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Color It Red: Still Strong Twenty Years On

Talking Shop With Color It Red's Cooky Chua and Barbi Cristi

Cooky Chua has been a mainstay in the local rock scene for over two decades now. When she was still a high school student, she founded Color It Red in 1989, together with guitarist/ keyboardist/singer/songwriter/vocalist Barbi Cristi and keyboardist/vocalist Maricar Florendo, picking out their name from a crossword puzzle. A rotating cast of great musicians have joined Color It Red through the years, with Cooky and Barbi the constant fixtures in the band.

Color It Red released their debut album “Hand Painted Sky” in 1994, and it went on to achieve great critical and commercial success. They followed with a couple more acclaimed albums over the following decade, establishing themselves as one of the most beloved bands in contemporary Pinoy rock.

Before an intimate late-night set at Conspiracy bar, Cooky and Barbi sat down to talk with us about being in Color It Red for the past twenty years and about how the new technology available for young bands looking to achieve the same kind of success they did.

Color It Red is celebrating its 20th year this year. Any plans to enter the studio and celebrate the occasion with a new album?

Cooky: In the past, it’s always taken us quite a bit of time between albums. We don’t write songs that fast. But considering that it’s been three years since our last album came out, the answer to that is yes— we’re looking to put together an album this year. We haven’t started any recording work so far though, but the seeds of the songs are there.

Has the creative process changed in the last 20 years?

Cooky: Well, the way it usually is, just like when we started is, Barbie writes the lyrics or the sketches of the songs, I make some vocal melodies, and we get together and jam and hammer the songs out. But with all the lineup changes we’ve had since we started, it’s natural that new ideas are brought to the table. Each of our individual influences finds its way into the songs we write.

Have you started playing new songs at gigs?

Barbi: No, we haven’t been playing any new songs out yet. We’d like to though. Once we get everything nice and polished in the studio, we’ll start playing them live.

Any specific details on what the new songs will sound like?

Cooky: It’s really hard to say at this point. We’re sort of at the stage where we really won’t be making drastic changes in terms of the kind of music we play. We know what we like to listen to and play, and we know what we’re good at. You sort of expect what we’ll sound like. That said, there are bound to be differences between our new and old work thematically, because we’ve grown so much in our time together as a band and as individual people. And our new experiences always forms a large part of our songs.

Barbi: Yes, many of now have families. We were very young when we started out. Now we have different things going on in our lives, so there are a lot of new things we can talk about in our songs.

How has the local music scene changed from the time you were first starting out to now?

Cooky: Nakakainggit din yung sa mga banda ngayon. There’s all sorts of technology available for them to use, not just for making and recording music, but also with sharing their work with others. It was very hard for us starting out. Today, a band can very easily put together a great recording in a cheap home studio, record mp3 and upload them to the Internet. That’s why you have all these great bands coming out now…

Barbi: Yeah, when we first started recording, we had to borrow a lot of equipment or scrape together cash to go into the studio to record. Then you had to take your demo to the different labels. It was tough. Luckily for younger musicians today, all the tools are there for them to break out into the music scene.

Cooky: I really don’t get to go to gigs as much as I’d like, but from what I’ve heard, there really are a lot of good young bands. I really like Sino Sikat and Up Dharma Down. I hope I get to hear more new bands at Bandwidth.

4 Responses to "Color It Red: Still Strong Twenty Years On"

Anonymous Says :
8 July 2009 at 06:46 This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anton Says :
8 July 2009 at 07:02

Grabe, wala pa ring kupas si Cooky at ang Color It Red! Sarap pa rin nilang pakinggan, kahit cover or lumang orig nila

Anonymous Says :
8 July 2009 at 07:29 This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous Says :
8 July 2009 at 08:35

Rock on Color it Red!

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