Young guitar wizard Kolya Chan chats to the Sentinel about the formative efforts of his new band, Large Mirage. Story by Corin Shearston, Youth Editor.
In a niche development for modern Sydney rock, Large Mirage are a new young male trio who cite their main influences as The Who, Ten Years After, and Santana. They recently released their debut single ‘Going Insane’ on the 30th of October, prior to the release of its upcoming, accompanying film clip, which was filmed in a large paddock near the Kedumba River in Katoomba. Defining the scope of the project, vocalist/guitarist Kolya Chan states, “It’s all about what is relevant, and that’s what we want to be.”
Previously described as somewhat of a lead guitar prodigy by his former bandmate, drummer Tubby Wadsworth (Massappeal, Killing Time, Candy Harlots), Kolya wants the songs of Large Mirage to stay firmly rooted in the now, with inspiration coming from a range of retro rock influences. The trio is completed by bassist Blake Rochester and drummer Daniel Croft, the latest addition to the band.
With Kolya based in Parramatta and Blake based in the Hawkesbury, the duo were previously able to congregate at Windsor’s Studio Bleus to record the single, with Glenbrook musician Bailey Brown – drummer for Katoomba funk act Safire Palms. However, time commitments resulted in Bailey not being able to join the band, so the group found Daniel, who lives in Castle Hill.
Kolya is deeply appreciative of Bailey’s passionate efforts. His ability for recording a variety of dizzyingly rapid fills has not been understated, and the track sizzles with retro crunch and sonic punch as recorded at Studio Bleus. Speaking great praise for studio owner David Bleus, Kolya remarks, “[he’s] probably the nicest guy I’ve met in the industry [so far]…he’s a really top bloke and it’s a good rehearsal studio as well.”
With Large Mirage now marking their recording debut with ‘Going Insane’, it’s fitting that the music and lyrics were written by Kolya in the days of his former band, K.T.B Project. While involved in this earlier trio, completed by Tubby and lead vocalist/guitarist Ben Sorenson, Kolya explains that the experience was a “foot-in-the-door” for his career.
On October 12th, 2018, the trio performed an original song live in the Radio Blue Mountains studio in Katoomba, on a popular show called Retro Rehash. One day later, K.T.B Project performed at Lithgow’s Resilience Festival – a mental health/suicide awareness fundraiser headlined by Tonight Alive, with The Chats in attendance. Although now emerging as a superb lead guitarist with Large Mirage, to deliver some blistering solos on ‘Going Insane’, Kolya’s previous bass playing was highly valued in the project.
Returning to October 2020, ‘Going Insane’ will be released in the next few weeks and was filmed on a Super 8 camera by Katoomba lensman Doran Brewer (@foreignfilm_ on Instagram). As is the case for many young bands, the overall filming process for the clip was improvisational and low-budget, despite the use of vintage film. After transporting their guitars, drums, and two large amps outdoors through dry grassland to a tranquil location by the Kedumba river, Kolya remarks that the Blue Mountains location was “a pretty cool spot to put the band”.
Furthermore, the idyllic location directly contrasts to the hard-hitting rock edge of the song. Kolya explains that the topic of the single is open to debate. “I find myself trying to write stuff that people can latch onto”, he explains. Focusing on their current position in the local rock scene, Kolya mentions that Large Mirage are currently rehearsing to piece a number of songs together, for the ambition of performing their first live show. Keep an eye on these guys.