Colour of Noise recently finished up a tour supporting The Dead Daisies and before both bands made their Glasgow debut, I got the chance to speak with lead guitarist Bruce John Dickinson and vocalist Matt Mitchell. Wandering up to a restaurant near the Cathouse, the band are relaxing and tour manager, Gez introduces me to Bruce and Matt. As the rest of the band are shown to their seats, I chat with Matt and then Bruce about Moshville and some of the acts we’ve covered in the past before we sit down and chat about their own work.
Welcome to Glasgow. Is this the band’s first time in here?
Bruce: It’s Colour of Noise’s first time, yeah. We’ve been here before…[to Matt] You’ll have been here before with Furyon.
Matt: Yeah, I played the Cathouse [tonight’s venue] a few times.
Bruce: Little Angels did the Cathouse many, many times back in the day. I did Barrowlands with Little Angels in 2012; always good.
You’re currently out on tour with The Dead Daisies, how’s it gone so far?
Matt: It’s been fun, hasn’t it?
Bruce: Yeah, it’s been brilliant.
Matt: Our shows, we’ve been thoroughly enjoying it and it seems to be getting better for us at the moment.
Bruce: Yeah, it’s like a holiday! So we started at Planet Rockstock, before that we did Hard Rock Hell so we warmed up doing those two. This is the first tour since the album came out and every night’s just more fun than the last one. It’s everything you want it to be and the crowds are great.
Matt: They’ve been really warm.
Bruce: So it’s not the most interesting answer because everything’s brilliant, so we’re loving it! [laughs]
Your debut album has just been released and it was funded by PledgeMusic, what’s your thoughts on the service?
Bruce: Brilliant. They’re really good at rock. The guy who runs Pledge, he’s an ex-Kerrang guy. So they really know their rock stuff. And there’s a lot of big bands on there, you’ve got Dweezil Zappa and Megadeth the same week as us [launching their campaigns]. It’s a bit of a risk because it’s a new band but we did a little documentary early on with Mark Richardson who used to play in my old band [B.l.o.w], he’s in Skunk Anansie. He does a lot of video stuff so he kindly came and filmed a little documentary and that was enough, really. People liked the idea of Colour of Noise making a classic rock record. And it just worked so we reached the target, made a lot of friends.
Matt: There’s no labels involved. It’s quite nice to have it like that at the moment.
Bruce: Yeah and there was no committees; dealt directly with the people who were buying the record. Pledge guys were brilliant and even now when we release something we tend to give it to those guys a bit before everyone else. So if we put a video out, they get it first or early even though the pledge has finished. It’s much better compared to a major record label back in the day.
Matt: It seemed like less fuss.
Bruce: And certainly a lot more musical freedom.
So for those who may have never heard your music, how would you describe it?
Bruce: [to Matt] You’ll have to do that one.
Matt: It’s vintage, isn’t it?
Matt: It’s a vintage sound. For people who like that sixties, seventies vibe, you’re going to grasp onto Colour of Noise. But there’s also a bit of that eighties stadium, big classic rock sound in there.
Bruce: I think we were surprised when we finished the record. It does sound like 2015, we can’t quite work out why.
Matt: Yeah, there’s a twist. When we were writing everything was aimed at that retro vibe and as Bruce said; totally right. Now it’s been mixed and mastered, it’s turned it on its head and there’s a couple of tracks that sound right up to date.
And how did the band first get together?
Matt: Bruce! [laughs]
Bruce: I went to Dan [Electro, rhythm guitarist] and Randy [Nixon, bass guitar] and I said “It just feels like the time to make a classic rock record” and I don’t know why. I hadn’t played guitar for a long time apart from the Little Angels reunion; I wasn’t really playing. I put my guitars back in the loft after that and it just felt like the time to do it. Matt came in and we were talking about writing some songs and within thirty seconds of hearing him sing, we all looked at each other and said “This is the band!” I can’t believe it, it’s still less than a year ago.
Matt: It’s been a real quick ride.
Bruce: We work fast; we write songs quickly, we record quickly. It’s been a blast. We do see things the same way, musically so there’s very little debate. We’ve kind of regressed to the stuff that makes you smile; when I was learning guitar, the stuff I find exciting then, I find exciting now. And if it makes you smile, then it’s working.
Who are your influences?
Bruce: I suppose Randy’s influenced by a lot of American music, a lot of black music. I think the soul side of what we do is quite important; that’s where you get the space from. So Dan is basically a soul guitarist, very much in the traditional Aerosmith vein or Guns N’ Roses where you had Izzy doing that slightly Keith Richards soul thing. And guitar players it’s Peter Green and the British blues. So even the likes of Clapton and Jimmy Page, you know, Les Paul and an old amp cranked up.
Matt: Singer-wise, still to this day, I think my favourite singer in the world is Paul Rodgers. I love that rock-soul thing; Steven Tyler, Chris Robertson. And then going over to the other side where you’ve got singers like Stevie Wonder, back to Ray Charles; things like that. That’s my kind of thing although I grew up listening to the eighties bands.
Bruce: I think that’s what gives us that layer of aggression on top of all that; a harder delivery.
Matt: You’re right. We’ve got that blues thing but there’s a harder attack on the top. We all love bands like AC/DC and stuff like that. We all lived with that whole thing. I think there’s a nice blend.
Bruce: It’s British. We all love Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top; the early stuff but that’s Texas. It’s definitely an English band.
It’s been a pretty busy year for the band, hasn’t it?
Matt: It hasn’t stopped! It’s kind of felt like a new job that we’ve all got [laughs]. It’s like “I really love my job”; a bit like that! I’m constantly saying “Touch wood” but we couldn’t be happier with it at the moment! And I still say the same thing: as soon as we get on stage and start playing; that’s when it comes together. I went to a rehearsal a couple of weeks ago and it totally picked me up. Tonight, hopefully you’ll see it – touch wood! [laughs] – that it’s one of those bands that it’s a live band. We don’t have to try “Oh no, now we’ve got to make it sound like that, it’s going to be crazy!”
Bruce: It’s the same as the record.
Matt: It’s the same as the record with some extra vitamins! [laughs]
What’s next for the band?
Matt: We’re going to keep playing, aren’t we?
Bruce: Yeah, just keep playing. 2016 is going to have lots of gigs. We’ll be touring in March. We’ll be doing a particular date in Brighton, with a burlesque club and some burlesque girls. I think there’s potential for a classic rock/burlesque crossover. We’ll be making lots of videos as well, just trundling along, we’re writing songs all the time.