In 2005, Colourmusic's Ryan Hendrix and Nick Turner found a way to overcome the pressure of starting a new band.
"We're called Colourmusic for a reason," Hendrix says. "We wanted to make EPs that focused on a color."
From there, limitless possibilities and self-comparisons were put in check by the sonic direction color provides. "It's hard when you're starting out because you're comparing yourself to every band you've ever loved, and you suck compared to them," Hendrix, who "plays guitar and sings badly" in Colourmusic, explains. "When you work in the context of color, it tells you where you need to go."
“Some bands play one color their entire career."
Colourmusic’s Ryan Hendrix
Colourmusic picked red and yellow as their guinea pig colors. Both EPs move in different directions by design, but there's a kind of playful exuberance that ties the two together. Hendrix is probably being too hard on his band's efforts when he describes the experiment's results as mixed. "If a critic wanted to get us, he could say we failed at creating the colors," Hendrix admits. "We didn't succeed in the visual aspect, but emotionally we have a real, passionate anger on the Red EP and our Yellow record has this weird quirkiness about it."
But are there enough colors out there to draw inspiration from? "Absolutely," Hendrix asserts. "You can get a lot out of just one color. Some bands play one color their entire career."
In May, Colourmusic will release its first-ever full-length album on Warner Brothers' subsidiary Great Society Records. The Orange LP fuses songs from the Red and Yellow EPs, with one new song completing the package. Hendrix is confident the two colors will inform and complement each other, and he's happy to finally have an album under the band's belt.
As for Colourmusic's new label, Hendrix says his band is fine with taking baby steps. "Great Society is kind of like an A&R label for Warner Brothers for bands they're not sure about," Hendrix says. "I'm very happy being with Great Society because I know a few bands that started out on big labels, and that's a lot of pressure. I think it's good to be small and be who you are for a while and not have to sell a billion records."
Now a fully formed five-piece, Colourmusic's next conquest is the color green. The whole band will chip in to write the tracks. Before then, they're hitting the road for a couple headlining shows, then touring in support of alternative indie ensemble British Sea Power.
Colourmusic is known for its themed live shows, which have involved dresses, full-on workouts and audience-member-applied body paint. When they're setting the table for British Sea Power, Hendrix says Colourmusic members will "Show up, freak out and get off stage;" but for its show in Albuquerque, when Colourmusic is the main event, there's something else planned.
"I don't want to give anything away, but we have something we're going to try out," Hendrix promises. "Get ready to watch five guys have orgasms in front of you for about 45 minutes."
Watch Colourmusic get off at Atomic Cantina Saturday, Feb. 23. Lousy Robot provides backup for the 21-plus, no-cover show.