Brighton-based rockers COLOUR OF NOISE are one of an increasing number of acts dedicated to reviving the classic rock sound of the 1970s and 80s. Jack Fermor-Worrell spoke to frontman Matt Mitchell ahead of their show in Manchester supporting TOSELAND to find out more.
So, fourth night of the tour – how’s it been so far?
Matt: It’s been good. I mean, travelling around is always fun. And the band, because we’re a fairly new band even though we’ve all done things before, it’s nice for us to get our footing in. This is, I think, the third tour we’ve done so we’re all still getting used to it.
Have there been any particular highlights so far?
Matt: Last night was fun, in Birmingham. It was a sold-out show and there were moments on stage where the band almost turned into the spirit of GUNS N ROSES.
You got to kick things off in your hometown – what was that like?
Matt: Well, again, it was a sold-out gig. I used to love playing hometown shows, it was always a good party and everything else, but I always like to do it as an end rather than a beginning – for obvious reasons maybe. But it’s great because you normally get all your family and friends coming down and stuff like that. It was funny this time round though because the venue had sold-out before we’d even got a chance to tell anyone, so we were inundated with texts and things like that from people saying “We can’t get in”, which I guess is a good sign. So yeah, it was a good night.
Your debut album came out back in December, am I right in saying that?
Matt: Middle of December, yeah. We did a PledgeMusic campaign for that.
How did you find that process?
Matt: For us personally, it was really interesting and really helpful. You never know, we might do it again, or there might be another means. But for us, it worked really well. It also gives you deadlines and it makes you work towards things – which I think is a good thing for bands really.
I guess it gives you a bit more control in a way? Gives you another means of getting stuff out?
Matt: Absolutely, yeah. The only thing it does do, as I said, y’know – you have to fulfil things and you’ve got deadlines. But you’ve pretty much made them all yourself. You’re your own boss, your own record company.
What’s the fan/critical response to the album been like so far?
Matt: Really, I think it’s been wonderfully positive. I’m sure that there’s a small percentage out there that would say “Oh I prefer this guy doing this…”, there’s always going to be that. But really, it’s a completely different project from anything else – it’s not trying to revamp a band or something. We wanted to make a classic rock & roll record in…well it was 2015 at the time, and that’s what we did.
You mention the whole classic-rock thing – do you in your performance have any massive influences?
Matt: Me personally, I grew up listening to out-and-out classic rock. I grew up in those days where I can remember walking into a record shop and buying DEF LEPPARD’s album Hysteria on vinyl when I was a really young teenager, putting it on and thinking “This is absolutely amazing”. And then kind of morphing into different genres from there – to, like, I loved the BLACK CROWES and AEROSMITH. And then when the whole grunge scene happened, I loved bands like SOUNDGARDEN and ALICE IN CHAINS. And now these days probably a lot more of the older artists – PAUL RODGERS is one of my favourite singers from the 60s and 70s, but obviously still going strong and sounding amazing. And I love modern day bands as well, bands like ALTER BRIDGE and that kind of American scene with the likes of BLACK STONE CHERRY. Some of the newer English bands are great too – THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT for example. Bruce (John Dickinson, lead guitarist) is really influenced by a lot of the older stuff too – I think THIN LIZZY would really be a marker for him
It seems like there’s a lot of these rock & roll revival bands coming through now – what do you think of that whole scene that’s kind of coming back in a way?
Matt: I think it’s great, to be honest. For me personally, it’s something that I wish had happened maybe ten years ago. Because, it’s almost like, the BLACK CROWES were doing that anyway at one point but because they were already this established band it was okay for them to be these kind of hippy-type Southern rock & rollers. But, like you said, there’s loads and loads of it now – it’s good. I don’t know if it’s going to be wonderfully groundbreaking to the point of “This is going to be the next AEROSMITH” or something like that. I don’t know if that’s going to be the case but it’s definitely an awesome market and one that I really love.
You released a music video for Can You Hear Me? last month – what was the inspiration behind that particular song/video?
Matt: That song was inspired and put together from riffs and melodies, but the thoughts behind the lyrics kind of have a touch on recent issues I suppose. Mental health and stuff like that. The song is about a therapy session and the video kind of portrays that as well. I mean, therapies can be a wonderful thing, but the video shows a psychiatrist and kind of not really getting the point or being able to hear properly – hence the title and chorus line, and hence the whole band just being around him while he’s sat in a chair. There was a guy, Alex Wykes who put that all together for us, and he’s been great to work with.
Would you say that there’s any particular goal for you guys in 2016?
Matt: For COLOUR OF NOISE, we got the chance to do Download Festival, Hard Rock Hell, Steelhouse and some others last year. We got a really good pick straight away with stuff like Planet Rockstock, we went on tour with THUNDER and THE DEAD DAISIES. We’ve been quite busy for a new band, and now this with TOSELAND. It’d be nice if we could do some more festivals this year, mentioning no names. It’s hard, because when you’ve played one festival, the rule seems to be if they let you play again the next year then it’s a bit unfair to other bands and a bit strange anyway – because you want it to mix up really. Most bands will be on alternate years with most festivals I think. There’s a festival called Ramblin Man which I think is looking amazing and, again, it’s that kind of vibe we were talking about so that’d be lovely. We are doing a small festival though called Dementia Aware Fest which is coming up, and that’s in Birmingham. That’s going to be amazing, looking forward to it. Also, we’re doing Wildfire which should be really cool as well. But as for the bigger ones, who knows? We just want to get out and play. We’re writing for a new album as well already, just pushing things forward really.
Have you got any sort of timescale for the new stuff then, or is it literally just writing and demoing at this point?
Matt: Yeah, we’ve got a loose plan, but of course we’ve only just put an album out. We did soundcheck one new track tonight though, one that we’ve been popping in and out of the setlist. But of course that’s completely brand new so we’re kind of just doing that for ourselves really, and to see what reaction it gets. Timeframes – I would say December/January, so very similar to what we’ve done this time around and about a year down the line.
Thanks very much for your time Matt.
Matt: No problem man.
Colour Of Noise, the band’s self-titled debut is available now. The band play Dementia Aware Fest at The Roadhouse in Birmingham on Sunday 1st May. For more information on the band, visit their website.