SIMPLY POP…OR NOT
A CONVERSATION WITH JAIKE STAMBACH OF THE HISTORY OF COLOUR TV
Something Like Eternity is the History of Colour TV’s third full length album. For anyone who has listened to their previous albums – Emerald Cures Chic Ills and Shapes of Spilt Blood Spelt Love, it comes as a surprise. The record is distinct because the sounds came about in a more organic way than ever before. Call it what you may – rock, indie, or alternative rock, there is a naturalistic vibe to Something Like Eternity.
Jaike Stambach, founder of History of Colour TV, states that there is a unique approach mainly because the lineup of the band shifted slightly. Fellow bandmates, Markus Mocydlarz and Janek Sparchta, make up the rest of the Berlin-based band. “We started working with our current drummer who plays the full kit, and I think that pushes it in a direction where it became a lot more natural to play with instruments like acoustic drums and guitars; without too many effects on them or anything. We were just so happy with the new direction of the format that it seemed natural to record in a way that represented it.” Partly, this process came about by design, besides the individual perspective from each member of the group. Jaike continued, “Something Like Eternity was not intended to be something that sounds completely different from previous albums.” It just happened.
Regarding the overall goal and vision for Something Like Eternity, Jaike commented that his albums simply flow one into the next in terms of songwriting. “You can be finishing an album and already be thinking of the next songs. For me at least, writing a new album was more of a feeling. Especially in the songs’ themes – I remember feeling that I would like to have a certain direction for the record’s overall atmosphere.”
The topic of genres flowed into the conversation – how does History of Colour TV identify? The band has been coupled with terms such as dreampop and stripped down rock, among others, but best to get the answer from the source directly. “I think it’s just pop music style; they are songs with choruses, guitars and drums. I feel like when you’re an unknown band, people need to put genres on you. You go to see a show and the posters underneath the name of the band will state the style of that music.” Jaike pointed out that perhaps it may only be a UK custom. “It’s strange because you never expect it – when you see a famous band, they’ll never associate with one genre. But until that point, you’re labelled in those brackets. You just exist in the form that you exist. It makes sense in a way because it’s designed to attract a certain crowd.”
The diversity in the band’s approach to this newest album led to the inquiry of audience perception. Jaike would say that the History of Colour TV’s music is simply pop. However, others who will listen to it might find that it isn’t, or that there is no hook, or that it isn’t catchy. Each defines it in their own ways. “This album isn’t super straight forward in terms of songwriting and I feel like it’s drifting a little bit away from the regular song format.” He revealed that the band is already working on some new material and that the next bunch of songs are going to be composed quite distinctly”
An important aspect to note here is inspiration. Which bands inspire the History of Colour TV and why? Jaike admires Xiu Xiu, as a more contemporary example. “They’re prolific, honest, delicate, beautiful and dark. That inspires me to keep making music in a way. There’s not a connection with them musically per se. I also really like the band Shellac – maybe a band like that inspires us to record the way we did. Poino is another band that is unknown, and there’s something about the rawness of that.”
Fun fact about the History of Colour TV, “…we’re actually relatively funny people. I don’t know if our music comes across as dark, serious, or pretentious, but I like to think that as people, when we’re in the rehearsal room, we don’t take things too seriously on a certain level – I mean, of course we’re committed to what we do. In a sense, we know it’s ridiculous being in a band and getting on stage. There’s something not very natural about it.”
Stay tuned for a tour in Europe in May – mainly in Germany and France. The official release show is due on March 29th at Maze in Berlin. A larger tour in the autumn is in store for Europe. Although, another fun fact, is that a significant portion of their fan base is in North America. “It’s just really hard to get over there to tour. It’s not as straightforward as Europe. But I hope we can make that happen at some point, would be cool.”