Atlanta-based “chromafunk” producer Pure Colors has been dazzling the electronic music scene with his funk-infectious dance hits and hip-hop beats. Manned by Joey Tuholski, Pure Colors is starting off 2020 with a newly released full-length album under his belt, and the excitement of playing his first far-away-from-home show and Electric Forest in June to carry him throughout the year.
Having shared the stage with Marvel Years, The Russ Liquid Test, Flamingosis, Big Gigantic, Late Night Radio, Break Science, and performed at Hulaween, Sigh In July, Seeds of Sound Music & Arts Festival and more over the years, the 26-year-old multi-instrumentalist is gearing up to make his debut in Denver alongside Maddy O’Neal, The New Deal, Nobide, RECESS, and Ben Silver (Orchard Lounge) on January 18th at Cervantes. Live For Live Music’s Mikala Lugen chatted with Tuholski about his upcoming show, recent Chromafunk release, new music in the works, and more.
Live For Live Music: How did you first start getting into the electronic music scene?
Joey Tuholski: We can throw it all the way back to junior year of high school. I took a music technology class and prior to taking that class, I’d been doing music for years and playing percussion mainly in school. I heard about this class and thought it would be pretty cool to try to make everything from scratch on a computer instead of just playing percussion instruments with a bunch of people. I started in this program called Reason 4. And we had a pretty good teacher. He would give us assignments and we had a deadline to finish up certain tracks with different objectives and I loved it. I thought it was so fun and just really rewarding. Unlike anything I’d ever tried to do before musically.
From there I kept developing my skills, but I really dropped off a bit in college. I did it here and there, but I didn’t really progress super quickly with it because I was busy with all the new stuff that comes with college. So really once I graduated school is when I took it to the next level and I got serious with it, and now it’s my main focus career-wise.
Live For Live Music: That’s awesome you got inspired in school! You call your mix of disco, funk, and hip-hop sound “chromafunk”, and you just released your first full-length album with that same name. Can you tell me about the production of that and why it’s called Chromafunk?
Tuholski: So I put out three EPs prior to this new album. I’ve been listening to a bunch of music and artists that I love, and I noticed that they’re putting out these albums with incredible cover art. What resonates with me is my favorite full albums, versus an EP or a single. It’s the album that you fall in love with the most and what captures your attention. I previously had been fearful of doing an album because your first album is a big deal, ya know? But my new motto for putting out music is going to be to put out a bunch of music and do it steadily, not needing to worry so much about hyping up this first thing. I just need to start putting out albums more regularly, because I think that’s how you grow as an artist.
I mixed Chromafunk myself and I usually do master everything I put out. But because sometimes it can just be a headache trying to master everything perfectly, it’s nice to have another ear on it. I actually had my friend from Athens, Georgia master Chromafunk and he did a great job. I decided to name it after this genre I put myself in as a true, full introduction to my music, a nod to what “chromafunk” really is.
Live For Live Music: Well we definitely dig it and are psyched about this new music. Who were some of the artists you mentioned earlier that helped influenced this release?
Tuholski: Definitley Flamingosis. He’s the man. I’ve hung out with him a few times and we made the track “Bootsy’s New Bass” together, which was really cool for me because he’s probably my favorite artist. He really inspired me because he’s got a really good workflow and he’s put out a bunch of albums over the last decade. And then I would also say Vanilla. He has a different style for sure, it’s a lot more downtempo and groovy, but he’s a master at sampling and the way he composes his songs. I would say right now I’m really inspired by The Kount. And then Birocratic is also a good dude and a really solid producer. I respect his approach to his craft.
Live For Live Music: Sounds like a lot of great inspiration and influences went into this new album. What’s one song off Chromafunk that represents the current state of Pure Colors?
Tuholski: “Drum Machine” is one of my favorite ones off the album. It’s really funky, but I also like “Heaven Is”, which is a different track with a different style.
Pure Colors – Chromafunk [Full Album Mix]
[Video: Live For Live Music]
Live For Live Music: We love “Drum Machine”! You also just released a new collaboration track with Sundae Sauce Presents last week, “Crystal City”. How did that come about?
Tuholski: I really dig that label. I hit up the guy who runs it, Travis, because they’ve been putting out a few compilations with a lot of funky producers, kind of like myself. He hit me up about being on this recent collaboration release, Butterscotch Drizzle. I made that track exclusively for that release, and didn’t use any sampling, it was mostly original composition, so it’s a special one for sure.
What I’m doing is I’m slowly working towards the next album. But I’m not putting that out just yet. I’m just slowly starting that next project to follow up with Chromafunk. I’m working on something that’s a little more downtempo, being less funky, but still very groovy. Right now it’s less sampling than I did on Chromafunk, so it’s a lot more original composition too. “Crystal City” was a great turnout for doing original composition for my forthcoming releases.
Live For Live Music: I love how there’s so many different artists on there for a sweet and spicy funky collab release. Talking about many artists, you make your Denver debut alongside Maddy O’Neal and The New Deal in 10 days, which is super exciting. What do you hope to bring to your first Denver show?
Tuholski: Man, just a lot of energy and I hope that people come to dance because I’m going to be playing a lot of the new stuff off the album. I’m going to wrap up hopefully two or three tracks here that I can try to fit into my set that haven’t been released yet as well. I’m just really excited to be in a new city, far away from home. This will be my first show far away from Atlanta and it’s super awesome that it gets to be in Denver. This will be my first time playing there, and playing at Cervantes’ too. Denver has been one of my biggest online listening audiences.
Live For Live Music: The show is stacked, it’s gonna be an awesome night! You also just recently announced your debut at this year’s Electric Forest.
Tuholski: Yeah, I’m surprised and stoked. When my manager and booking agent called me to tell me about it I was pretty shocked I guess you could say, because a lot of artists have been playing longer than me and want to make that happen. And a lot of artists deserve that slot too, because it’s just such a nice, big festival and it’s really competitive to be on the lineup. But I’m stoked to meet some more Pure Colors fans at the Forest.
Live For Live Music: Electric Forest is ready for some Pure Colors treatment. With all this new music coming out from you, can we see you at some more shows around the country?
Tuholski: Yeah for sure. 2020 is already shaping up to be much more traveling than I did in 2019. I’m going to a few more cities and stops and hopefully even more than that. I am signed with a booking agency now and they’ve been doing great work just trying to get me at more shows. Touring is definitely a potential for this year if not just playing a bunch more individual shows out of Atlanta, GA.
Tickets to Maddy O’Neal, The New Deal, Pure Colors, Nobide, RECESS, and Ben Silver on January 18th can be found here.