July 14, 2012
CT: Can you give us a short history of Colour Me Wednesday? How did you all meet and when, how and why did you decide to start making music together?
HD: Well Jen and I are sisters and so we’ve known each other for, like, ages (laughs). I started the band when I was 18 with two other girls, we just started playing our instruments for fun. An upcoming battle of the bands competition made us realize we needed a singer and second guitarist.
JD: That’s when I stepped up. Sam and I had been doing a bit of music together so we decided to join forces with Harriet for this battle of the bands. It was nerve-wrecking. We did four covers, “I want you to want me” by Cheap Trick, “In Love With Bobby” by Identity No. 1, “Only For The Night” by RX Bandits and a sort of rocky version of “Toxic” by Britney Spears.
HD: We didn’t win (laughs).
JD: About three years ago we realized we wanted to be serious about this but the other two girls had moved on so Sam moved from second guitar to drums and we stole Danny from a band that we played a gig with.
HD: Yeah (laughs).
CT: You've been recording your debut album for a a bit now. Can you share some fun and interesting details about the album, and about recording it?
JD: Oh gawd, we’ve been working on it for ages in theory, but because we record our own stuff we’ve done versions of songs that ended up just being demos because we just weren’t happy with the sound, ‘cos we’re all self-taught and stuff. It’s also really hard letting go of the old songs to make room for new songs on the album, you grow so attached. We’ve been writing so many songs in the last six months, recording and getting feedback from people all over the world has really motivated us.
HD: We’re actually working on a song right now that we hope to feature on the album, it’s about being a vegetarian and the shit you get for it. It’s also for my final project at university – it’s gonna be paired with an animated music video.
JD: We love making music videos, an animated one is a real challenge actually.
HD: Yeah it’s gonna be hard.
CT: You call yourself a DIY ska and punk band. Are you slowly moving towards more indiepop than ska and punk, or is this just mostly happening in my imagination? Not that I care about those labels a lot, but I'm curious if there's indeed a conscious change in sound going on.
JD: I know it seems like that, because our most up to date recordings (on the 2011 sampler) happen to be our more poppy, melodic and non-ska songs. But there’s definite cross-over with the more DIY side of all those genres and sometimes it’s just things like the pre-amps or microphones you use that can make something sound more ‘punk’ rather than ‘indie’.
HD: I didn’t think indiepop was a specific or current scene before people started booking us for gigs that were described as ‘indiepop’ nights. But I guess we fit the bill.
JD: Yeah and most of our influences are indiepop or the poppier side of pop-punk, I realize. I always want to make our songs as poppy and melodic as possible because to me, catchiness is the mark of a truly good song. The ‘indie’ genre is a bit tarnished now though because of all these land-fill man-bands selling out stadiums, I feel the punk scene has more potential because it’s less commercially exploitable.
HD: Yeah and we do play a few less ska songs at the moment but the album is going to feature more than our live set.
CT: In the FAQ section of your site you explain "No, we don’t wanna play at yr racist pub, right-wing biker club etc. we will also never ‘pay to play’." Did you get a lot of weird requests, then? Can you also tell us some positive experiences? What has been a highlight of playing with the band so far?
JD: (laughs) I didn’t think anyone would ever read that. The fact that our website is meant to ‘sell’ or ‘market’ us really put me off so I sort of went completely the other way and put down some of the things that irritate me about the ‘industry’ or the ‘scene’ or whatever; mainly to put people off that wouldn’t like us anyway once they got to know us.
HD: We did play at a certain biker club a few times. It’s a really interesting place, you could do a great photo shoot there but the vibe is really off-putting. Not only that, when we announced the title of ‘Purge your inner Tory’ all the bikers stormed out (not that they were thrilled by our presence in the first place). After doing that once you don’t need to do it again.
JD: We’ll basically play any shit-hole once. But NO MORE THAN THAT!
HD: I like playing outside of London, like in Brighton or Sheffield. When you are specifically requested for a gig it really boosts your confidence and the promoters are generally nicer. We’ve had so many fun gigs…
JD: But we’re still waiting for that ultimate moment where people are really listening and singing along and stuff.
