest one ‘Lost My Cool’, how has your sound changed? Did you guys just start listening to different music?
Matt: That’s definitely a big part of it. I guess we just kind of developed our song writing and wrote stuff closer to what we listened to and closer to what we liked.
AJ: This is our first band so we learnt how to write songs pretty much together.
Liam: And learning how to jam rather than having to write things and then playing it. It’s now like we all just kinda jam and then we’re like, ‘Oh that was cool’, and then we do it again. So it’s more natural now; less thought out, more natural. But then more thought out in the later stages, like when we produce.
Your first EP is out next year February. What was the process of creating an EP like? Was it a lot of work in a short amount of time or did you guys take your time?
Matt: We wrote a lot of these songs a while ago. So they’re songs we’ve had developed for quite a while. We recorded really quickly and really efficiently at a studio in Leichhardt. It was really good because we did a lot of preparation for the actual recording. The actual recording process was really easy.
Josh: I think what’s taken a long time is starting up a record label to release the music and in order to distribute it as well. We run a little collective called Yeah Nah Yeah with two other mates in different bands like SCK CHX and Jermango Dreaming. For us, releasing our first EP, having been a band for so long and having waited so long to get to this point, was like ‘We need to release this properly’ and ‘We wanna do it ourselves’. So we wanna get our hands dirty with it and use what we’ve got in parties we were throwing with our friends and all the gigs we were putting on. So that took a long time but we sorted out distribution, publicity and all that kinda stuff, locked it in and now we’re finally seeing it go out to the world.
Where did the idea [of Yeah Nah Yeah] originate from? What made you guys decide to start your own record label?
Josh: In terms of record label, I guess that’s something that everyone who starts a band has probably got as a dream. But it started because we wanted to throw an event that had bands, DJs and art. We had this body painter, Tashi [Honnery], who was painting this beautiful underwater scene, and we had projections and gallery pieces. We wanted to throw a party that we’d wanna go to, like the best party we could possibly throw. Then a year after that we found a warehouse to throw a party in and started doing those kind of parties. So it just kinda came from there.
Matt: With our events, we try and keep a balance between live music and art. All of our events so far we’ve had an element of visual art, live music and DJs to try and keep people who are interested in each of those different things interested in [the events].
What was the first event like?
Liam: It was really good, it was a massive success. We totally packed the venue to capacity; we had like 300 people through the door. We had a lot of art, we had two projection screens going, we had Jobe Williams who’s known as Hyper Reelist. He’s done festival projections and installations. Yeah, everyone that we had has gone on to become huge, like Tashi, she’s over in America and she’s in Humans of Newtown book as well.
Did you guys approach SCK CHX and Jermango Dreaming to come up with this record label?
AJ: [Matt and Josh] are in SCK CHX, and Jermango went to school with us as well so it’s pretty much just our group of friends. We were already close mates, even back then they were really close friends with us, as we were starting up King Colour.
Liam: They were involved in the first Yeah Nah Yeah event as well. It was kind of from there where we kicked it off altogether.