In July 2017 the South African music scene was introduced to Colour Faction with the release of their debut single, Marco Polo and its music video. Today sees the official release of their debut self-titled EP.

The EP was officially recorded during December 2015 and January 2016, produced by Jacques Du Plessis and Adrian Erasmus at High Seas Studios, Johannesburg and mastered by Emily Lazar (who has worked with the likes of indie pop/rock darlings The Shins and Vampire Weekend) at The Lodge, New York City.

13th-century explorers on the Silk Road; exotic dancers moonlighting as World War 1 spies; iconoclastic stars of the silver screen. These characters can all be found in the songs of Colour Faction frontman, Joshua.

“Story is where we came from. Story is where we’re going,” he says. “If our lives are like comic books or movies, we may find ourselves stuck between frames without a script. As a songwriter, I try to find meaning in those moments.”

Bassist Angelika, affectionately called Peach by her bandmates, cites classic artists like Warren Zevon and Paul Westerberg of the Replacements as writers who excelled at storytelling through song. “Their songs were so cinematic, so rich in detail. Smart pop arrangements and catchy hooks that you couldn’t get out of your head.”

Colour Faction’s debut self-titled EP is a testament to the “smart pop arrangements and catchy hooks” Peach is talking about.

“These songs deserve the best, and we got the best in Jacques, Adrian and Emily,” says guitarist Brad. “It’s been a challenge in the past to find the right musical collaborators, people who know how to bring out the best in us. But this time, we got it right.”

Drummer Shalom agrees. “We’re lucky to have three singers in the band. Jacques helped us craft some really intricate male/female vocal harmonies – that’s become our thing. Kinda like the New Pornographers and Mother Mother. Hardly anyone in indie rock is doing what those bands are doing.”

The EP is dedicated to Joshua’s dad Jon, a musician and teacher who passed away in 2014. “He ran a record store called ‘Street’ in the 80s and early 90s. At the time, he was one of the few people in SA importing bands like the Cure and the Pixies. I grew up surrounded by cutting-edge indie music – quite an education. If you go into any second-hand record store today, I guarantee you’ll find the little yellow ‘Street’ logo stuck to the back of a number of records.” He was the band’s biggest champion. “He taught me how to play bass,” says Peach. “It’s sad that he never got to hear the EP. We know he would’ve been proud. He’d always tell us: sing out, sing strong!”

The EP shows off their best attributes as a band: sophisticated pop arrangements, intricate vocal harmonies, smart lyrics and catchy hooks – great ingredients for a debut offering. The band decided to self-title the EP because they want people to remember the name Colour Faction: Bright, confident and catchy, like the music itself.

You can check out the EP right here, and we also had a chat Joshua:

Hi, guys. Thanks for chatting to us. Your EP is almost out. Only one more day. How are you feeling about it?

Relieved! It feels good to have these songs, some of which were written many years ago, out in the world.

How would you describe the EP and your band to someone who hasn’t heard of you before?

We think of our songs as little movies – we like to tell stories. A good story makes you want to lean in a little closer, and a good song should take you on a journey. We make smart, sophisticated indie pop/rock with intricate boy/girl harmonies – our signature sound.

That’s awesome. What makes you excited about being an artist in the South African music scene?

While we’re proud to enter the local scene, we consider ourselves international artists, and we feel it behooves any South African artists to see themselves as such.

What has been your greatest challenge in the recording of the EP?

As previously mentioned, we lived with these tracks for many years prior to going into the studio. The challenge is in remaining as brutally honest with yourself as possible when recording a song, especially after you’ve fallen in love with the fantasy version that’s been playing in your head for so long. On the other hand, hearing the tracks finally come to life was, and still is, so exciting.

Where would you love to perform in future? And why?

As a new band, we’re just excited to get out there and play, period.

Are you there any artists you would love to collaborate in the future on a song?

The New Pornographers, Protomartyr, Spoon.

What ingredients are needed to make a successful album in South Africa, in your opinion?

Noel Gallagher said it best: “You might want to write a decent chorus for a fuckin’ start.”

Hahaha! Lekker. Where can people find you performing in future?

We’re working on it!

Thanks for the chat, and all the best!

*Photos by Chris Saunders