Thursday, January 13, 2011

Deepgrooves - Colony

Colony were a very serious band. I remember hearing them on BFM, then seeing them play when they opened for my band Hallelujah Picassos at the release party for our "Lovers +"single, alongside Culture Stone and DJ Stinky Jim in 1992.

Colony mixed up hiphop beats and rapping with singing and rowdy guitar. They released a three song EP called  "R.I.P." on Deepgrooves (funded with a QEII Arts Council grant) in 1993 before splitting up.

Reviewing the EP in The NZ Herald (Oct 22, 1993), Russell Baillie says that "... while it may echo the left-ish political rap of Consolidated and Disposable Heroes, unfortunately the non-specific polemic gets a bit wearying. But their musical ideas are more convincing, as they add electric and acoustic guitars to tracks two and three and Suala Foai's floating vocals are a nice touch even when crooning 'destroy the state.' Yep, that old line"

Colony's lineup was Dominic Taylor (samples, programming, vocals), Gavin Downie (guitar, vocals), Sulata Foa'i, (vocals), and Dominic's brother, Simon Taylor (lyrics).

Gavin Downie went on to join Hallelujah Picassos in 1994, and later played in The Managers, Future Stupid and others. He's currently a well-respected guitar technician for hire, and has worked for a wide variety of NZ acts from Steriogram to Dave Dobbyn, and numerous international acts, which led to him working on the Warped Tour across the US a few years back.

I found this article on Gavin from April 2010, where he talks about Colony... after his first high school band split, "I formed a punkrock hiphop band called Colony, we got a grant from NZ on Air, got a record deal, recorded an EP, had a fight, stopped talking, and broke up..." Go have a look, the pic at the top is Gavin and one of his mates, Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top.

Post-Colony, Dominic and Simon were involved in a weekly jam session every Thursday down at the Pelican Bar in Elliot st, with a group called Repeater, in 1994. They were later involved in various other cultural ventures, such as working at famous/infamous K Rd cafe Urbi et Orbi, also known as The Orb (the original name Uber Alles attracted some negative feedback, so was changed), and later opening up Brazil Cafe. More recently they have directed some stunning music videos for SJD - watch them at Round Trip Mars site.

Sulata got picked up by Deepgrooves for a solo career, which produced a very laidback, jazzy, cool album, Kia Koe, in 1996 (more on that in a future post). She guested on recordings with New Loungehead, and also Three The Hard Way, and toured Australia with the latter following their success there with Hiphop Holiday. Later she was also involved singing in Te Vaka led by her coiusin Opetaia Foa'i. She's still involved in various musical activities, according to her bio on her employer's site. (Correction: earlier version said Te Vaka was her father's band - have corrected this).

The songs on the EP were: Colony, State side of grace, and Siva come, and it was recorded at Reel Feel Studio in Parnell by Andreas Voight.

Up tomorrow.. it's getting stinky in here.....


simon taylor said...

Hi Peter,
just to clarify one thing: Uber Alles or Urbi et Orbi was not ours. It employed both Dom & I and taught us a lot about coffee.

And what exactly does Russel Baillie know anyway? Since when was Destroy the State an old line?

Thanks for archiving this.

Simon Taylor

Peter McLennan said...

Hi Simon
thanks for the info. Glad you liked the post.