Q & A with The Gorgeous Colours

This week Mairead O’Brien, had the pleasure of meeting the charming Philip O’Gorman, a member of the IMTV award-winning band The Gorgeous Colours. With their self entitled first LP being dubbed “a solid likeable indie-rock artefact” I was anxious to discover the secret to their growing popularity. .

M. Who is in the band?

P. The five of us. It’s: Geoffrey McArdle on vocals, guitar, trumpet, keyboards and glockenspiel, Neil Smyth on guitars, keyboards and vocals, Tom Groenland on bass and vocals, Simon Hunt on drums and, then, me on guitars, keyboards, harmonica, glockenspiel and vocals.

M. How long have ye known each other? How did ye all meet and when? What inspired ye to make music together?

P. Well we all met over a number of years. Neil and Geoff met at Art College in Dublin and they met Tim through a friend (about 4 years ago I think). I have known Neil since we were kids and so I was invited to join the band after they had played together for a couple of years. I met Simon through a friend at a time when the band had no drummer. I suppose the love of music we all share is what makes us want to play music together. It’s sort of a situation where you try to excite yourself with your own music the way other peoples’ music has excited us.

M. What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?

P. I’m not really sure what genre of music we should be put in. I don’t know if it’s anything we’ve thought all that much about. We all have very different influences, including blues, folk, jazz, soul, rock, indie, electronic and so on but then there is a lot of common ground too. I suppose you could call us melodic-indie or alternative pop or something like that. I don’t know…

M. Who writes your songs? What are the main themes and topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics have/will change over time?

P. Usually somebody comes in with a song that is quite far along and the rest of us add to it and arrange it together. Neil and Geoff usually come with these ones. Other times we might start jamming on something and it just becomes a song that we all put something into. I think that is changing a little in the band now maybe…I think we’re all contributing more and more to the writing process.

I haven’t really thought about what themes are used… I’m not sure anyone in the band does. I think we probably just write what feels relevant at the time without reflecting over it too much; so it’s hard to say how it has or will change.

I suppose it depends on our mood. I think we may have gotten a little less light-hearted on the new EP since the first album and the new songs we’re recording now are probably like that too. By that I mean that the songs themselves and the arrangements are maybe a bit more complicated and that.

M. What image do you think your music portrays to the general public?

P. Hopefully it excites them the way it excites us, I suppose! Other than that I don’t really know. I think there are some nice melodies, harmonies, instrumentation and arrangements in there. I mean, that is what we like in music we listen to so I suppose we try to get that into our own stuff.

M. What are your rehearsals generally like?

P. Rehearsals are fun. We all get along well personally so we have a laugh. We spend a lot of time arranging songs and trying different things to see what works.

M. Who handles your daily business activities?

P. We all share those duties at moment. We have it broken into different areas and we work in pairs to try and be more effective.

M. What are your favourite and least favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

P. We’ve played all around the country in the usual places I suppose as well as some shows in Spain and England. One place I really liked was Crane Lane in Cork. We also enjoy the spirit store in Dundalk and we played at the Hard-Working Class Heroes festival in the Grand Social and we all really liked that venue.

We will be playing in Crawdaddy on Friday 18th of February. We are also opening for O Emperor on the 2nd of April in Dolans in Limerick and on the 15th of April at the Academy in Dublin.

M. Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play covers?

P. I think we usually just play whatever is new at the moment or the songs we still feel attached to or that we feel still have something to express. What I mean is that after a while of playing a song over and over again it loses part of the meaning, just like saying the same word over and over again.

I think that is a good thing because it pushes us to write new material. We haven’t played any covers so far but I wouldn’t be against reworking a song we all like and putting our own stamp on it at some stage I guess.

M. What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

P. The big challenge for an independent band like us is getting the music out there and heard by a wider audience. I think we’ve made fairly good use of the net, sites like Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Myspace and so on, to try and get the name out there. Playing in different places and then going back to those places is always a good idea.

We also funded our EP using pledged money from people who like our music. People pledged money in advance and depending on how much they pledged they got extra stuff like rough demos, alternative mixes, t-shirts, artwork – even joining us on stage which one Spanish lad, Sergio, did at our Dublin EP launch.

Also everyone who pledged was thanked personally in the EP credits. That idea worked well for us and got us a bit of notice as well. Another thing was the video for Creatures Down Below that was made by a friend, Stevie Russell of Tidal Productions. The video really helped us and won the viewers’ choice award at the IMTV awards….which was great!

M. What is the ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?

P. I don’t know if we’re all that interested in fame and fortune as such. I think what is important to us is that we make the music that pleases us and hopefully that will please others. And maybe even enough that we can live on what we make playing music. Having said that I wouldn’t say no to a big house and fancy car either!

**Check out the Gorgeous Colours on facebook, myspace, twitter or at thegorgeouscolours.bandcamp.com **

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