We were lucky enough to sit down with Flyying Colour’s Brodie James to ask him about his hometown of Melbourne, its burgeoning music scene, and what the future holds for the band.
Last summer feels like a lifetime ago but as the days get longer and the sun peaks through the clouds – it’s finally official; summer is upon us again. And right on cue come Flyying colours; the latest in a long and exciting string of bands to come out of Melbourne, Australia. Armed with a collection of sun-tinged, shoegaze serenades, they manage to find that perfect place between the sounds of a yesteryear and the present time, leaving you with a certain sense of nostalgia and fuzzy goodness. But don’t be fooled – like all good things in life; they come with a darker side of psychedelic broodiness.
Inspired by the guitar-driven music of the 90s – arguably ‘the golden age’ – the four piece, who formed back in 2011, are in the midst of a European tour to promote their hotly anticipated sophomore EP ‘ROYGBIV’, which came out on May 11th via Club AC30.
Formed back in 2011 – how did Flyying Colours come about?
I had been writing songs for this project for quite some time, however struggled to find the platform through which to bring it to life. Gemma (Guitar and Vocal) and I had plans and had been working on a number of the songs from our first EP for a while. We went to high school together, as we all did, so when everyone had relocated to Melbourne by 2011 we were able to form the group with close friends allowing us to develop musical chemistry very quickly and easily. The same goes for our new line up with Mel on bass guitar and Andy on drums, we are all very close and have established a great feeling for one another’s playing.
With the release date of your new EP fast approaching – how does this new offering differ from your first – both in how you approached it? And the final product?
Both EPs are in a way part of a whole – which is a lot of the reason we opted to record another EP before we release an LP. The sound and style of the songs are all from the same writing period and we have used the same producer again – Woody Annison. I feel however that the second EP advances more on the lyrical elements of our song writing, and the vocal interplay between mine and Gemma’s voices. I feel it is a more mature release, and it took a little more to record certain tracks like “Leaks”.
As our lineup change was taking place essentially during the recording session it was pretty much Gemma and I in the studio with Woody everyday, which may be why it is a more lyrically focussed effort.
Having friends from Melbourne – I’m all too aware of the ‘bursting at the seams’ musical talent inhabiting the city at this point in time; why is it that so little of it reaches us over here? And do you think that’s changing?
Australia is comparatively a much smaller (in population) and younger country, so I feel that sometimes it lacks the infrastructure to allow smaller bands to bring their music to wider audience via support from great record labels and promoters as we have been able to over in the UK and Europe.
That said, I also feel the opposite, as I see many great Australian groups having success overseas and at home, so who really knows. I imagine with so many great artists worldwide it’s easy to become focussed on what is right in front of you wherever you are.
What is it about the city that makes it such a melting pot for music?
Melbourne is a culturally beautiful city. With music, whatever style or genre you play there is a scene for you – yes even shoegaze, which when starting Flyying Colours both surprised and excited me. It’s a very artistic city with many people moving from isolated rural areas to study and live, which brings people from many different walks of life together, all with different views, experiences and styles of their own. I think it’s this coming together of people from all over Australia to Melbourne that makes it what it is.
People talk about there currently being a ‘shoegaze renaissance’ happening – did it ever really go away?
No I don’t believe it did it all. There have been bands making “shoegaze” music consistently since the original scene. It may be now that it has come more into the general consciousness of music fans, or at least the term has. With the release of the long awaited MBV album and reformation of Slowdive, Swervedriver and now Ride – a renaissance of sorts was inevitable.
Your explosive live shows are something that many pointed out as setting you ‘apart from the rest’ – what can any gig goers expect to see should they catch you on your current UK and European tour?
We are all very passionate about music, especially the music we create ourselves. Our live show is simply us playing the songs we have created, and enjoying ourselves while doing it. I firmly believe that you should always make art for yourself first. This is something I personally have always done – make the music you want to hear. In doing that, the performance will always excite you which is reflected in our performance style. It’s not a contrived or considered thing. Music is incredibly emotional for me, so my performance will always reflect my mood, be it happy, sad or whatever. All that said, we are obviously performing for an audience which is humbling be it 10 or 1000 fans so we are always going to play the best show we possibly can for our audiences. Playing live is a celebration of the recordings in a way – a party – so let’s dance.
One often hears people talk of first gigs being like losing your virginity – messy, awkward, and not that enjoyable – could the same be said for Flyying Colours?
All the way back then we drove to a town just outside of Melbourne (Geelong) so that we could play our first show somewhere our friends couldn’t see us. It wasn’t a nerves thing but more of a “we don’t know what’s about to happen so let’s do it in private” kind of thing.
That said our current line up played just one show together in Australia before our flight, so our show last night in Nottingham was literally our fourth show together.
Rumour has it there’s an LP on the Horizon – is this true? And if so – when can we expect it?
There certainly is. As soon as we return to Australia after our UK/European tour we will tour this EP at home and then go straight into the studio. At this stage we will be spending a great deal of time producing our full length LP ourselves – it will differ from the EPs in the way I think it will be more complex and conceptual, maybe a little darker. The record has been mostly written, however we are looking forward to working together with the songs, taking the time we need to create the record that takes everything we love about our first releases and really define our sound – fuzzier, dreamier etc. Hopefully it will be finished before the end of this year and ready for release early 2016.
What does the rest of 2015 hold for Flyying Colours?
We are excited for Primavera Sound at the end of this tour and then to head back to Australia to tour ROYGBIV at home. After that we will be touring with Johnny Marr as his support which is incredible. Following that tour we will be commencing work on our LP which should keep us very busy for the remainder of the year.
Finally, you’ve been marked down on many a ‘One to Watch’ list – who are your ones to watch?
I suggest everyone watch Melbourne if you are a shoegaze/psych fan. Or a fan of any music really. I mean, there are incredible groups everywhere in the world, but seeing bands like Contrast, Hideous Towns, Hollow Everdaze and Warmth Crashes In (just a handful of bands we have recently played with, all with new music on the horizon) makes me so proud of where we are from.
Words: Max Sanderson