All the Colours
ANYONE looking frantically around the music horizon for…
some chunky, decent Alt-Rock would do well to wrap their ears around Melbourne’s All the Colours. I chat to the trio about their latest belter, Heartbreaker, and splitting their time between L.A. and Melbourne. I ask about the local scene where they are and what we can expect from their latest album, Vol. 3. The guys talk about music inspiration and how they chill away from music; whether there are any tour dates approaching – and a few of the acts they recommend we check out.
I get an insight into the band’s ethos and the way they view modern music; why they have a love for the 1970s and 1990s – and what it was like working with Zach McSweeny on their latest video.
Hi, chaps. How are you? How has your week been?
I’ve either been lazy or really busy: it’s hard to know, living in L.A., to be honest - chances are it’s the former, though...
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
We are All The Colours from Melbourne: three gentlemen in their 30s who love guitars, drums; bass and distortion. We decided we should be described as Alt-Rock cos it feels the most fitting - those two words mean a lot to us.
I don’t think there has been a lot of great Alt-Rock in the last decade: it’s a difficult genre to get right presently without sounding like the Foo Fighters.
Heartbreaker is your current song. Can you remember how that came together and what the background is?
It’s a song I (Joshua Moriarty) wrote - but it didn’t sound like anything until we all got in a noisy room and played at each other for a few hours. It’s about a simple concept I think we can all understand: being trapped in an addictive relationship where you are unsure if going back for more is helping you or making you worse.
The video has a trippy vibe! What the hell is going on in it and how much fun was it to shoot?!
This video was the most fun of any we have done...
Keeping it playful and unregimented was the key which meant we could just throw things together and ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ them quickly if it wasn’t working. It was about composition and creating these surreal atmospheres and environments. We had a great location where we were recording for the week – so, we invited Zach (the Director) up to stay and a few models to tag along (and just went for it).
Zach McSweeny directed. What was he like to shoot with?
We love Zach.
He has a can-do attitude - which really helps to keep things moving. We have made quite a few videos with him now - so we understand how to work together and get the best results.
We love you, Zach!
Vol. 3 is your forthcoming (third) album. How does it differ from your previous work and what are the new themes and ideas you bring to the music?
We have an ethos for Vol. 3 which is to write songs that we would have wanted to play on guitar when we were teenagers. It’s about nostalgia and a perfect distortion sound: trying to capture our memories from the 1990s but through the lens of being in our early-30s, now - and, also, seeing what is going on in the world around us.
I guess we want to capture sophisticated simplicity.
How did All the Colours come together? Did you guys know each other from way back?
Myself and Jono (Toogood, Drums) have been friends since we were kids - and have always been working on music together. We met Josh (Mann, Guitar and Vocals) through the Melbourne music scene and were always fans of his work. After Miami Horror finished up touring in 2012, I settled back in Melbourne and we knew it was the right time to start something. We had plenty of ideas and we haven’t really stopped since.
We all have different schedules so we have breaks here and there but there is always something pulling us together - and sense of purpose when we get together.
Last year was a bit of a quiet one for you. What was the reason for that and when was the moment you got back together and planned out your 2017?
I was busy with Miami Horror and moved to L.A. - so we didn’t have as much time together but, even in that year, we did manage to tour Australia with Eagles of Death Metal (which was a blast). We met those guys at their studio in Joshua Tree, where we recorded Vol. 2. We also started laying the tentative plans for Vol. 3 - which is now really starting to take shape.
Your music mixes aspects of the 1970s and 1990s. Is that, essentially, bringing together the music you grew up with – and the music your parents played around the house? What is it about the decades, and Rock, that appeals to you guys?
I think those two decades had a lot in common...
Soundgarden were the 1990s’ Led Zeppelin: Pearl Jam loved Neil Young. There is a similarity there and a path that you can trace.
Both decades had a rebellious nature and they loved guitars (as do we).
The band is based out of Melbourne. It is the one place in the world I long to go to. Can you tell me it’s complete crap and I shouldn’t fantasise about it!? Is it as good as I think it is?!
The band is now two-thirds in Melbourne and one-third L.A - I’m going to try and make it two-thirds L.A. and see how we go after that. Melbourne is a wonderful city: some of the best food and drink in the world; an A-class arts and music scene - it really can rival anywhere else in the world. Don’t sweat it though: it’s still going strong so you have plenty of time to get Down Under and check it out.
What is the music scene like there? Are there a lot of similar bands? What is it like trying to score gigs in the city?
I don’t think there are a lot of similar bands to us at all, to be honest.
I think a lot of the world is still heavily into Electronic music and Melbourne is no different. There is a strong Punk scene in Melbourne - but not so much in the Rock category. We have felt a bit out on our own - but that’s not a bad thing. It can be tough when if you don’t fit into a scene that’s already happening. you are a bit of a loner - but the great thing about that is you have to work harder and get your own thing going.
There is really cool music coming out of Melbourne all of the time: bands like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Client Liaison; No Zu and Total Giovanni are all doing really fresh stuff.
What tour dates are coming up? Are you coming to the U.K. soon?
We would love to come to the U.K.!
I’m heading over to London in November to record a bunch of interview for my podcast (thebottomofitpodcast.com). At the moment, though, all plans are about record number three and how to get that done.
Touring isn’t our main priority at this point, unfortunately.
How do you guys chill away from music? Is it quite easy to detach or do you spend your downtime involved in music?
Music never stops...
I think for me though it’s the music I choose to listen to in my downtime that helps me relax. If it’s not modern then I don’t have to think about all the competition and palaver that goes along with the current scene and all the trends etc. I like to listen to composers from yesteryear like Henry Mancini and Les Baxter - that’s the stuff that really helps me to chill.
IN THIS PHOTO: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
Who are new acts you recommend we check out?
If you haven’t heard King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard then you should get on board that one.
The new Cornelius album is boss. He’s been around a long time but is still relatively underground.
There is a band called Lo Moon based out of L.A. who, I think, are great - and Dhani Harrison is releasing his debut record - which I have heard (and actually played a little bit of bass on, too!) and really dig.
That’s plenty to wrap your ears around.
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would it be and why?
Joshua Moriarty: The Blood Brothers - ...Burn, Piano Island, Burn
This album gives me shivers still to this day. There is so much energy and passion in every single moment on this record: it sounds like madness but there is a deep artistic expression throughout. It’s a reminder for me to always stick to my guns no matter how much your art may offend.
Josh Mann: The Dark Side of the Moon
I'm sure if you've heard it or not but this experimental group in England (during the seventies) recorded it. Do yourself a favour and check out Us and Them/Any Colour You Like on vinyl, through a nice stereo. I'm pretty sure it's the best recording ever made.
Jono Toogood: (because Josh already took ...Burn, Piano Island, Burn) Kollapse by Breach
Although it's been a while since I've listened to it: it is one of those once-in-a-lifetime records. It is incredibly diverse and opened me to a new world of approaching music when I was younger and in need of it. Over, like, twelve songs; it visits chaos, intense darkness; beautiful melodic transitions and intense “landscape doom." Shiiiiet...gonna go put it on now and go for a stroll in this approaching storm…
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
If you believe in what you are doing then just keep going and keep working and keep completing the plans you set for yourself. Eventually, things should work out and, even if they don’t, at least you know you did your best and created something you believe in.
It’s pretty simple stuff, really.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that)
Josh Moriarty: Loveless – Lo Moon
Josh Mann: I Predict a Riot – Kaiser Chiefs
Jono Toogood: Hellionaries by TRAP THEM
Follow All the Colours