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‘Willy Wonka’ music

BY REBECCA KOONS | FEBRUARY 04, 2010 7:30 AM

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mp3 samples: Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy

"Killer in Trees"

"Start Over"

Combine the colorful magic of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with indie-rock music, and you have the basis for what is now Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy.

Dilley came up with the band’s concept after working on his senior Honors project as a UI studio-arts major. He created what he calls an “alternate soundtrack” to the classic ’70s film, and when it came time to look for a name for his formal act, the project’s title “Color Pharmacy” stuck.

The Minneapolis-based trio will display its audio-visual specialties at the Blue Moose Tap House, 211 Iowa Ave., at 9 p.m. Friday. The band released its most recent EP, Detour, in September 2009.

After moving to the Minnesota metropolis, Dilley performed his project as a solo gig until he signed with Covalent Records. Eventually, he was able to put on shows with other musicians in the area, leading to the current Color Pharmacy lineup, which consists of bassist Matt O’Brien and drummer/vocalist Jake Quam. Dilley provides vocals and plays guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, piano, and drums.

Over time, the band’s creative process became more of a collaborative effort. O’Brien likes to consider the sound and influence of the Color Pharmacy “a mix of Syd Barrett meets Neutral Milk Hotel.” The project enlists the efforts of a “revolving door” of musicians, artists, and filmmakers.

“Many times, Jake brings a song to the band,” O’Brien said. “I and [Quam] take it on for a little while, then we all help form it into what it will be on the record.”

The set list of Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy has taken on the visual concept of Dilley’s original project, using it in every show. The music following the Willy Wonka project was set to the 1956 short film “The Red Balloon.”

Most of the band’s visuals, aside from films, are of its own creation and are used to enchance the music. The band manages to incorporate the audience into the stage production by having live video of the crowd mixed in with video produced prior to the performance. O’Brien said the interaction between the band and the crowd has a great effect on the show’s energy.

“Hopefully, they feel some kind of kinship to the music,” Dilley said. “We keep our shows as authentic as possible. We are who we are.”

Jake Dilley and the Color Pharmacy, while successful in its current setup, has lofty goals for the future. The next big project to come from the band is a 3D IMAX concert in which the band will perform in front of a film of its own devising.

The project is more than two years in the making; it was inspired by Dilley’s work at a cinema in Minneapolis. When a 3D movie came through, it began his exploration of the art form. Dilley found that, given his limited resources, he could still create 3D visuals fit for red-and-blue glasses. While the album for the film, titled T.R.I.P.S., is mostly complete, production on the visual aspect will start in the spring, with an anticipated fall release date.

“Ultimately, we’re very interested in pushing the envelope in what a show means,” Dilley said.


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