In conversation with electronic-indie trio Cubicolor
Interview by Maya-Rose Torrao
Electronic-indie outfit Cubicolor have been making waves around the world with their unique and intimate sound, steeped in infectious electronica. The group have just finished a highly successful European headline tour, and are currently supporting RÜFÜS DU SOL on the US and Canada leg of their Solace Tour. Made up of British frontman Tim Digby-Bell and Dutch producers Ariaan Olieroock and Peter Kriek, Cubicolor have recently teamed up with acclaimed jazz drummer Richard Spaven (Flying Lotus, The Cinematic Orchestra) for their recent releases as well as live performances, adding even more depth to their ever-evolving sound.
The band have been steadily releasing a series of brand new singles this year via iconic label Anjunadeep, the first of which marked their first new music since the release of their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Brainsugar’ in 2016. The new tracks epitomise Cubicolor’s sincere sound and versatility, easily blending the melancholy with infectious synth cuts. Although nothing has been announced yet, the trio have teased an album release for next year, as well as more exciting events and performances.
Listen to the latest single from Cubicolor, ‘No Dancers’, below.
We caught up with Cubicolor and chatted about writing with honesty, playing live music around the world and capturing ideas.
Hello Cubicolor! Before we dive in – set the tone for us. Why the arts?
That stuff chooses you really. The only musicians I know never wanted to be anything else. Then it becomes a question of making your life fit around the music, and not the other way around.
Which usually comes first when you’re creating music – the sound or the idea?
This changes every time. Sometimes it’s an electronic idea, a song from the guitar, a beat or whatever really. You just have to stay awake and working, so when an idea comes along you’re ready to capture it.
What’s on your current playlist?
Just fallen back in love with Manitoba‘s 2001 record – ‘Start Breaking My Heart’. A great soundtrack when you’re on the road.
You’ve been playing some really exciting shows recently, and have some more great ones coming up, including some more shows with RÜFÜS DU SOL and your run of Australian shows. First of all, tell us about one of your favourite shows from the past 6 months – why was it particularly great?
We just did a run of shows in Europe for the first time as a full live band, with the legend that is Rich Spaven on the drums – all of them were amazing, especially London for me as it was our first time playing on my home turf.
And an upcoming show that you’re really excited for?
Lots of stuff coming up next year which we’re very excited about but can’t tell you yet!
How do you guys keep focussed during tour? What are your techniques that help you stay well-rested and ready for your shows?
Rest is key. But also getting out and seeing the places you’re in as much as possible is important.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
My guitar 😉
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
It’s a humbling experience to get to go and play your music live around the world. Seeing people in the crowd when they hear their favourite Cubicolor song is something that never gets old, it’s quite possibly one of the best feelings on earth.
Any interesting/wild/strange fan stories you can share with us?
Haha, Cubicolor tells no tales! I did meet a guy in Paris recently who proposed to his girl during our set.
You’ve just released some beautiful new singles. Take us through a typical day in the recording studio with Cubicolor, while you were creating the tracks.
Everyone is different really, ‘Falling’ came when I got sent the demo then I sent back the vocals. ‘Nights in Bloom’ came out fully formed in the studio in Amsterdam on the second day we all met.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
There’s nothing consciously going on when we write, as in we don’t set out with a preconceived idea – we just make stuff until it feels right. There’s a quality to Cubicolor music that has, we hope, an honesty and directness to it. When we make a song that feels that way we know it’s a good Cubi track.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what we want to do”?
No, it’s always been there for me.
The music industry is a tumultuous world. If you could change anything about the industry, what would you change?
Let’s get technical for a moment – take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
We work on Ableton when we write, pro tools and the ssl desk when we mix. We have some nice old Telefunken tape machines we put a lot of stuff through. Then the hardware – a Prophet, lots of modular stuff, drum machines, effects units, and of course a good microphone!
You three have been making music together for quite some time now! How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
You hopefully just get better as a musician as you continue working. As long as you write with honesty and an open heart you should be alright. It’s important to recognize that you are always changing as a musician whether you realise it or not.
Break down the news for us: what can we expect from Cubicolor in 2019?
Firstly, an album. We’ve been working on it for a while, taking our time and really cannot wait to share what we’ve done with the world. Won’t be too long now. Beyond that there’s some really exciting live shows in the works but I can’t tell you about that yet!
Check another new single from Cubicolor, released earlier this year, ‘Boxed Out’, below.