Flyying Colours splash into fresh, yet familiar waters with You Never Know
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20.03.2023

Flyying Colours splash into fresh, yet familiar waters with You Never Know

Flyying Colours
Words by Ewen Stewart

We talk to Flyying Colours singer and guitarist Brodie J Brümmer about the latest album and all-things shoegaze.

Heavily inspired by the loud, fuzzy guitars of shoegaze groups like Ride and the sweet melodies of dream pop artists like Slowdive, Melbourne’s Flyying Colours formed in 2013 to make their own version of the sounds they loved. The band is built around the guitars and vocals of Brodie J Brümmer and Gemma O’Connor, joined by bassist Melanie Barbaro and drummer Andy Lloyd Russell.

Released under Poison City Records, Flyying Colours’ fourth studio album, You Never Know, emits flavours of classic shoegaze pop while keeping close to the familiar sound that the band have become known for.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Brümmer and O’Connor’s vocals drawl effortlessly together over the meandering guitar tones and propulsive drums. The single Do You Feel The Same?, which was premiered on KEXP with Cheryl Waters, sits perfectly in the middle of the record, where the uplifting chorus and guitar motif feel central to the overarching theme of the album. 

Speaking on the process of his songwriting, vocalist and guitarist Brümmer says it’s less literal; more based on vibes.  

“Nothing’s ever autobiographical. You see something and you make up a story in your head about what it could potentially be. I think that’s where some songs can come from. Maybe you saw what you saw – two people having a conversation – and you imagine their backstories, and maybe at the same time you’re coming up with a cool guitar part, and then those two things collide. But I think you also get a feeling from chords that puts you into a space – from that you can draw words that are representative of that.” 

While a large portion of the record focuses on driving sounds and head-bobbing elements, You Never Know is also splattered with colourful guitar tones, rumbling bass and floating drums that, at times, link the tracks together seamlessly and act as a transition from space to space.

You can almost see the ’80s coming-of-age film playing alongside the record as it transports the listener to a new but nostalgic place.

“In terms of sound [on You Never Know], it’s very much got a theme that runs throughout it. It feels like variations of a sound that we captured in the studio at the time,” says Brümmer.  “One [track] might be a bit upbeat, like Do You Feel The Same?, and one might be a bit more relaxed, but they’ve all got that same feeling.” 

According to Brümmer, the album showcases all of the various different things the band has to offer. He highlights just how excited and proud he is of the newest project out of Flyying Colours camp.

Like many musicians, new music for Brümmer has always been more exciting than releases from the past. Brümmer states how he doesn’t feel any kind of attachment anymore to the music on the band’s previous record, Fantasy Country.

He says comparatively, the songwriting and recording process involved with You Never Know was much more concise and consistent. Where “Fantasy Country was recorded in different places, different studios, all over the place… Put together in many different locations over such a long period of time”, the “new record has an earthiness to it.” It was recorded in just under two weeks at Red Door Studios with Woody Annison, and this setup offered the band more stability. 

“I think that’s what you get when you’re working in the one space for the duration of the record and everything’s done by the same team.” The recording process involved “huge long days” and “a crazy amount of work”, continues Brümmer, “each day we kinda just lived in it.” 

“I had 12 songs. The band hadn’t even heard them. We did two days of pre-production in the studio to work through the songs, then went straight into the studio and played them as we did.” 

Long Distance, the second track off the new album, has elements of a classic DIIV track with the slow floor tom beat, simple guitar riff and underlying drone sound. But the melding vocals of Brümmer and O’Connor, combined with the thrashing, overdrive section at the climax of the track, make the song sound uniquely Flyying Colours. 

Brümmer divulges how he’d “been listening to a lot of vaporwave and synthwave going into the writing of it” and says it “informed a lot of the keys sounds and synth sounds – it’s all kind of got an 80s theme.”

“I was listening to the M83 record Hurry Up We’re Dreamingthe kick and snare action on that one. I listened to a lot of French house as well around the time. I think that kind of drove the real heavy kick and snare throughout a lot of the album, compared to what we’d usually do.”

Although influences slip in here and there, Brümmer says he doesn’t make an effort to draw from anything specific when working on music. “The song that comes out is the song that comes out,” he says. 

You Never Know’s sixth track, Bright Lights, leans more toward the dream pop sound of shoegaze, with pretty guitars floating over a wash of melancholic melodies. The drums rest comfortably on the ride cymbal throughout. It’s a song you could imagine in both the futuristic cyberpunk and the retrospective vaporwave – the perfect soundtrack for a dusky ocean drive.

Flyying Colours’ unique sound is brought to life by the ranging influences. Though the band members all have their own individual preferences, Brümmer says they share a similar taste. 

“I think we’ve all got our different ways in which we go but the core stuff that we listen to is very much the same, which helps when we work together obviously. If someone’s going down a certain path with something, everyone can pick up pretty quickly where they’re going.”  

He says he’ll bring in a new concept or idea and the band will help to flesh it out. “The way that Andy plays drums, the way that Mel plays bass, that’s just their natural style and I think that’s the beauty of it.” 

“Gemma writes all the harmonies so the whole element of what happens with the two vocals in the group is very much her influence.”

While a huge amount of effort has gone into this record, Brümmer says the way that the band gels together helps to reduce the strain on the songwriting process. “We can be in the studio in a short period of time and get something that really works for everybody.”

 

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Over the last decade send releasing music, Flyying Colours have become a huge part of the resurgence of shoegaze in the local scene. “I find it funny ’cause when we started it was really popular, it was almost a buzzword at that time. A lot of bands, like the proto-shoegaze bands like DIIV, were finding their feet and starting to really become popular.” 

“It comes in ebbs and flows,” says Brümmer. “I don’t think there’s any particular reason. There’s a lot of elements of shoegaze and dream pop throughout all music. I listen to a lot of pop music and think there’s heaps of influences of that.”

Brümmer believes “it’s a generational thing.” 

“It’s such a broad term. Like, not all punk music is the same, but it has the same kind of idea. Purist shoegaze is very far from the music that we make. It can be so dark and dreary, I find it really interesting the different ways that it can be defined.”

Flyying Colours are set to play two shows in support of their latest release. Fans can catch them live on March 31st at The Lansdowne in Sydney and April 1st at The Bergy Bandroom in Melbourne. 

“These are more just celebration shows. We’ve got a lot of friends in both Melbourne and Sydney so that’s why we’re doing just the two shows. There’ll be a much bigger tour later in the year. We’ll be in Europe in September.” 

You Never Know is out now on all platforms. To see Flyying Colours in Melbourne on April 1, buy tickets here