Tagged: Whitfield Crane


You wouldn’t know it if you walked past but nestled away behind some shops in Pier Street Altona sits one of the Melbourne’s most exciting recording studios. Owned and operated by Melbourne musician Mat Robins Coloursound Recording Studio is already beginning to carve out a history for itself in the Melbourne music scene as bands like The Baby Animals and The Dandy Warhols have already used its services.

Talking to Robins you release that this is a man that lives and breathes music, it runs through his veins and the passion in obvious in his voice. “I think like anyone I kind of just fell into it,” he says when I ask how he started out in the music industry. “Everyone has a drive or passion for something and they usually steer a way towards that so for me it was playing in bands as a kid, and I still play in bands now, but when I was playing in bands as a kid I was always looking over the shoulder of the engineer in the studio. I was always very much wanting to know about that stuff but not really understanding it, but over time you just take those small steps forward and you try stuff and you tick off stuff and then that turns into what it is today… whatever that is going to be, for me that is running a studio and managing artists… and I love it, it is a great thing.”

Robins’ musical journey begun with his parents listing to ELO and The Beatles at home and then turned to him starting his first band during his teenage years with the 90s grunge inspired Thimble Eye, today he is a member of Cicada Stone who recently played in a Bushfire Relief Concert for Silverback Touring.

Now he spreads his time across Cicada Stone and Coloursound two things he really enjoys. “Coloursound in its current form has been in Altona for the last ten years, it has been a steady growth procession. My journey started at home, I was recording on anything that I could afford and then I kept upgrading and buying this and buying that, then we moved into a garage and then into a more permanent space here in Altona. The concept was that I didn’t want to set up a studio like everyone else’s studio. Years ago I went into Hothouse Studios in St Kilda for a session and I just loved the idea of a studio being hidden away on a main street, you have life at your fingertips, whatever you need is just outside and all the studios I had been in in the past had been in warehouses or backyards and life was quite difficult.”

“So what I wanted to do was set up a studio that emulated that whole Hothouse concept,” he says continuing. “So when I set up Coloursound it was based on that – it is on a main street, it is hidden away behind shops, it is right near a beach – it’s a really good spot. It’s not even a big studio – I’ve got a control room and a main room for tracking, a couple of isolation booths, but it is amazing what you can get away with in a dedicated small space. I don’t even have a lot of equipment, I’ve got a nice vintage console, some really tasty microphones, but it is not about the equipment it is about how you use the equipment and it is about how you approach the songs.”

As the studio has grown over the years Robins says he has had a number of highlights. “Highlights would have to include getting in anyone,” he says with a laugh. “I think it is a highlight that anyone would go ‘hey, I believe in you and I believe that you can do something with my song.’ That is the greatest compliment, but if I were to drop names we’ve had some great artists in here. Locally we’ve had bands like Palace Of The King and Warbirds come in recently. Some international bands that I’ve had have been I had The Dandy Warhols in here recording drums for an album they did a few years ago… that really blew me away to have a band of such a calibre recording in Melbourne, especially at my place. We’ve had Whitfield Crane come in and when those sessions happen you kind of sit back and think ‘Shit, I never thought I would have people like this in my place.’ I mean I had Suzi DeMarchi in here with The Baby Animals and it is pretty amazing when stuff like that happens.”

Of course along with the highlights come the challenges and Robins says he has faced some of them along the way as well. “Honestly the biggest challenge is keeping the doors open,” he admits. “And I think any studio will say that. On the outside every studio always looks busy, everybody is trying to make themselves look bigger than they are but the reality is it is a small industry here – it is very niche. And with modern technology the way that it is, and I am all for it, modern technology is taking the power out of the studio and into the home and that is a good thing, people should be expressing themselves and doing their own thing but it doesn’t help established studios keep the bills paid. So that has been the biggest hurdle – finding projects where bands want to invest into a studio. And also for bands to invest into albums is getting harder and harder to pick up, bands are happy to do the single or the EP but finding an album project seems to have got harder over the past few years, maybe it is the sign of the times – bands don’t really want to do albums anymore.”

Aside from offering recording services Robins has also started to run workshops at Coloursound where he can pass on valuable information to people looking to learn more about the industry. “Over my time I have learnt a lot,” he says humbly. “I always find that I love talking about this stuff and I just realised that there is nothing wrong with passing on this information so I set up a workshop and it is a good way to fill in the days that aren’t busy here and there is always someone who has reached that point where they need to have a breakthrough and doing this kind of workshop can certainly unlock that for someone. I know I would have loved that when I was teenager trying to learn this stuff at home, if there had been a weekend style workshop that I could have done that would have been great.”

Melbourne is lucky to have a studio like Coloursound so if you are looking to work on that next project you may want to go down and spend some time with Mat Robins to get it done.

Ever imagined you could jam around the campfire with Whitfield Crane from Ugly Kid Joe, or go on an artist hunt in one of the largest hedgemazes in the southern hemisphere? A Hitch to the Sticks is this year’s newest Music Festival that promises you the ride of your life. Musician Dallas Frasca will host this musical safari and invites you to get on board the magical mystery tour.

Already announced to join Frasca on the first A Hitch to the Sticks Festival bus is Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s all-round reggae luminary Nicky Bomba and Beechworth-born singer songwriter Liv Cartledge as part of the promised regional talent. Dallas is now thrilled to announce that international superstar Whitfield Crane from Ugly Kid Joe will perform a once in a lifetime intimate set somewhere along the Hume which is bound to be a musical highlight for 2018.

For the rest of the lineup the main focus is on supporting Australian and homegrown North Eastern Victorian talent. The festival is made up with 85% of up-and-coming musical gems who will share the stage with the likes of Jeff Lang,  Monique Brumby, Jo Jo Smith, Tay Oskee. Representing for the North East across the  weekend will be local artists Benny Williams, Dj Eddy and Rambunctious, Mandy Connell, Whiskey Dram, The Quick & The Dead, Rhyece O’Neill & The Narodniks, Droid, Rick Steward & the Greensmen, Marisa Quigley, Sara Flint, Time Rob & The Stealing Hours Band, Mikaylah & Leticiaplus more to be announced.

For 50 lucky ticket holders the adventure will begin in Melbourne’s CBD on Friday 16 Marchat 5.30pm and head North up the Hume stopping at a series of curated events before returning to the big smoke at 6.00pm Sunday 18 March. With six secret locations and four public events where you’ll get a chance to mix with the locals, the bus will take punters to Violet Town, Lima, Myrrhee, Tatong, Thoona, Wangaratta and Moyhu for a packed weekend of music, culture, discovery and adventure. 3 days, 10 music events, 6 secret locations, 4 open to the public with 20+ acts and 710km all on one bus!

For those who can’t make it onboard, there are plenty of opportunities to join the disembarking passengers and meet the legendary bus at four public events throughout the tour. This includes the sixth annual Wangaratta Down By The River Festival – a free event offering a kaleidoscope of flavour, music, activity and culture curated by Frasca herself, as well gigs by local promoters The Musical Garden in Tatong, and King Valley Presents in Moyhu.

3 days | 10 music events | 30 acts | 710km | 1 bus
Friday 16 March – Sunday 18 March
North-East Victoria



Tickets on sale now via www.ahitchtothesticks.com
Limited to only 50 tickets
Accommodation, travel and some food and drinks provided.

VIP Packages include: choose your own room, or Rock n roll slumber party + the ultimate mega bundle pack includes: tee/tote bag/stubby cooler/bottle opener