Perth natives Crooked Colours returned last week with their hotly anticipated second record, Langata, and it immediately captivated electronic music lovers.
The trio have cooked up an album that's full of dark nooks and crannies, whirling soundscapes and sophisticated production, and if you're inquisitive, you might find something new in each of its 10 tracks with every listen.
The band also dropped their introspective new duet with Kiwi pop icon Ladyhawke called Never Dance Alone, and with a mammoth tour coming up, we knew we had to sit down with the band's Philip Slabber to catch up.
Firstly how did you guys hook up with Ladyhawke on your new single Never Dance Alone and what was it like working with her?
Our publisher actually connected us. The song was nearly there but the bits that Pip wrote really tied it all in together. We are so stoked to have Pip feature on this record.
You wrote parts of Langata in Nairobi which you say inspired the album’s different sounds greatly – where else did you guys travel to?
Everywhere really. This album was written while touring on the road. All through the US, Canada, the UK and mainland Europe. On our brief stints at home we all live in separate cities - Sydney, Melbourne and Perth - so calling the album Langata after some time I spent there could be relevant to any city around the world that contributed to the creative process of this album.
What do you think is the most different on Langata compared to Vera?
I think we expanded our sound more with Langata. Vera was very strict to a sound we had had previous success with through the first track Flow. In Langata we have felt a bit more confident to stretch those boundaries. I think it has worked.
You’re currently on an Aussie headline tour, how do Aussie crowds differ to international crowds?
The scale to start. Our shows in Australia have been doubling and doubling these past few years. If you had've told me we would be playing Enmore and Forum size venues let alone selling them out I wouldn't have believed it. We started Vera playing 150 cap rooms that were mostly filled with our friends on the guest lists. Overseas we are kind of starting again at this level so it can be hard to readjust. At the same time it can also be rewarding to captivate a 300 cap room in a foreign land and win over a new audience.
Do you prefer festival slots or headline shows?
They're not comparable in any way. Festival slots are fun and don't cost us much but I'm not sure how much you get out of it. It's a 40-minute slot that you just play your hits to a crowd that is responsive but interchangeable with the next act. Our headline shows are really what we're all about. We're playing 90-minute sets now with a fully custom production package and laser show. We get to take the audience on a journey. It's a lot, lot more work but so much more rewarding. A lot of people don't understand this and think because they have seen us at a festival they know our live show but they're worlds apart.
Tell us a bit about the Langata album art – it’s beautiful, who created it?
Oh man. Leif Podhajsky, he crushed this. We've been fortunate to have great artists work on our art and this is no exception. It took a lot to get to this finished product but we couldn't be happier.
Who is one artist that you want to collaborate with that we would be surprised by?
We would like to continue further into the hip hop world. Our track with Ivan Ooze is one of our favourites live. We are currently working on a track with A$AP - you'll find out which one soon enough.
What are you guys watching on TV/Netflix right now?
I wish. We have the first show of our tour tonight in hometown Fremantle and our album was just released today so we are most likely going large.
Crooked Colours' national tour kicks off on May 17th in Fremantle until June 9th in Newcastle.