Colorama is an alternative pop group formed by Welsh singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Carwyn Ellis.
Photo © Chiara Meattelli.
They have a lovely vibe to their music that attracted my ears like a bee to pollen. They have that late 60’s/early 70’s infused songwriting style that served The Divine Comedy so well.I can see they operate in a similar field – in the very broadest sense- to my Snippet persona – shameless plug & lofty self righteousness or honest observation? you decide. They have their own unique vibe that sits nicely alongside contemporaries such as Jim Noir,The Voluntary Butler Scheme,The Bees,Badly Drawn Boy.
My love for making & in turn championing pop music from the left field brought me to their door when I first heard them on the excellent BBC Radio Wales show of the lovely Adam Walton. Lets be clear though,this is not dated music or weird music,its music for your everyday – blissful & special that switches from lovely melodic to crafty psychedelic in a heart beat.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a sneak peak of their forthcoming album Temari and its ram-a-jam full of great pop moments,I would love to share more tracks from it – especially ‘Thing’ – but its not online yet.Normally if a band hadn’t hardly shared a forthcoming release it can be so difficult for blogs to demonstrate to the readers how good a band is but the thing with Colorama is they show a supreme confidence in what they do because they have a great back catalogue,they have paid their dues both recording wise & in a live environment and also because they know that this album is well worth the wait so they can afford to leak very little.To be fair they have shared ‘Raylene’ above from the album and it says much about the Temari album – in that although a good track & a grower- imo it isn’t one of the strongest tracks on the album-I say that as a compliment as the rest is so blooming great,sweet kisses n that.
I think there could be interest in a future Fresh On The Net blog on the subject of how much or how little an artist should be streaming/previewing their release and in turn whether an audience really feel a need to ‘own’ a file – in any form – anymore in this stream heavy world .Not to tell you that you must do it this way or that way but to show the different ways artists build towards a release. I like the way Colorama roll.
So Johnno,tell us more of the Colorama back story please.Ok,as you asked nicely I will – Colorama released their Japan only debut album, Cookie Zoo on Noise McCartney Records in April 2008,and released their debut single,Sound via Redbricks Recordings in July 2008. The band started playing together in early July 2008 and have since played Glastonbury Festival, Latitude Festival, Home Game, The S?n Festival, Port Eliot Festival, Truck Festival, The Apple Cart Festival, National Eisteddfodau, Cloudspotting Festival, Festival N°6, the Green Man Festival and more.
In the summer of 2009, the tragic news was announced that their double bass player, Ellis’s best friend David Fletcher had died on 29 June, from a heart attack suffered in his sleep,just days after Colorama’s appearance at Glastonbury Festival.
Magic Lantern Show, featuring songs in Welsh and English was released in September 2009 with Dere Mewn becoming a modern classic in Wales and garnering rave reviews and lots of airplay on both sides of the border.
In 2010 Colorama released their third album BOX on Noise McCartney (Victor Entertainment) in Japan and See Monkey Do Monkey Recordings in the UK.Shortly afterwards, they released a Christmas single, Cerdyn Nadolig ( Christmas Card ) which garnered them the Welsh Christmas Number 1 on the BBC Radio Cymru chart.BOX was also nominated for the inaugural Welsh Music Prize.In October 2011, Colorama released Llyfr Lliwio ( Colouring Book ), which was their first predominantly Welsh-language collection.
August 2012 saw their fifth album release – Good Music, produced by Edwyn Collins and Sebastian Lewsley, and featured high in many an end-of year best album list .In November 2012 Colorama released a limited edition 12” single, Hapus? ( Happy? ) on Aficionado Recordings.
At the end of 2013, the Colorama back catalogue was released on iTunes through the Wonderfulsound imprint, with Cookie Zoo being made available in the UK and Europe for the first time.
An EP, Heaven’s Hotel was released on AED Records in March 2014.With the excellent Temari album due any time now.
I think Colorama are bloody great,I hope you do too,search them out,catch a show,buy their music,clutch them to your hearts,oh and enjoy life,you only get one go at it.
This is Prick and Ding 87 with Colorama,over to you Carwyn.
1. What are you up to at the moment?
I’m getting ready for the release of our new album, ‘Temari’ in June. We’ll be playing some shows to launch the album at the end of the month (in Cardiff, London and Manchester) which we’re really up for. Always exciting to play new stuff to people. Otherwise, writing music mostly.
2. Favourite childhood memory?
There’s lots – but mainly they involve holidaying in West Wales with the family. Playing footie with my brothers in the road, looking in rock pools, mucking about with my Grandad on the farm. Happy times – I’m spoilt for choice.
I don’t have a ‘hero’ as such. I admire a great many people though – mainly musicians as I’m utterly obsessed. If I had to conjure up one name, it’d be John Cale. A member of the Velvet Underground, wonderful multi-faceted artist in his own right, and producer of absolutely monumental records by the Stooges, Modern Lovers, Happy Mondays and Nico and many others. And he comes from Garnant in Carmarthenshire. Beyond impressive.
There’s new ones every week aren’t there? Too many hateful nutjobs to choose from unfortunately.
5. What/who makes you laugh?
Well, I do like slapstick.. Fart noises, falling over and such like. I adore Les Dawson. In recent times, my favourite stand up and sitcom artist was Bernie Mac.
6. Describe what you do?
Music. I write, sing and play music.
7. Who’s hair would you like to have for just one day?
8. Best musical experience to date?
It might be recording at Ardent Studios in Memphis with the North Mississippi Allstars. Or touring Japan with Quruli. Travelling with friends, playing great music and discovering new stuff together is just the best.
9. What artist inspires you?
Blimey – too many to mention. If you focus on one or two, you’ll end up copying them. Ok – here’s two names: John D. Loudermilk (great Nashville songwriter) and Tobacco (producer of Black Moth Super Rainbow). Both have really made an impression on me recently.
10. What does Fresh On The Net mean to you?
A place to discover new music and musicians. Which leads to other places, which lead to others….