Friday 16 November 2012

K&A with The Colourful Band

Now that's some stellar artwork there!  This is of course the debut album from Edinburgh's The Colourful Band.  It's been just over two years since the release of The Colourful EP with only (I say "only", it was a belter though) a solitary new song on one of my free monthly EPs in the meantime.  But, for the last month or so, the man behind the band, Ian McKelvie has been sowing the seeds of anticipation ahead of this album's launch with regular, teasing updates by email or Twitter regarding it's release.  So when it did finally appear in my Inbox, I was itching to hear it.

The album is a sheer delight from start to finish, and given the cold, grey days we're experiencing at the moment, the songs on it give that little, welcome blast of warmth and colour.  The album title (and I guess the band name too) couldn't be more apt.  Always The Summer and personal favourites Into the Bright Sun from Shadow and New Town Girls should all serve to prove my point.  The latter track also appears on their previous EP, as do just under half of the songs on offer here.  But whether you already have that or not, you're in for a treat.  In both the old and the new, it's apparent to all that Ian himself is a master storyteller.  Throughout the album you get a strong sense that in each and every song, he's reflecting on past experiences, such are the little intricate details.  Some of those, and the odd little 'pop culture reference' can't help but put a smile on your face.  

Anyhoo, it's about time we heard from him, so here's what Mr. McKelvie had to say when I asked him a few questions.

Kowalskiy:  Who are The Colourful Band?
Ian:  The Colourful Band is the name of the music project I started about 4 years ago.  I tend to write, record and then play either solo or with a band.  For the full band set-up its me on acoustic guitar and vocals, Steve Tonge (K: he of Supermarionation fame) on bass, Jon Tyler on electric guitar, and Fraser Stewart on drums.  We spent most of last year playing as a band, but with Dave Curry or Dave Steele sitting in on drums. Steve and I are going up to Aberdeen on Saturday to play Cellar 35, just as a two piece as that's who is available, but that's how we do things in TCB.  The next thing we have to do is play in Edinburgh again, as its been two years since the last time, then it would be nice to go play Newcastle again or somewhere new.  We played The 13th Note in Glasgow on Sunday as a four piece and it was our best performance so far.

Kowalskiy: You've about to release your self-titled debut album.  How would you describe it?
Ian: The new album has been a long time coming. I picked my strongest material from the last few years and decided to put out an album.  I would describe it as indie pop singer-songwriter for the most part, there are some folk songs as well. 

Kowalskiy:  It features tracks from your EP which came out in late-2010, along with a fair few new ones.  So how do the new tracks compare with those from the EP?
Ian:   The new songs were written either in a flat in Glasgow or a little cottage outside Edinburgh where I was living last winter.  I think some of them are very like the earlier tracks, but according to some the lyrics are post-modern. Which I had to look up.  What did you think?

Kowalskiy:  Would that make them futuristic??  OK, I have no idea what that means.  Anyway, some of the songs and stories on the album take you on a wee tour through Scotland, from Glasgow to Edinburgh and up the East Coast.  How influential are your surroundings when it comes to writing your songs?
Ian:  The songs are shaped by whatever I'm doing in real life at the time of writing. When I'm pissed off I usually write on the electric guitar and the song comes out as indie or even late 70s PUNK.  If I'm blue I will usually end up writing a folk song on the acoustic. So its hard to write the same kind of song every time, its more about externalising and therefore dealing with whatever is going on. In many instances it has been work and the hours, driving about, and general shit that life throws at you. For example, I was driving home from Manchester with a song in my head one night, and wrote the lyrics down on my mileage form when I got back to Glasgow. Then when I was doing my tax return I found the lyrics, and just wrote the music when I was taking a break.  That's the second song on the album. It was originally called "Are You Waiting For Someone To Take You Home?" but I thought it sounded a bit like The Buzzcocks, so I shortened it to "Are You Waiting?"

Another song I wrote when I was freezing in my flat in winter was going to be called "Because The Heating Does Not Work In This Flat", but I settled on "I Want To Go Home" because that's the chorus and it sounds a bit pretentious the other way, and less like a title.  There's another song called "Getting Famous Is Easy" which basically is my take on being a grassroots singer songwriter, and the lifestyle that goes with it.  I guess this is sounding fairly self-referential. But its basically a case of write about what you know. And I just went for it.  My mate Andy says I sound like a spokesman for how disaffected your average early thirties male is with modern Britain.  You do the exams, get the degree, get the job, and then life is just boring. Or maybe I'm just in the wrong job. That's why I write music.  In a nutshell, if you feel like this, you're not alone. That's where most of it comes from.  That, and the fact I travel around the UK a fair bit with my job.

Kowalskiy:  What would be your ideal gig? 
Ian:  Ideal gig, I would have to say with the band, CBGB, Ian Dury opening, then Neil Young, The Sex Pistols, then us, ha ha!
Kowalskiy:  What can we expect from The Colourful Band in the future?
Ian:  The future? Next album will be classic country rock I promise. Can't tell you more than that.

Kowalskiy:  Last one so it's a wee bit topical... and I'm taking a bit of a punt given one of your tracks is called Easter Road, but you're a Hibs fan yeah?  If so, can the Hibees win the SPL this year?
Ian:  I'm not a Hibs fan, but there is every chance they could.
Kowalskiy:  Nae chance mate! 

So, the album is out this Monday, the 19th of November.  You can get your copy in Avalanche if you're in Edinburgh.  If not, then it'll be on all major download sites soon after.  Also, as Ian said above, on Saturday (i.e. tomorrow) him and Steve will be playing Cellar 35 in Aberdeen.  So if you're at a loose end tomorrow night...

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