Interview with Colours Of One

We may be a little biased but we think the music coming out of Wales at the moment is outstanding, so many great albums and EP’s being released by the likes of Straight Lines, Manhattan Coast and The Missive, and Bridgend’s Colours Of One are no exception to this.

They have just released the ‘Apparitions’ EP, a review of which is coming soon, and it includes one of my favourite songs right now, ‘Echoes’ which you can check out the video of below.

The band have a solid reputation as a great live act and were picked as BBC Wales Introducing Band Of The Week by Bethan Elfyn.

We caught up with singer Mike Simmonds to get the low down on Colours Of One. 

Can you introduce yourself to our readers?  I’m Mike Simmonds – I’m the lead singer and very very occasional guitarist for Bridgend based Alternative Rock band, ‘Colours Of One’

Where did the bands name come from?  The band name came from an Incubus lyric in the song ‘Redefine’, “So modify this third rock from the sun by painting myriads of pictures with the colours of one

How did you get started?  The band was originally started by myself and Miff Tuck (guitar) – we used to jam Green Day songs together in each others bedrooms while we were still at secondary school and we decided to put a band together.  It’s been rolling from one incarnation to the another since then – writing and then scrapping lots of songs, while picking up and losing new members along the way.  This particular incarnation (Colours Of One) began about 3 years ago and we haven’t looked back.

What have you got going on at the moment?  We’ve just released an EP entitled ‘Apparitions’ – which we’ve poured a substantial amount of time and energy into and we’re so thrilled that the response has so far been very very positive.  We had a great night at the EP Launch in Hobos, Bridgend – the placed was pretty rammed so I decided to take some photographs from the stage, I keep looking at them and thinking ‘Wow, all these people came to see our band’ – it blew my tiny little mind.

We’re currently working hard behind the scenes trying to get the right shows together to promote this release and we’re about to begin work on our second video single off the EP, which we’re aiming to be out before the end of the year.  So watch this space, as they say.

Favourite music and why?  I’ve a rather large soft spot for the early nineties Seattle scene, particularly Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.  I’m drawn to the power and texture of the voices of their singers – I’ve pretty much spent the last 10 years trying my best to rip off both Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell in equal measure.

These days, pretty much all the music I seem to be listening to is from South Wales – The People The Poet, Caesars Rome, Future Of The Left, King & Country, Manhattan Coast, Paper Aeroplanes… – we seriously punch above our weight in terms of talent around these parts.

Favourite book and why?  Difficult one – I’m a bit a of a loser as I’m generally more inclined to pick up science or history books – I’m currently getting through ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ by Richard Dawkins – but if I had to pick an all time favourite book right here, right now I’d say ‘Yes, Man’ by Danny Wallace – it just made me ache from laughing so much.  I was appalled by the film – which is nothing like the book.

 Favourite film and why?  Four Lions – the funniest film I’ve ever seen.  Our producer (Tim Hamill) put it on in the studio while we were demoing some of the tracks that ended up on Apparitions – it had me in stitches.  Its pretty dark though, and you can’t help but end up liking the characters in the movie – even though they are plotting to murder innocent people.

Best experience in the business?  Getting our video on Kerrang! TV was pretty special.  We all remember when K!TV first started broadcasting, we are part of its first generation of viewers, so to get ‘Echoes’ on there was an absolute dream come true.  I got a phone call to say that it had been selected as I was about to leave the office and pretty much bounced like a maniac all the way home.

 Why should soundscape readers care?  Have you seen the South Park episode ‘Pandemic’ where the kids discover that the pan flute musicians that infest the shopping malls and town centres actually protect the population of the US from being attacked by giant guinea pigs??  Well, we perform a similar role in the UK – its because of us that Soundscape readers can sleep safe in their beds at night, with no worry of being attacked by this monstrous creatures.

Tell our readers an interesting fact about yourself?  In my youth I auditioned to be the Milky Bar kid, but my “The milky bars are on me” claim wasn’t quite convincing enough for the panel.  Things could have turned out so different.

What’s the best and worst things about touring?  The best thing is the camaraderie – its such a blast getting away for a few days seeing different cities with your best mates – the banter is superb – and of course in the evening doing the thing you love most.

The worst thing is the cost – the cost of petrol, the cost of hotels/hostels, and the cost of wasting painful amounts of money on rubbish food in motorway service stations (which is admittedly avoidable).  Some venues will give you money to help cover some of these costs, and if its a good turn out you can make some money on merch, but we’re yet to break even whenever we’ve gone away for a string of dates.

Most embarrassing thing to happen to you while in the band?  I am a walking embarrassment – the rest of the boys have a nickname for me – ‘The Clumz’, due to my all round clumsiness –  I’m as graceful as a dead cat according to Rhys.  In our EP launch show I decided to jump down from the stage to sing amongst the crowd.  When I jumped I brought the stage monitors down with me – not as rock n roll as I had intended it.  I did a similar thing in Cardiff Uni a good few years ago, but that time I slipped over and landed on my ass.

What’s your writing and recording process?  Writing is very much collective effort.  Any one of us can bring an idea to the table, and from there it will get moulded by the group until its a fully formed piece of music.  I tend to sing any old nonsense that comes to mind over the top – just to find a good melody – and then use it as a guide to pen a particular story, emotion or even social/political commentary.

We’re very lucky in that since we’ve had Ben on board, we’ve been able to record good quality demo versions, which means we can add an extra level of quality control before we spend money on studio time.  I think including this extra process has improved our end product – and certainly played a big part in why the response to ‘Apparitions’ has been stronger than our last release.

What inspires you?  Simply, great songs – whether thats listening to them on my iPod or watching a band perform live.

Best thing about coming from Wales?  If you draw inspiration from great music Wales is the perfect place be.  Its a point that I’ve kept banging home over the last few months – we have some really brilliant bands here – I could probably list at least 10-15 ‘undiscovered’ bands based in South Wales that are worth paying good money to see, and considering how small a population we have thats huge.  Its both a blessing and a curse, because on the one hand as a fan and a musician there is lots to draw inspiration from, but on the other if you’re in a band it’s more difficult to get noticed.

Who are your role models/idols?  Bill Hicks and Christopher Hitchens – two guys who weren’t afraid to call bullshit or speak their mind even if it would sometimes get them in trouble.

Hardest thing about the current business?  Motivating people to go to shows.  We’ve personally been doing okay, especially in South Wales – its been a long time since we’ve played to literally no-one, but I’ve been to quite a few shows over the last year or so where there’s only been a handful of people there.  I saw Falling With Style absolutely kill it playing to about 12 people in Blaengarw Workman’s Hall – its an absolute disgrace that millions of people are sat at home every Saturday night watching the absolute drivel like the X Factor when they could go and see some really great bands at their local venue.

Favourite Batman actor?  I think everyone has a soft spot for Adam West’s portrayal of the Caped Crusader, but my vote goes to Christian Bale – the Christopher Nolan films were spectacular.


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