CT: You record your ows songs, make your own videos, design your own posters and sleeves and state on your website that you don't want to get signed. How did you get into being completely DIY, and what do you enjoy most about it? And also, maybe, what are DIY's limitations for you? Are there things that you would like for the band but can't do yourselves?
HD: Well, we’re all art students or have been art students so the DIY and creativity comes naturally or something like that. Basically we’re really into craft!
JD: Like with the website, the idea of marketing ourselves made me want to vomit. Getting signed is great for the few bands that can but I hate being competitive, I’d prefer to not have that added pressure and let things flow or grow naturally.
HD: The great thing about making our own CD covers and them all being individually handmade is that we don’t need to get attached or pick one design, some sleeves take just a couple of minutes others we spend a longer time on but either way we’re okay with giving them away and never seeing them again.
JD: It’s nice that someone else might really treasure them. And we are recycling! And all that stuff is the fun stuff, making posters, designing t-shirts, making collages, making music videos – why pay someone to do that when that’s what we love to do anyway?
HD: You have to be okay with making a loss sometimes, we buy our own recording equipment and we’ve had stuff stolen, like vocal microphones.
JD: Even though we use really cheap stuff, it still stacks up when something like that happens. Also, the label ‘DIY’ still makes people think of that analogue cassette tape aesthetic and our recordings are done on a PC which means you don’t get that rich, hissy analogue sound that people might associate with ‘true DIY’, but it’s the new DIY, not just the aesthetic.
CT: What was the kind of music that you grew up with? What did your parents or siblings listen to? What were your first records and attended shows?
HD: Jen and I grew up listening to Juliana Hatfield, listening in our parent’s car. She’s probably mine and Jen’s biggest influence.
JD: Also the Beatles because our dad is obsessed with them. They knew how to write a good pop tune.
HD: Danny grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac, him and his family go to see them live together.
JD: Sam told me he didn’t listen to music until he was about 12, and then it was Papa Roach!
JD: When I was young I would only listen to female singers, I just didn’t like male singers, apart from the Beatles of course, I used to wish that one day there’d be a radio show that would only play female vocalists. Actually I’ve fallen back into that preference now. Maybe it’s because there’s just too many male singers in bands, there’s less quality control, or maybe they are just shittier?
CT: The theme of this fanzine is 'happiness'. In your song 'What happened' you sing: "You had it right when you were just a kid, a little kid, watching kid’s TV / So good to be free / And happy / But you put those toys away / Resigned yourself to your fate". Do you feel like we often forget about happiness? How do you make sure you don't forget about your inner child?
JD: That song is about this deep fear I have, what scares me is that other people don’t worry about how short life is and they end up doing what is expected of them instead of what makes them happy. I have friends who I feel like were tricked into this 9-5 working life way too young, because they liked the novelty at first of ‘being an adult’ and having all this disposable income; but before they know it they’ve had to make loads of compromises. I think some things that are seen as inherently childish become luxuries or novelties which are then denied to grown-up people, especially women who often are forced to grow up faster than their male counterparts. A lot of the uplifting and subversive messages of the kid’s tv shows we watched in the 90s like “The Adventures of Pete and Pete” or “Clarissa Explains It All”, shows where the adults are really inept, still ring really true for me (laughs).
CT: If the world is going to end in 2012, what do you want to make sure to have done before that?
JD: Get on TV.
HD: Train my cat to be well-behaved. And yeah, CMW have got to get on TV…
JD: …to spread our radical propaganda (laughs).
CT: What else can we expect from you in 2012?
HD: Tour! Album! Zine! T-Shirts! Videos!
JD: Yeah we’re making a zine to go with the album, with all the lyrics and some stuff about the songs and stuff! It’s going to be so pretty!
CT: Thanks guys! We’ll be looking forward to that!
Visit Colour Me Wednesday at www.colourmewednesday.com
and download free MP3s from soundcloud.com/colourmewednesday