Music for your mind’s eye. 


With songs that play like home movies, Colour Film is the stage name of Matthew de Zoete (pronounced "duh-ZOO-tuh").  Mixing a storyteller's eye for detail with a knack for melody, he takes snapshots of everyday life to illuminate the underlying threads.  

Matthew's fondness for preserving unique moments has been a foundational part of his music since he arrived on the Canadian scene in 2006, first under his own name and then as Colour Film since 2016.  The Hamilton, Ontario native’s songwriting has been widely praised for its atmospheric blend of folk and pop, with his lyrics capturing those emotions that, once experienced, remain in our consciousness to help guide us through our lives.

That approach has taken on a deeper meaning with the new Colour Film album, Half An Hour, recorded just prior to the pandemic in January 2020, and delayed following an injury de Zoete suffered that almost derailed his music career completely.  Now having partially recovered, de Zoete is ready to share Half An Hour, and revisit a time that already feels like another life.

Half An Hour was produced by de Zoete’s longtime collaborator Les Cooper, and features stellar contributions from vocalist Kori Pop—who accompanies de Zoete on all tracks— and a backing band of Cooper, Christine Bougie, and Dan Rodrigues.  De Zoete explains, “We rehearsed on a Tuesday, and then over the next three days the songs were recorded live off the floor with everyone in one room. Kori and I sang our vocals live together as we were tracking the songs, and I think it shows.  It was an intense experience, knowing I had to deliver on voice and guitar in that environment, but it was also liberating knowing the only overdubs would be a few flourishes to the keeper takes.”

The intimacy within the studio is embedded on each of Half An Hour’s 10 songs, allowing de Zoete to, on one hand, delve into his personal dark corners, as on “Saturday Night Somewhere Else,” and on the other hand use his powers of observation to express striking moments of clarity, as on “I Remember It Exactly.”  He says, “When writing, I try to find a space between letting a song come to me and working to track it down. Call it being actively open or receptive with a focus.  It doesn't always work, but I think it did with this batch of songs. I wouldn’t say there is any explicit theme, other than an honest exploration of life—the details on the surface and the larger currents below.”

Exploring everyday life is something de Zoete has learned from his primary songwriting heroes, from Ray Davies and Randy Newman to more contemporary artists like Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, whose unfettered style played a big part in shaping the sound of Half An Hour.  That’s especially evident on the title track, a snapshot of a star-crossed small-town romance.

“That song came out of a moment when I noticed two young people in a gravel parking lot at a rural crossroads deep in southern Ontario.  Other than their cars, the lot was empty.  They were locked in an embrace—just hugging—as I drove by, and they hadn't budged 30 minutes later when I was headed home from the errand I'd done.  They stuck with me, and the song was born without a fuss.”


There may not be many other more poignant images than that to encapsulate the strength we’ve all needed to endure the past four years.  But for Matthew de Zoete, Half An Hour now stands as his own testament to overcoming what life has thrown at him.  Expect more such moments to come.  “My music continues to be a work in progress,” he says.  “I'm further along than I've been before and not as far as I hope to get.  I think I've grown as someone who writes and sings songs in an effort to connect with other people.  Working with Kori has broadened my experience of the songs.  The music and words expand and resonate more deeply when I sing with her.  I think it's my best work yet.”