Colour of Fire
words: Joe Richardson
pics: Eye Candy
December 2004 - January 2005
I am in pain, a lot of pain, from a troublesome wisdom tooth as I stumble along to meet Colour Of Fire in the sanctuary of a pub where I can at least ease the pain with a few pints. I must admit that, because of this discomfort, I wasn’t looking forward to doing this interview. Lucky for me, I think I’ve come across a band who will talk away, at great length, about just about any subject I put to them so reducing my talking to a minimum.
It all started many moons ago when three separate bands split. Two of those were Fibbers’ battle of the bands’ winners and the other, well they weren’t. It’s not an uncommon thing for ex-members of other bands to join together and play under a new name so when this happened all that was needed was a local music hack to muscle his way in on the act. Add in a few discriminating photos and there you have it. Colour Of Fire were born!
“We were kind of lucky ‘cos we were owed a few favours by some management companies and people at record labels who got us some gigs with bands like Idlewild and a few others. I think it turned out for the best because we’ve got a deal with a fairly good indie label and we get quite a lot of say in how things work.”
They have been quickly making a name for themselves across the country and in Europe.
“I’ve had an email from this French girl who posts on the web site quite a lot saying that she’s in York for two weeks and could we meet up. The French in particular are just fanatical about bands. The UK tour that we are on at the minute, we have had French fans turn up at every gig. They just book a week off work or whatever and then come across, not even bothering to book hotels or anything. You find them outside at the end of the gig saying to you (adopts bad French accent) ‘Thom we have to sleep in the cold car again tonight, do you have any space on your floor I could sleep on?’ You’ve got to draw the line somewhere but there have been times when we have let people do it, but only in exceptional circumstances!”
So as far as things on the must-have-list to become rockstars they can tick off obsessive fans. The next box to tick would be a bit of rock and roll style of debauchery. There’s a tick in that box too. “It was In The City (the massive annual Manchester unsigned band / industry schmooze fest) and some of us just ended up laying on the floor with loads of these industry people just stepping over us. We had just met Simon Moran (he of SJM promoter’s fame) and we were like, yeah nice to meet you, just doing to throw up now. It was in a hotel called the Lowry, we were on this balcony and all these people were having drinks on this little courtyard and we were just sick all over them. I just couldn’t help it. We took this mate of ours with us to this gig, he was responsible for all this and now he’s not been allowed to come out with us and he’s actually been banned from any of our tours since then."
Along with RSJ, Lynchpin and Beyond All Reason, Colour Of Fire are the ones who are really out there flying the flag for the heavier end of music that’s being produced in this city but they don’t have the influences that you would expect from a band that’s playing this genre of music which is both refreshing and slightly mystifying at the same time.
“It’s difficult to pin down the influences in this band just because they would be so diverse for each person in the band. If you had bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins in the middle there has to be Elton John, The Carpenters, Beach Boys, loads of old school punk right down to Owen being into the sound of typewriters!”
The Band are currently on tour across the country after returning from Europe a few weeks ago which marks them out as one of the very few York based bands who are playing outside of this country.
“It’s been a bit of a mixed bag in Europe this time.” Thom starts, “we started in France with [Sweden’s] International Noise Conspiracy but it looked like a lot of the crowd were there for us as well and they knew a lot of the songs. Countries that we thought would be great were a bit of a let down like Italy but Switzerland, where we thought that there would be nobody, we did packed and brilliant shows.”
“We played at a festival in Holland over the summer and we really thought that no one would turn up at all. We didn’t know that we were apparently one of the kind of buzz bands of the festival who loads of people where saying that they wanted to see, so there we were not expecting anything at all and it all just kicked off in front of us.”
There have been rumours that things had gone just a little bit Stella in countries like France. Stu is quickly onto this.
“It seems that pretty much everywhere but in the UK people have at least heard of us but it’s starting to warm up over here now. In York and London we have a good following, it’s just the way it goes, there’s nothing much we can do about it. We just hope that people appreciate us.”
Colour Of Fire’s album, “Pearl Necklace” has been out since mid August after a large launch gig at The Junction and a signing session at the Virgin Megastore in York City centre. Produced by Steve Osbourne (famous for producing albums by U2) and recorded on and off between touring and other commitments the boys of Colour Of Fire came out with a fine finished product that any band would be proud to call their debut album.
“It was good, then it was exciting and then it was destroying and then at the end it was intense! Destroying almost. The first week we spent in Rockfield doing drums and bass then it just seemed to go on for weeks and weeks. By the end of it Steve was wanting to lock us in a log cabin on the side of Everest without any human contact. We’d be in the mixing room and he’d say, ‘right boys we need to go back and do this’, so we would walk into the studio and listen to a track then he’d say, ‘right boys, you’re pissing me off, just really pissing me off.’ So he’d walk out and come back about five hours later. We would say ‘Steve, where have you been?’ and he would have just run out of the studio and off up this lane.”
Eccentric producers is not where it all ends as Matt continues, “We had an Italian journalist ask us what it was like having U2 produce our album, you just can’t give a dull answer to a question like that!”
Like many bands, Colour Of Fire have become more like a family than a band and openly admit that there are times when they don’t get along. Sat with them you can feel the sibling rivalry that bubbles just underneath the surface.
“There is a love/hate relationship that exists in the band. We have big busts up and then we make up and then we have more bust ups and then we have almighty bust ups.”
Stu picks up the thread from Thom with more straightshooting on the subject, “The only way to deal with it is to kick the shit out of each other. Matt and Thom did fight a lot and physically fight a lot. We were in this hotel in Italy and Matt tried to do this kung fu thing on Thom and Thom just flipped him in mid air. Five minuets later there’s a knock at the door and these girls are standing there asking if Blue are staying here because our manager’s surname is Blue and our rooms were booked under that name. Somehow these girls had heard that Blue where staying at the hotel but they were expecting the boy band. They saw me and turned away.”
Thom gets back to the topic at hand by adding, “I think we all compliment each others personalities. There are never four people exactly the same, we are all very different. Matt is super lazy, Owen’s a bit highly strung and he worries the most about his hair.”
As to local bands? “The Yards are cool and Black Night Crash are alright. They seem to be working really hard to get somewhere but to be honest I just don’t have the money to go out and see any bands! There are a lot of guys who just need to get demos out there for people to hear. ”
The band are now coming to the end of a long and grueling tour and it sounds as if it has taken its toll.
“I think we just want to get back home now and have a few weeks off. We’ve all got colds and sore throats so after a bit of time off we can start doing some new demos for the new album, probably another tour and then it will be time for the festivals again!”
So they not going anywhere just yet and I think that the best may still to come!