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A Chat with Melbourne’s great psych-gazers, Flyying Colours

Flyying Colours live.
13 September 2016

I am not sure when I first became aware of Melbourne, Australia’s great psych-gaze band, Flyying Colours (FC). I believe one of my pals who is always up on the latest bands sent me one of their EPs and I became an instant fan. How could I not? One listen to barnburners like “Wavygravy” or the fantastic “Running Late” will hook you for life; both songs are ripe with hooks, heavenly harmonies, and over the top feedback and swirling effects. When the band combined their EPs into EPX2, I was ecstatic. I rarely get this excited about bands, but in fact, I think it’s safe to say this is one of the best bands I have heard in the past decade. That said, their new album is a side step away from their previous material, containing different tempos and textures, but losing none of the shimmering intensity and accomplished songwriting this band excels at. The band recently agreed to answer some questions about their most recent release and what they are up to. Thanks to Dan McCormick at 9PR and Jack Rabid for helping set this up.

EK: Hi there, so great to have the chance to interview you. How are you feeling about your new material on Mindfulness?

FC: We have actually spelt it Mindfullness, a play on how we were feeling coming into the record, and keeping consistent with our annoying misspellings. So, feeling a little relieved now. It’s been great to make a record with everyone in our new lineup together.

EK: Mindfullness is a bit of a departure in places, moving away from the shoegaze which which you are often labelled. Was this a deliberate stylistic shift or more organic?

FC: Being an album length, we had the freedom to do a lot more with certain parts of the record. With the EPs I always felt we had to be very direct and to the point, which is probably why we chose the songs we did, and they sounded like they did.

It’s the final chapter of what we started with our first recordings as the songs on Mindfullness were written in the same period. I guess it shows how the band has changed.

EK: How do you think fans who really dug your earlier EPs will react to the different musical textures on Mindfullness? Any early opinions you might have received?

FC: I would like to think that people who like our earlier stuff will like this. But like with any band, it’s a journey for us as much as anyone else to see what comes out.

EK: What were you trying to accomplish creatively with this album?

FC: There was never too much of a focus on a particular style, I think we were mostly trying to capture ourselves quite organically as a band. I really wanted it to be almost like an answer to our first EPs, in a more settled and understood way that came from time.

EK: How does the band approach songwriting? Do you write as a group, or are particular people well versed in writing song structure vs lyrics?

FC: I write and demo the songs at home. That gives us a place to go from where Gem, Mel and Andy can work out their parts. We have never been a band big on rehearsing, so a lot happens when we play our parts in the studio.

EK: What most influences the band’s writing? Personal experiences, art, film, or literature perhaps?

FC: For me, music and words just have to come out, there’s no real reference point for any of it. I think maybe it’s another part of me. Like who I want to be. Or who I wish I wasn’t. The things I don’t really want to think about. Or the things I love to think about. This could be the way they come out. Or it could all mean nothing, I’m not sure.

EK: Listening to “It’s Tomorrow Now”, I think this is a wild ride of a single. And it comes off as heavy psych rock to me, so how would you characterize it?

FC: I think it has a lot of energy. Mixing this one we really felt that, it was very hard to contain. It does feel a bit heavier than our other stuff maybe. I think that has a lot to do with the amount of anticipation the four of us had leading into to our first recording sessions together. This was the first song we tracked, and we were all pretty buzzed.

EK: “Long Holiday” is lilting psych pop. I just love its main melody and harmonies, it’s just timeless. How hard is it to write such perfect tunes? Does it take a lot of thought, or does it just flow naturally as part of the creative process?

FC: We all love pop music, so it’s great when a song like this one comes out. Although I certainly don’t think it’s perfect. Again, we just naturally did our thing in the studio with this one, having not played it together before the recording sessions.

EK: Is there anything special about the year “1987”? Just wondering if the song title was significant in some way. I just love the slightly stuttering feel with the bass lines. It’s definitely a toe-tapper!

FC: That was the year I was born. The album to me has a kind of nostalgic feeling, and I like this song most of all.

EK: Which songs on this album are you most proud of?

FC: It’s all a bit of a blur at this point. I can’t look at or listen to the album with much focus, having worked on it so recently. I am proud of it, however, I really want distance from the recorded versions of the songs, so I’m very excited to be playing them live on the upcoming tours.

EK: Do you folks ever pull a Sloan and switch instruments when you play out live?

FC: Nope, we all have our own thing going on with our instruments.

EK: And speaking of live outings, are there plans to tour Europe and the US in support of this album?

FC: We have a Euro/UK tour coming up in October, and then back to Australia to tour the album at home.

EK: When you’re not playing music, what does the band do for hobbies and work?

FC: Music is where our heads are most of the time I’m sure. Music or animals.

EK: What are your hopes and plans for the future?

FC: To make a lot more music.

See the band’s web site for more information.

 

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