COLU Adjective A euphoric and familiar feeling that takes you on an ambient journey of self discovery
“We don’t want to ever be boxed in as artists. We want to continually surprise people”. It’s one of those stories that you’ve heard over and over again; Two acquaintances connect over a mutual passion for music, they move in together, begin experimenting with sounds and then start a project with a big dream. But it would be wrong to say that COLU are just your normal pop infused duo, because they’re not. James Manteit and Kieran Fergusson are so much more than what meets the eye and they’ve gone out of their way to make sure you’re immediately aware of that. As they both sit across from each other reminiscing over the creative process of their debut album, their bond is noticeably tight and their banter is hilariously fast paced. Laughing over their memories creating this record they excitingly confess that they are nearly ready to start creating their sophomore record even though the roll out for their debut album hasn’t even properly started yet. And that’s the pure hustle and high expectations they want to live up to with this project. They want to keep stepping up their game and continue to deliver strong tracks that show a growth to them as artists whilst also taking the listeners on a reflective and empowering journey that dives deep into their struggling past.
They don’t want to play it safe. Nor do they just want to create and release the same style of music over and over again. The phrase “genre fluid” is jokingly thrown around the conversation multiple times whilst they try to explain their vision but in reality that is what they want to be. They want to be able to release music that authentically tells the story and isn’t shaped into a particular musical formula just because they have to fit into a particular sonical space. Their debut single ‘Scholar’ is a hip-hop track that dabbles in electronic beats and offers a very hype and fun attitude which serves as the perfect way to introduce themselves to listeners. Inspired after a break-up Manteit was going through at the time, they ended up splitting a bottle of vodka and entering their home studio where he just laid down some honest and playful lyrics about moving on and finding his confidence within himself again. The end result is something that has already hit over 13,000 streams on Spotify alone in just over a week. As independent artists with no publicity team or label pushing their vision, that is an impressive feat. And as they start warming up to listeners they anxiously wait in the wings as they prepare the next chapter which will see them delivering two very polar opposite tracks that also perfectly showcases the diversity and fluidity they want their music to have. ‘Slump’ heads towards a tighter indie-pop and electronic production whilst ‘Black Sheep’ hears them taking the hype hip-hop sound ‘Scholar’ had to new heights. From there, the following singles and debut album will continue to impress with moody, reflective and impressive production mixed in with honest vocal flows that cites influences from Allday and The Weekend. The tight and anthemic chorus of ‘Intentions’ perfectly embodies the raw talent these two Brisbane boys have and showcases just how much they are evolving as a collective. With a polished LANY and The 1975 influence shining through a Chase Atlantic inspired hip-hop meets indie-pop beat, they confidently own the sound and the vision. Again cementing and validifying their genre-crossing sound which is bold and daring. They also pay homage to one of their musical idols, The Weeknd throughout the record with a production style that is so polished and well groomed. Manteit doesn’t only just give you quick rap flows but he also offers a vulnerable and soothing vocal delivery which he’s taught himself to control with the helpful coaching of Fergusson over the years.
As the bands producer and sonical director, Fergusson explains; “Whilst our music may drastically sit somewhere between hip-hop and pop, what ties it all together is this cathartic ambient feel. We feel comfortable enough to branch out and surprise people and do different things because it’s cohesive with other things that are tieing our message all together. It’s less about the genre and more about the feeling”.
Whilst he lays down all the beats, Manteit writes all the lyrics and gets really sentimental. Reflecting on his dark and empowering history with family issues, mental health realisations, heartbreak and self worth discovery, he becomes very vulnerable even amongst these hard and DIY beats. To coincide with the release of the album the duo are also working on some very honest, raw and captivating visuals that will transport the listener into the very candid storyline of this album. They prove once again that they don’t want to be pigeonholed as one sort of artist and are instead trying to break the mould and make a bold introduction. And they are already successfully doing that. Pushing their energy, enthusiasm and growth, COLU are a duo that have no limits. Their possibilities are unlimited and their vision is out of this world as they push the power of strength and self-belief through hard times which has never been so relevant than it is now in this current political and social climate.