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CROOKED COLOURS Aloe vera, German fans & the creative sweet spot

Crooked Colours are heading home for the WA leg of their Vera Tour 2017 this Friday, August 18 at Jack Rabbit Slims and Saturday, August 19 at The Monastery (for Mr Lonely), with special guest Ivan Ooze, visuals by EGO and supported by Muto. MIA CAMPBELL-FOULKES gave frontman Phil Slabber a buzz for a chat about the Perth outfit’s debut album Vera (out now via Sweat It Out) and all things Crooked Colours.

By now you’ve established yourselves fairly well in the industry – what do you hope your fans perceive you as?

Well we are entertainers, first – we just enjoy seeing every having a good time. But I guess as far as sound goes we usually say indie electronica.

We caught you at Hot Dub Wine Machine earlier this year when you were playing a few of the tracks from the new album, do you ever go off what the crowd’s reception is?

Yeah definitely, we kind of get a feel for what works and what doesn’t and build our other shows around that.

Why Vera for the album title?

We initially wanted to name one of the tracks Aloe Vera and so we took it from there. We wanted it to be short and sharp. A little bit mysterious, a little bit cool.

Where are you looking forward to performing most in the near future? Will this be your first world tour?

Yeah this is the first. Probably Berlin. We seem to have a little bit of a following in Germany. People are really receptive to our music over there.

Why’s That?

I’m not sure – Germany and their track record is that they seem to really like Australian music, there’s a few bands that we know that seem to go really well over there so I think they’ve got their ear on the ground a little bit more. They just really like their music.

We know you’ve just wrapped an album but who would you love to collaborate with in the future?

I think for us as far as working with other people we really enjoy working with people who are completely removed from our kind of scene. Like the collaborative track with (Melbourne rapper) Ivan Ooze was one of those things that we give it to someone from a completely different background and it seems to produce something quite unique. I think in the future we’ll look at doing a similar type deal like with some dance producers or some electro guys. That would be exciting.

Do you have a dream songstress or anyone you would like to collab with?

Ooh I don’t know, I guess there are a couple vocalists. Like off the top of my head Sampa or one of those guys are just incredible with the melodies.

Looking back do you think you’ve changed from your original sound in the last few years?

Yeah definitely, when we first started out everything was heading towards the down tempo brooding stuff and I think on our path in past couple of years touring with bands just taking inspiration from a lot of people like RUFUS and the San Cisco guys. I think on this record at least there’s a lot more dance-ier up tempo kind of tracks. I think everything just rubs off on you as you go along. It all has its impact.

Because your music is super chilled, do you find it hard to keep it away from always being sad or melancholic?

I don’t know, I think that kind of just comes naturally. Like with writing the record we didn’t really set out with a plan like I want this song to be dance-y, I want this song to do this or that. We kind of just wrote away and that was kind of the product. I think it kind of reflects where we’re at. So I think the next one will probably be a bit different – a bit harder, a bit more different.

Have you already started writing for the next release?

We have! It’s funny, when you’re trying to write the record it’s a bit of a struggle and once it’s done you sort of have this weight lifted off your shoulders and then that’s probably the most creative you are in that period where you don’t have any deadlines. You actually have time to do whatever you want and that seems to be a pretty creative time.

What’s your process, are you mainly the writer and do you think about lyrics first or the melody first or how collaborative is it?

So basically Leon and I do the production side of things and I think in the past we’ve kind of produced or mapped out the song before any lyrics get involved. So I’d sit down and he’d sit down – we kind of work separately, we’ve both got as studio – and then we just produce away until we have a track that’s kind of fully fleshed out and then I’ll send it to him or vice versa and then we’ll start working on melodies and lyrics over the top. That’s kind of the best way, sending stuff back and forth. When you’ve got two visions for the same song it’s hard. It’s actually more productive too, because if you’re both working on the same thing you’re getting two things done at the same time.

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