Colourmusic released a new nine-song album, Swimsuit, this week. It's their first studio release in five years, following 2014's May You Marry Rich.
In the time between record releases, the band stopped performing live for several years and parted ways with its record label. Drummer Nick Ley also joined The Flaming Lips during the hiatus.
The Oklahoma City band talked to KOSU's Ryan LaCroix about moving on without a record label, releasing the record on their own terms, changing priorities over their 15-plus years as a band, and having fun again.
Hear the conversation above and read below for interview highlights.
On creating a feeling with Swimsuit
I lost friends during this period. I was depressed and I was mourning friends. And I was also mourning people in my life that I know I'm going to lose. This is not over with. This process of people disappearing is going to continue. And the person that I go to bed with every night who I love more than anything - something is going to take us apart. Can I write music that helps me mourn this? That was the mood of the record.
On moving on without a label
If the music is ours, we kinda never give up on it ... there's still something in there. Maybe we can keep pumping it. (With) both of us being music business lecturers, it didn't feel comfortable anymore to do those things - to give over control of an album cycle.
How priorities change over the life of a band
The one thing that's changed with us over time is how we've measured success. We don't measure success the same way we did when we were starting out in 2005, 2006. Now, measuring success is honestly finishing Swimsuit. The next records that we're doing, it's making those actually happen and putting them into the world. That's the real achievement that I'm proud of.
On Nick Ley balancing multiple music projects
I was having a lot of trouble balancing it all. I asked Derek Brown (Flaming Lips bandmate, ACM@UCO colleague, fellow dad), "How do you do it all? People tell me I'm busy, but I know I'm not as busy as you are and you're making it...what's going on?" And he said, "I really just do what screams at me." And that, honestly, automatically allowed me to take pressure off things that didn't matter at the time.