Colorama’s seventh album Chaos Wonderland was recorded at producer Shawn Lee’s ‘Store’ Studio in London early 2018, in between frontman Carwyn Ellis’ stints touring world wide as keyboardist with the Pretenders, taking part in alongside Edwyn Collins and releasing final yr’s great Welsh-Brazilian hybrid Rio 18 album Joia!
Chaos Wonderland is an exploration and response to numerous information Carwyn loves, and anybody accustomed to his again catalogue is aware of the vary and depth of that zeal. On this file we hear – and really feel – that heat affection and bond to songs of drama, romance, psychedelia, soul.
Lockdown was an enormous bummer to most, however gifted Carwyn the window of alternative to convey out not solely the ‘Ti‘ EP to lift cash to pay for PPE for Welsh well being staff, but additionally ‘Chaos Wonderland‘ in the end. The album title itself he got here up with two years in the past, pre-COVID, but it surely feels scarily prophetic. Nonetheless, he explains, there are parallels between then and now.
‘Travelling world wide and coming dwelling and taking a look at Brexit Britain but additionally Brexit wales and I couldn’t get my head round but it surely’s nonetheless a gorgeous place and delightful folks. Making the file was balancing what was occurring in my atmosphere on the time late 2017, early ’18 and folks’s tales. They’re not likely about me. It’s about of us lives in a world very unpredictable and unusual and miserable if you concentrate on it an excessive amount of!’
Carwyn and Shawn hit it off engaged on Saint Etienne’s 2017 single ‘Dive’, and the pair labored on Joia! The lads, each multi instrumentalists, discovered fairly early on that they complement one another musically, having related tastes.
‘I went to his place (studio) and looking out round me realised he has all of the issues I’ve fantasised about getting on ebay, all of the bizarre little bells and whistles which can be a secret weapon for recording. He additionally occurs to affect me winding it again in a regressive sense to a 4 yr previous. I might usually decide associates who had one of the best toys,’ laughs Carwyn.
‘I’m able to discuss to him concerning the devices and the way they work as units inside a tune and a combination. Nothing is off limits and all the pieces is at arm’s attain . The partitions are lined with devices, guitar basses, and permutations of these, synths, drum machines, drums, vibraphone all types.’
It appears like Shawn’s studio is sort of a musical dressing up field?
‘You already know what, I like going into songs as Mr Benn. Spend a day on every tune, every day we’d go in and gown up and be who we needed to be to make the tune then afterward we’d put the costume away. And go and get some dinner.’
The respectable suited and booted Mr Benn from youngsters’ telly within the very early 1970s, bowler hat atop his head, who takes a visit in additional methods than one within the altering room of his native fancy gown store and enjoys adventures in magical lands.
It appears a good suggestion to ask Carwyn to speak us via Chaos Wonderland, alongside any Mr Benn costume modifications.
‘That’s a correct large psychedelic tune. So it’s possibly I get to be (Roy Phillips) from The Peddlers, on the Suite London album. He’s a superb organ participant they performed fascinating golf equipment in London in 60s, a variety of the nice and the nice would go and see them. Him, crossed possibly The Small Faces. Shawn bought to be Earl Palmer or John Bonham on drums.
Thrown collectively making a psychedelic melange, an imaginary cross between London and west coast in late 60s.’
‘It’s a bizarre one. You’ve seen the movie Badlands, it’s like that, a doomed couple go and rob a card sport or crack den and mainly robbed the improper folks. They’re on the street, a dusty street, getting manner from the dangerous guys they’ve crossed in Vegas or no matter. This can be a musical accompaniment to that. Largely a tune by Neil Diamond and little little bit of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. There’s sitar bits in there, so it’s a dusty street in a faraway a part of the world, exotica throw in for good measure.’
‘Me & She’
‘Just a little little bit of The Turtles blended with Nilsson blended with De La Soul. With a bit little bit of English psychedelica rearing its head. I like old-fashioned English Victoriana in pop music.
Undecided what Mr Benn can be carrying for Me & She…a mixture of west coast pop and east coast Daisy Age pop. Hippy garments with Addidas sneakers.’
‘I needed to get some form of house sound, I can’t bear in mind who steered it, Pierre (Duplan the engineer) went on YouTube and bought the sound of the moon, a NASA clip from outer house. So in background is summary sound which we have been led to imagine is the sound of the moon (laughs) so we threw that in there so as to add some form of cosmic atmosphere.
I can’t bear in mind what sci-fi movie I noticed as a child however I believe it was a personality in a sci-fi factor, a three headed alien Three levels mainly, their heads on one physique. The Three Levels have been wonderful shut concord singers anyway. Making an attempt to goal for one thing alongside these strains, could be Battlestar Galactica or Buck Rogers a type of daft early 80s issues.
Black Gap is a simplistic analogy of any person who sucks then vitality out of different folks, both in a relationship or usually. It’s a feminine entity this explicit one, but it surely’s not intercourse particular in any respect, these folks exist throughout us. Quite a bit can disappear inside these black holes. Use your creativeness.’
‘It’s not musically impressed as such however thematically and scope of it. I labored on a file (Dwelling & Dry) with Tracyanne and Danny, a gorgeous file. They recorded in at Edwyn Collins’ studio, I performed bass and different bits. There was a component of kitchen sink drama I like of their songs. Being on that file impressed me to do a tune in that world.
The tune itself is a younger couple ready for the bus within the countryside, bickering within the rain. Crosville was the identify of the bus firm in North Wales as child rising up. Earlier than you have been 16 you couldn’t drive so on the mercy of the bus whether or not they would flip up or not. Crosville have been our lifeline in our village. It usually occurred you’d be within the rain with a hedge for shelter. It’s a pair bickering and one’s saying to the opposite, we could hitch and the opposite saying no we shouldn’t. However they’re getting soaked.
