A few weeks back we gave you the scoop on the out-of-this-world, Brooklyn-based outfit Corbu. On their new album Crayon Soul, the trio (consisting of frontman Jonathan Graves, Amanda Scott, and Todd Hoellerman) tap into the late 60s and 70s, both in sound and aesthetic, creating a hyper-colored, cosmic sound that hints at the high art of classic artists like Pink Floyd, while getting there with the help of modern, electronic sounds. It's a stunning debut...one that had our editorial team declaring the group to be "the most interesting new band of 2016".
After digging into the band's recorded music we knew we had to witness it live in the flesh, so we invited the band by our space last month. With a glaze of golden light blasting through the windows, the band recreated three of Crayon Soul's colorful tunes for our crew ("Neon Hallway", "Battles" and "Prism"). We also sat down with them to get the scoop on the creative process that was put into place for recording the album, including bringing on legendary engineer/producer Dave Fridmann to make the two-dimensional version of the album jump out of the speakers ("like a pop-up book"). This session from Corbu is a fully immersive new video just pleading for you to swan dive right into it.
- And we're Corbu. The curtain comes up just as I Pick my face off the ground And there you were Giving me no expression No expression No, no expression And soon the lines curving around They're climbing above Wrapping around your head. They're pulling me in, too It's like a gravity hill I'm tumbling up Tumbling up Falling up Falling up Tumbling up Falling up Falling up Tumbling up Falling up Back when I started the game There was a vast white space So we built a world Alive And it can't be burned Can't be destroyed Can't be erased Can't be taken away No one can take it away I found you in a neon hallway A neon hallway A neon hallway A neon hallway Between heaven and hell Between heaven and hell Between heaven and hell Between heaven and hell - We've never made an album before. I've never made an album before. And when we actually got to make one, we wanted to make it a proper, full-length experience like Dark Side of the Moon or In Rainbows, something that, you know, really was one piece that went from start to finish. The record's called Crayon Soul. I would just encourage people to listen to it from the beginning to the end if they like what they heard and if they like any of the songs. I think it's better taking in, in that way. Dave Fridmann is one of our heroes that we always wanted to work with. From the moment we even knew that we were going to make this album, he was the only person we wanted to mix it. Really the only person that we thought could really get it to that next level, what we were trying to do. What we went in with was a two-dimensional version of the record that you hear now. And Dave created it. It was like a pop-up book. So it's the same vibe, the just immersive, three-dimensional, detailed version of that thing. - We were extremely blown away. And I just remember like laughing and smiling through the whole thing. Like I can't believe this is real, because he has you listen to it on these massive speakers, like, really loud. And it just felt like we're in like an OMNIMAX, about to watch, like, some space odyssey thing. And I like fell off the chair because I was like I cannot believe that this is really happening right now, and...holy crap. Swim across the ocean I can see the light And it keeps me up all night I know that you've been waiting For me to leave this cave But the sun is up And I'm ready I'm ready I'm ready, oh, oh I'm ready I'm ready I'm ready I am fighting battles I am fighting wars I am fighting battles I am fighting wars Every day, it's true Aren't you? Every day, it's true Aren't you? The password is protected By secrets we used to know When we were still brand new No damage to undo So I will remember To keep from stepping on the cracks I'm ready, I'm ready I'm ready, oh, oh I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready, oh, oh I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready We are fighting battles We are fighting wars Every day, it's true We are fighting battles We are fighting wars Every day, it's true Aren't you? Every day, it's true Aren't you? Today is the day Today is the day Every day is the day Every day is today I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready, oh, oh I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready, oh, oh I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready, oh, oh I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready, oh, oh I am fighting battles I am fighting wars Every day, it's true Aren't you? Every day, it's true Aren't you? - I guess there's two narratives that propel the record along. I mean, there's a thread that ties it all together about, sort of, the part of you that's really open and super creative when you're a little kid and just open to new ideas and open to new experiences. And you sort of...the world doesn't have to make complete sense to you. And then we also wrote a story as the album was almost done that was the sort of long sci-fi adventure time episode that went along with the whole record. And it glued everything together. We make all of our own artwork, visuals aid me a lot in creating music. I think it's the way that I make sense of music, sort of a process of like writing a soundtrack, to just whatever image of the initial idea put in my head. What's the matter Is there too much good? Is there too much light? Just keep the airlock closed There's a flower blooming on the wall Like it's nothing at all It's nothing at all Are those people standing over your bed Oh no, not again Not again There's always something falling out of the sky But it burns up bright It does no damage, so Come with me baby You won't go crazy We'll come back to earth In the morning Split me through the prism We'll stare into the light With a different pair of eyes Split me through the prism I'm not afraid to find Colors locked inside We'll come back to earth In the morning Spreading cheat codes and magic bullets around What's the matter Is there something wrong? It won't last very long Maybe just let it in There's a flower blooming on the moon Yeah, we'll be there soon Spreading cheat, magic bullets around Split me through the prism I'm not afraid to find Colors locked inside Colors locked inside Whatever's on your mind Colors locked inside Within a long, long ride May you finally begin to arrive - We embrace every aspect of doing this because we're all so passionate about this project. But there is certainly something to be said for the moment when you are on stage or in the studio or even in the rehearsal space playing together. And, well, you know, we find ourselves looking at each other during the set. And it feels good. It feels real. - Oh, we're here. - We love it. - Yeah. Life is intense right now for us as a band, but really great and exciting. We just got off our first tour ever with Bloc Party. And then we just played our first festival ever at Austin City Limits. It was a really great experience. Both of them were incredible. It's an exciting time, full of all unknown things that keep popping up. But so far they're all good.
"Dreams are really important to me. Ive always had intense and lucid dreams since I was little, and as Ive gotten older theyve taken on a lot more meaning for me. I think the world you experience when youre dreaming is physically real, in some way. I dont understand it at all, but Ive had enough intense experiences to justify that belief. So for me, its a sort of parallel reality to our normal, waking consciousness one where time doesnt exist and dead relatives can hang out with you. Whenever Im making art or music, I feel like Im trying to reach over into that place and bring some of it back into this one."