Amsterdam-based act Cubicolor is an internationally acclaimed electronic trio that features a lineup of accomplished musicians and producers:
Ariann Olierook, a member of production duo 16BL and Cubicolor, who acts as the public face of both acts. Olierook has been writing and recording music professional over the past 20 years — and has toured globally for the past 15 years. Described as a “student of music” by his Cubicolor bandmate Tim Digby-Bell, Olierook has developed reputation both within the project and without as constantly learning, honing techniques, restlessly experimenting and trying new ideas and building his own instruments. including custom modular synths, mixing decks and speakers that trio uses for their recording sessions.
Tim Digby-Bell, a London-born singer/songwriter, poet and playwright, who began to learn the guitar when he turned seven. Growing up, he was heavily influenced by Nick Drake and others. Before he joined the Amsterdam-based electronic act, the British singer/songwriter was best known for being in London-based indie quintet Duologue.
Through their earliest releases, Duologue quickly became a buzzworthy act, and they wound up signing to a major label. Sadly, while on their first Stateside tour – a momentum and career building tour, at that – one of Digby-Bell’s bandmates was diagnosed with leukemia. With an uncertain future looming in front of them, the band spilt up. Since the band’s breakup, that now-former bandmate has recovered from his illness.
Roughly two years after Duologue split up, Digby-Bell was introduced to Olierook and Peter Kriek — and after collaborating with the duo on “Falling,” became a permanent member of Cubicolor in 2016.
Kriek is the most mysterious and enigmatic member of the act. He grew up outside of Amsterdam, attended university and started a successful IT company while co-founding 16BL and Cubicolor with Olierook. Roughly 15 years ago, Kriek decided to withdraw from much of normal life, leaving his company and living a monastic-like and solitary life on a houseboat, which doubled as recording studio.
Reportedly, Kriek doesn’t listen to much modern music and is generally unreceptive to new ideas – and although his living situation and habits are challenging to deal with, his 16BL and Cubicolor bandmates will openly admit that he has an non-Western ear for melody and is one of the most talented musicians and producers they’ve ever met or worked with.
Since Cubicolor’s formation in 2014, the act has released three EPs and a handful of singles through Anjunadeep Records that found the act’s sound moving from progressive house to experimental electronica. The act’s breakthrough, full-length debut Brainsugar was heavily supported by Spotify‘s Austin Kramer, Pete Tong, Joris Voorn and Kölsch, received airplay throughout the UK and KCRW and received critical praise from Mixmag, RA, Thump, Consequence of Sound and DJ Mag, which gave the album a 9/10 review. Brainsugar album tracks were remixed by Patrice Baumel, Lindstrom and Prins Thomas— and those tracks received support and play in clubs throughout the world. And adding to a growing profile, the album has amassed over 40 million streams globally.
Back in 2018, the band had written, recorded, and finished what was supposed to be their sophomore full-length album Trick of Light. The album was delivered to their label and to the digital streaming platforms. A full press campaign for the album was planned and then shortly before the official announcement of the album, the band decided to cancel the release and scrap the album. Three album singles were released off the canceled album — “No Dancers,” “Counterpart,” and “Boxed Out.” “Counterpart” received airplay on the BBC Radio 1 programs of Annie Mac, Pete Tong, Phil Taggart and Kölsh. Adam Port’s remix of “No Dancers” was a club hit. “We got home and listened to it, then got on the phone with each other and decided to drop the whole thing,” the band’s Tim Digby-Bell recalls in press notes. “The next week, we went back into the studio and started again. We didn’t keep anything, we shut ourselves on the boat in Amsterdam where we work and didn’t stop until we made the record we wanted to make.
“There were a lot of moments when we weren’t sure we’d ever find what it was we were looking for,” Digby-Bell continues. “On the way, we lost friends, lost loves, battled health issues, lost an album, lost each other and came back together again. Looking back now, it was pretty crazy, but the world keeps spinning and I guess we just don’t want to put out anything that wasn’t true to ourselves as a band, and the very best we can do as musicians, no matter how long it took.”
The trio’s latest album, the long-awaited, Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night is partially inspired by the seemingly endless cycles of space and time and is centered around an unwavering dedication to earnestness of emotion and purpose. Thematically, the album at points touches on much more personal topics than others: the Digby-Bell penned single “Points Beyond” is a loving tribute to a dear friend of his, who died last year. Other album tracks are meant to evoke the uncertainty and fear that the band felt during the writing and recording process. Overall, the album’s material paints an intimate and provocative picture of the trio’s evolution as artists and as people.
“Rituals,” Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night‘s latest single is centered around looping and twinkling piano, thumping beats, Digby-Bell’s plaintive vocals, shimmering synth arpeggios blasts and a soaring hook. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to Floating Points and Bonobo, the track manages to be cinematic and remarkably intimate, delving deep into the psyche and souls of its creators.
Directed by Callum Bain, the recently released, intimately shot video for “Rituals” stars Misfits and Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy actor Robert Sheehan, who gives a raw and primal performance, as we see him moving through both time and space. “We all have rituals, from habitual daily activities, to practices in meditation, worship, dance,” the video’s director says in press notes. “Movements based on fortune and luck, or just superstition. Do they hinder or help our daily needs? Does it matter? Is the act of doing them reward enough?
“This video explores ritualistic movements, both extreme and delicate. It visualizes the micro-movements and slight variations found in repeated rituals, it observes the forward and backward motion of time.
“At its heart is Robert Sheehan’s performance, primal, instinctive, totally captivating and depicting a state of pure consciousness.
Is he anguished by carrying out these rituals or are the rituals providing an element of comfort or nourishment to an anguished soul? Must we break the cycle of bad habits that have become ritualistic . . . ”