By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Pasadena Weekly Executive Editor
Billy Duffy of The Cult and The Alarm’s Mike Peters are preparing to release their first new album as Coloursøund in 20 years on July 16.
The collection, “Coloursøund II,” takes Duffy’s trademark Gretsch Falcon riffs and Peters’ recognizable vocals. But, via Zoom, Duffy has a simple description of Coloursøund.
“It’s a new twist on an old cocktail,” Duffy said. “We’re both progressive in our thinking. We don’t want third-rate versions of (The Cult’s) ‘She Sells Sanctuary.’”
The duo formed Coloursøund in 1997, when neither were aligned to the groups with which they’re synonymous. By the time they wrote and released their first album, “Coloursøund,” in 1999, Duffy and Peters returned to fly their banners with The Cult and The Alarm.
Duffy piqued the interest of Peters once again in 2019 by sending a guitar riff. It immediately triggered a choral response. In January, within weeks, the pair sequestered in a beach cottage in a remote part of the North Wales coastline to write again.
“The first three days were part of a test stage,” he said. “If nothing good had come out of it, we wouldn’t have pursued it, but we felt we’d come up with seven or eight decent ideas.”
The stint brought on good old-fashioned smack talk, too, Duffy said with a laugh.
“We were trying to stay warm and enjoy the countryside and I watched my soccer team give his soccer team a good thrashing on television,” said Duffy, who’s a Manchester City supporter. Meanwhile, Peters is a Manchester United fan.
“I do remember that Mike went great lengths to get this game on TV. We have a little local rivalry. It’s just a little banter, but it’s a little bit of fun.”
Aside from the ribbing, Peters and Duffy easily wrote songs. Duffy describes Peters as being “very prolific.”
“It’s great because you get that spontaneity factor, which is different than The Cult. That’s really quite lengthy,” he said.
“In Wales, it was real old school — guitars lying around, mugs of hot tea, fire burning, the waves crushing outside. It was almost like a cliché. It was some rock cliché. But it was great.”
Duffy returned to California, where he has a home, and Peters expanded on the ideas and worked on his vocals. When the two reunited, they worked on basic chords and his melodies.
“It wasn’t laborious,” he said. “We didn’t have this drawn-out, sending files between here, there and everywhere. It was a three-stage process, which was great.
“It’s not like we are drinking buddies who are looking for an excuse to get out of the house. We take it seriously in our lighthearted way. It’s a fun thing. It was a fun thing in the ’90s when we did it. We enjoyed that period and process and lots of good things came out of it — and similarly now.”
Duffy is unsure if Coloursøund is going to tour, after all, he said, he has a “little confession.”
“I haven’t actually missed touring as much as I thought I would,” said Duffy, who’s working on a new The Cult album with singer Ian Astbury. “Having said that, we’d like to play at some point, if the schedules and circumstances permit. It would be fun to do some shows.
“I say ‘some shows’ because, if I’m going to rehearse and get a thing together to do a gig, why not do a few? It’s the same amount of effort to get yourself prepared. It would be something, but it has to work in harmony with what Mike’s doing with The Alarm and himself, and also what I’m doing with The Cult.
“So far, The Cult has plans to tour and there are dates on the books. As you’ve seen, though, they tend to shift around a lot.”