There, Mr Benn has gone again to the late 80s so carrying dishevelled denims dishevelled t shirt however no jacket. Perhaps a Slazenger mac.’
‘I’m making an attempt to be a singer-songwritery troubador a la Van Morrison or Bob Dylan.
Made a bit tune of my very own about any person being laid up, not nicely, convalescing, and persons are visiting however the particular person they needed to see hasn’t visited. All people’s been besides you. You’re nice, you haven’t been to see me, I miss you. I’ve seen it with completely different associates who’ve been laid up. That’s in the event you can. Within the final couple of months you may’t. That’s problematic. Until you’re a Tory. You’ll be able to go take a look at your eyes wherever you need. For the remainder of us it’s been a tough time.
At this level Mr Benn is in a smock, in a hospital mattress. He’s on the mend.’
‘The lyrics on their very own could nicely come throughout as nonsense as a result of I got here up with a bit of music and I used to be making an attempt to get lyrics for it and I used to be wanting across the room and I had a postcard on the wall of Meirion Ginsberg’s portray Violin Apply.
It’s an image of younger lass in a pink gown with an actual scowl on her face, it has a Latin American really feel to it. A basket filled with fruit underneath arm, hair tied again in braids and ribbons in her hair, she’s in her Sunday greatest, she’s bought flip flops on her ft. Subsequent to her is her sister in a white gown and there’s a giant rooster in entrance of them, mountain behind them. The which means I’m getting from it’s that she’s actually irritated at her sister taking part in the identical tune time and again.
So Mr Benn’s outfit is presumably a pink gown although that’s not my cup of tea, extra poncho, observing the scene. I don’t suppose I’d actually be concerned about being a bit woman within the image. A poncho and sombrero.
Musically it’s a composition of the preparations, the instrumentation and little issues I cheekily realized from about ten completely different Rolling Stones songs.’
‘I like having a ballad in every file, ‘trigger why not.
I was a giant fan of Sam Peckinpah movies once I wasn’t sufficiently old to know higher, they’re terribly misogynistic. However there’s one thing about Pat Garrett and Billy The Child, he captures atmosphere rather well in movie ambiance as does Sergio Leone so I’m referring to westerns of each administrators. (Ennio) Morricone’s not that distant, the little harpsichord is completely impressed by the maestro. I really like the sound of a nylon string guitar, that Spanish- Mexican sound being performed subsequent to camp hearth you hear it in westerns, and it’s evening time.
A romantic tune, that feeling of being in a forest someplace with a liked one with a guitar singing a tune by a fireplace!’
‘Please Inform Me’
‘It’s a souly form of torch tune. There was a few singers I used to be listening to rather a lot once I was doing it, very dramatic association and songs. Gene Pitney and Roy Orbison, with each every tune is a correct technicolour manufacturing, the way in which the drama builds, the tentative intro then step by step define a context or again story, the strain mounts then it comes the climax then it ends fairly shortly afterwards. I needed to do one thing like that.
The extra I make information the extra I need to maintain making an attempt to do new issues. Additionally hearken to new artists, discovering new artists, desirous to pay homage or emulate or no matter. If it will get inside you you need to categorical it not directly.
These singers are fairly operatic, large vocal ranges however completely uncompromising of their supply, there’s an actual Americanism in that of uncooked unbridled feelings, there’s an influence to American singers. It exists in Britain however not so many. It’s pure unbridled pathos. And with Pitney it’s a nervous vitality, they’re fairly geeky guys however bearing their souls, there’s a nakedness, they’re not excellent so it’s weak too.
Please inform me is concerning the basic justifiable paranoia, when a man is aware of one thing is occurring together with his beloved. The opposite social gathering is carrying on and he needs her to inform me, inform me what’s occurring. Even when it tears us aside. I can’t bear this not understanding.
I believe Mr Benn’s the wounded social gathering, the home is empty possibly he’s wearing early 70s Memphis gear and he’s terribly unhappy.’
‘The basic dancefloor clearer!
I don’t suppose she’d thoughts me saying, however Chrissie Hynde put the concept in my head. She has all types of turns of phrases. Someday we have been in an airport queue speaking about household, I used to be saying you have to be so wanting ahead to getting dwelling and seeing the household. All of us journey rather a lot. She mentioned “how are they going to overlook me if I by no means go away.” I believed it was an amazing line and thought it have to be from one thing. I seemed round as a result of I didn’t need to write a tune on another person’s thought however there didn’t appear to be.
It hit me right away when she mentioned it. That’s a tremendous line, it was the seed to proceed in a unique vein, I needed to do one thing alongside the strains of the vocal of the soul teams I like from 70s, The Dramatics or The Stylistics or The Persuasions, they’ve all bought implausible names too, unashamedly sentimental. And likewise sing in falsetto, since you usually have a man with excessive voice in these bands.
On this he’s wearing his regular Mr Benn garments. That is the top of the file and the top of the programme and Mr Benn is carrying his regular garments and he’s strolling out of the exit of the airport and his household are ready for him and haven’t seen him for ages and so they all run out and provides him a pleasant large hug.
Effectively performed, Mr Benn. He’s had ten adventures and earned a relaxation and the household have missed him and it’s a contented ending as a result of there aren’t sufficient of these in the mean time.’
Choas Wonderland is launched digitally on 31st July, and vinyl/CD on 28 August via Banana and Louie Data.
Colorama (photograph credit score: Maki Kita)