When the founders of Colourmusic, British Nick Turner (then an exchange student) and Okie Ryan Hendrix, first met each other at Oklahoma State University in 1998, they agreed they didn’t much care for the music the other was then making. However, bored out of their minds, they decided they could still try to write music together as long as it had nothing to do with what they had been doing previously.
Basing their work on Newtons color theories, they called themselves Colourmusic, using the British spelling to make Nick feel better about living in Oklahoma. The remaining three members, Nicholas Ley, Colin Fleishacker and Cry Suter, all Okies, eventually joined on, but Colourmusic didn’t fully coalesce until 2002, when they wrote “Yes!,” a rollicking, energetic song that oscillates between driving 4/4 beats and tribal-influenced rhythms. It’s a piece that Ryan calls “the best workout song ever,” and it struck some label interest, but it’s much more than that, showcasing the quintet’s messily refined indie rock, their ability to write from a group perspective and their innovative, yet catchy, melodies that work their way into your head without you even knowing it.
This is all on display at Colourmusic’s wildly inventive shows, and it’s while performing that the band’s vivid personalities come through. In the past they’ve been known to have their hair and clothes cut off, allow themselves to be painted, employ a motivational speaker, theatrically kill off and then resuscitate British Nick, and, the backwards Okies most of them are, try to hypnotize their audiences into sleeping with them.There was even a year, the “Roy Period,” in which all five members of Colourmusic pretended to be the same person, a Mr. Roy Biv, going as far as wearing similar clothes, growing similar beards, and trying to date the same girl, a venture which, to say the least, didn’t end well.
Most recently, as the supporting act for British Sea Power’s Do You Like Rock Music? tour, Colourmusic painted their equipment and dressed themselves in white, the only colour on-stage coming in the form of huge wheels. The set won them accolades across the board, including from a Village Voice critic who proclaimed the crowd at their 2008 SXSW show more into their music which their manager Scott Booker sees as a cross between Os Mutantes, the Who and Queen “than [with] any band I had seen in Austin, including Lou Reed.”
The lack of pigment in Colourmusic’s outfits is clearly the only muted thing about them. The band’s songs have been played on over 160 college radio stations and have been licensed to the MTV Network for use on several programs. In 2007 they appeared on the SXSW segment of The Tonight Show guest-hosted by Wayne Coyne and were also declared one of the festival’s top 10 bands by TeenVogue. Having already shared the stage with BSP, Silversun Pickups, Nada Surf, and the Postmarks, among others, Colourmusic are ready to conquer the world with their full-length debut, f, monday, orange, february, venus, lunatic, 1 or 13, which will be released September 9, 2008.
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