Since their formation in 2016, A Colourful Storm has issued 7 releases as well as numerous mixes. Upon visiting their bandcamp page the label only reveal a tiny bit of them, as they stated that they’re based in two different cities stretched far from one another, Melbourne and Berlin. We also stumbled upon A Colourful Storm website, with header adorned with flashy colors reflecting the label’s name, similar to that of Mondrian’s works. Recently the label released a compilation filled with sweet indie pop tracks, ‘I Won’t Have to Think About You’, a name taken from one of the tracks by Even as We Speak. Ofri from Norrm had a chance to correspond with Moopie via email, discussing the recent compilation that departed from the label’s usual genre, as well as the music scene in Melbourne and Berlin.
Australia has a very long history in the indie pop scene since the Sarah Records days with bands such as Even As We Speak and The Cat’s Miaow. How’s the scene today?
Moopie : I think the lineage of the scene you’re describing stretches even further: an early example might be The Particles’ Colour In single which was released in 1980. The beloved Cannanes were important in its development too, with links to K Records and local fanzine Distant Violins, which I believe was distributed by Toytown– a great cassette label that released The Cat’s Miaow’s first tape alongside many other related acts.
I came to it all retrospectively though, spending far too long in the 7” singles section of thrift stores, harassing band members via onlineforums and what not. Bayu is the real expert – he’s a child (or victim, depending on which way you look at it) of the Britpop era who is also extremely well versed in Australian music of that time.
Neither of us could tell you what the Australian indie pop scene is, let alone how it is, though. In a broader sense, if a “scene” is simply an outsider’s perception of a handful of friends exchanging ideas or helping out at each other’s shows, then I think there is plenty of that happening.
How long has A Colourful Storm been established as a record label?
Moopie : A Colourful Storm released its first record, a reissue of Denial’s California Dreaming / The Weatherman single in Autumn 2016. Before then, it existed as a mix series started by Bentley and Calum James who contributed the first two mixes.
What is your tendency as a record label？
Moopie : To be remembered for the rest of time, of course. But less ambitiously, to simply explore the feelings which appeal to us most – desire, urgency, desperation… there are a couple more, I’m sure – and hopefully excite, provoke and remind you along the way.
A Colourful Storm is based in two cities, Melbourne and Berlin. Can you tell us the differences or similarities between the musical scenes there?
Moopie : A large chunk of my time in Berlin last year was spent at Mark’s apartment, listening to his extremely refined late 90’s and early 2000’s dance record collection through an appalling Logitech speaker setup. Needless to say, I wasn’t the most active person in the wider music scene.
But I think both cities are quite generous in the sense that if you wanted to go out and hear a particular style of music, you could probably find it. But how well these shows are attended might be a different story. And I hate to admit it, but Berlin definitely influenced the label in some way-the Klon Dump record we released this year is probably most evident of this.
You guys like to invite various people from around the world to gather their interest. How does it feel to work with them?
Moopie : Collaborative work in any form really shouldn’t be about “gathering” interest but rather about interrogating your own. Though I can think of a few people whose actions have almost convinced me that they’re the same thing, so maybe I’m being naïve. The artists I’ve worked with so far I get along with– I think we’re all a bit stubborn and share similar ambitions, but are also very realistic about what can be achieved.
You have released a new compilation titled I Won’t Have To Think About You. What’s the story behind this compilation?
Moopie : Bayu and I wanted to document some of the music we’d been playing together and had such an affinity for. I think we realised that we shared a pop sensibility, whether that was conveyed through romantic 90’s techno, an old Broadcast B-side or a lost Australian bedroom pop song. We also felt absolutely indifferent over this whimsical, new age-y sound palette that seemed to be so pervasive, or at least around us. You could also argue that we were hanging out at the wrong places. But the instigator of the whole thing, I’m certain was something along the lines of “hey, I’m bored”. Very inspiring.
A Colourful Storm’s previous releases mostly consist of electronic music. What’s the reasoning behind putting out a sweet indie pop compilation?
Moopie : Maybe it seemed that way, but I don’t think the label’s intention is to simply explore a given style. The last run of releases: they’re from the “dance” world I’m most familiar with. But even then it was spurred by a disdain for safe, run-of-the-mill house and techno. So juvenile antagonism – a great motivator – has always been there.
The start of next year will see new music from Mark and Nerve, but not before we release a vinyl edition of what we’d argue is Blueboy’s best, most heartbreaking album. Feeling is really all we’re trying to communicate, and I think that’ll become clearer in due time.
The tracks featured in the compilation are from some of the rarest artists we never knew. Who were they?
Moopie : Most of the band members were very surprised (and probably confused, given the time passed) that we’d gotten in touch with them about their music – Darren (O’Shanassy) from the Ampersands had to make sure we were talking about the same band when I found him, and sent me a heap of unreleased, unconditionally affecting recordings from his time. The Pearly Gatecrashers and Maestros and Dipsos were midnight-hour YouTube finds, and I think both are very idiosyncratic bands of their respective eras. YaYa Choral we’d forged relationships with already – they released their Such A Dutch Man single on M Squared, the influential Australian label also home to Denial.
Even As We Speak we knew from their Blue Suburban Skies single and album on Sarah Records, but we really wanted to include I Won’t Have To Think About You, if only for its ever pertinent track title. Matthew (Love, co-founder) was happy to oblige – he still maintains the band today. Gratitude is also due to Bart Cummings whose singing, songwriting and collaborative skills are celebrated on four of the twelvesongs on the compilation.
Maybe we’ll see more of them – I’d love to connect The Cannanes and The Cat’s Miaow with artists from the label’s contemporary landscape. They’re all part of the story now.
I Won’t Have To Think About You is available now, acolourfulstorm.com
Interviewed by Taufik Nofrizal, text by Nadzifa