Interview: Crooked Colours on their new record, vibes, and their approach to headlining
In the past year or so I’ve really started appreciating the magical environment and “vibes” to steal from Crooked Colours that you experience at intimate room EDM shows. Be it the the dancing in the audience to the act on stage really just head bobbing their way through. The interaction is on point, even if it’s not full on conversation. We’ve all been at a show where we’re surrounded by thousands of people watching a DJ just bounce up and down and people nodding their heads with that being the extent of their motion.
But that’s not how the show rolled out in Boston when the band played the Great Scott in Allston, a room they had played earlier this year in the middle of snow pummeling down. Their performance was perfection and the room was connected and just filled with grins, be it the guys on stage or the crowd and it was a real treat.
I sat down with the talented trio just an hour or so before the set on the patio where many of my favorite interviews have gone down. Great Scott is easily my favorite venue in this city, one that has been the jumping off point for many international touring bands in Boston and Crooked Colours is sure to join the ranks of many who go on to great success afterwards.
Kind of jumping right in, I know you played in NYC a couple nights ago. Obviously a big sold out show and now a mammoth of a tour ahead of you. New York was sold out, you have several sold out shows on this run to come, some very low ticket shows. How haves these dates been going? With this record out and playing alot of these cities for the first time.
Leon DeBaughn: Yeah, yeah, no it’s been wild. The Brooklyn show actually was a lot of fun. I’m not sure if you’ve been there or not, but it was at this really cool place, Rough Trade. It’s a bit like a record store at the front then when you walk through to the back it’s a big venue. So that was really cool, to be able to kind of mosey around. We spent a bit of time in New York too. Got to hang out and do all the fun bits.
Liam Merrett-Park: And the New York crowd was very vibey.
LD: Yeah, they were weren’t they?
LM: They got into it which was much different then the last time we played. It was a bit more of a chin-stroker, standoff-y watch vibe. So that was good!
A chin-stroker, watch vibe. I’m sure that was super fun to play to. Really riled you up.
LM: Hard to catch a vibe from that.
Philip Slabber: We’ve seen a big improvement in a lot of cities I guess. Last big run around that we did was the first time we had been to a lot of these cities. A lot of really small shows. Was really the first time a lot of people really had the chance to check us out. This time, it’s building for sure.
Then considering it is the album tour, the album is still so new. It only came out in May. How did you go about planning these sets? You are in this headlining position compared to opening sets. Is it a good mix? Is it mostly a focus on the album?
LD: I think we’re a little bit blessed now. We’ve got two albums out so we have two albums of music to choose from, to play. But now, it’s kind of half and half between the last record and the new record. So now, we’ve really enjoyed playing the new music. It’s been nice to have a bit of a refresher to our live set.
Then considering that you’re starting to experience some success here, you had it in Australia first, at least before you came to these cities. I know for this second record, you wrote it fully by yourselves. You released it yourselves, you recorded it yourselves. Is it something where you’ve always done this as a band or was this the first time?
LD: Yeah, we’ve always been really DIY. I think ever since we started, it was all about learning how to do things ourselves. We didn’t really have anyone to teach us so, it was kind of leaning on ourselves to be able to do it. So that’s always been our mentality. I think it’s paid off so far.
PS: I think it’s half the fun as well, like figuring out how to do all this stuff. It’s created a lot of pride as well, being like this is what we’ve made. And to get a positive reaction is what feels the best to us. We’ve always been open to working with producers, to working with other people so I guess moving forward, we’ve lined some stuff up. But it’s just kind of what happens happens. I don’t think it’s always been a conscious effort to be like, “No, we don’t want to work with anybody else”.
Then when did you start working on this record? When did you really start fleshing out this record?
PS: I think we started writing this’ll record when we were doing the last American tour. So that’s when the first ideas for the next album started to come out. When we were coming around doing our first big headline shows and we had a lot of time on the road. So I think that’s when we kind of started coming up with ideas. So when was that, two years ago?
LD: Yeah, so it’s been a while. I think we normally take a far while to write a record. Hopefully the next one’s a little bit quicker.
But two years between releases, that’s not bad. That’s pretty standard.
LD: it’s a miracle we did it, actually.
Then you played a bunch of festivals this summer in the states. I know you did Firefly, Bonnaroo, which are obviously some really big ones. Maybe how is to kind of late it down to some of these smaller rooms.
PS: I guess it’s kind of fun because you get to worry less about like the big productions and kind of having to fill out those venues. And be kind of at this level then kind of come back to playing 300 cap venues, you can kind of strip it. Ack to just what’s important which is nice. It’s a bit of weight off your shoulders. And you also get to interact with the crowd a bit more. With those bigger shows, it’s just kind of turns into a mass of people. Can’t really connect with anyone. I enjoy it a lot.
But live, we still stay the same, it’s our production that changes. So, we still keep the same energy, we still do the same things. Just on a smaller stage, less production. I think that’s how we really go about it.
So the production doesn’t change, it’s just the production factor.
PS: I wouldn’t say that we strip it back. We just always aim to be the best we can, so on a big stage we want to do our best and if we’re on a small stage, we’re still in that mindset. That same energy.
Then maybe to end it off, you have a while to go on this US run, the album is still so new. You’ve had a pretty nuts year of touring. Maybe focuses or goals for the next few months for the band? Obviously the record is still so new but I’m sure you’re constantly creating.
LD: I mean honestly finishing this tour in one piece is the biggest goal right now. We’re going to do that, a big tick in that box when we’re home and safe.
PS: Pray for our mothers.
LD: Then we’re going to spend our summer in Australia writing the next record and doing all the festivals over there. There are a couple big ones. There’s one called Grapevine Gathering that we’re doing that is a really big one over there. And also, Falls Festival over New Year’s, which is kind of the Marquee festival in Australia. And then, I think we’re back here again in March I believe for a few dates. Think there’s a couple festivals that we’re doing. So yeah, it keeps on rocking on. No stopping us. Crooked Colours is just a slow steam yeah. Keep on trucking on.