gold-bears. interview #44

When I first listened to Gold-Bears I had no information about the band. With fuzzy guitars, heartfelt lyrics and a lo-fi feeling, I immediately placed their music somewhere between the late 80's and early 90's. Well, maybe the fact that the song I was listening is called 'Record Store' also helped.
But this 4 piece band coming from Atlanta is quite new and released their debut album 'Are You Falling In Love?' last month via Slumberland Records. I can't think of a better label to release them, since their music resembles a lot of the seminal bands Slumberland released during its first years.
Maybe comparisons with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are almost inevitable, but Gold-Bears' music walks into a rawer path; an early 90's indie rock path that's nostalgic of punk and C86 aesthetic.
The album is a shimmering tale about love and 'Are You Falling In Love?' - as you'll read on our interview, works more as a self referential, metalinguistic question than anything else.
'Record Store' (album opener and first single) is definitely the song that soon will have kids shouting along in big festivals across the world.
Enjoy Gold-Bears, pretty sure you will fall in love (sorry, I had to make this crappy joke).
  Gold-Bears - Record Store by Slumberland Records

Our interview is with Jeremy, Erich and Santiago. We talked about how it all started... recording sessions after busy workdays... proud DIY sense... bits and pieces of sound coming from all over and more.

01. Why Gold-Bears? When and how it became a musical project?
Erich: Jeremy thought Gold-Bears would be a good name for a band for a long time and they really are the best candy. The project happened because of Myspace, a listed Plastic Mastery Influence, and borrowing half of a band called Paper Knives.
Santiago: I was brought in later. Erich and I were old friends from college, where we worked together at an on-campus music venue running sound.
Erich: Yeah I always wanted to be in a band with Santi and Gold-Bears was in need of his musical touch. I fell in love with indie music and recording at that said music venue btw. It was called Under the Couch, a prominent member of the indie touring circuit in the late 90s, early 2000s. Changed my life.

02. If you had to materialize your music into a planet or landscape, how it would look like?
Santiago: Haha. I would say probably a cave with giant crystals. Shimmery and sparkly, but also rocky and rough... and a cave because it can be pretty dark if you think about it.
Jeremy: A lighthouse off the coast of California.

03. How was the recording of the album? And is the title somehow self referring due to the fact that most of the songs are about love or is it more like a question to the listener?
Erich: We'll leave that up for interpretation. Think of it this way - if you look too far into something, things seem way more complex than they really are.  What is love to you?
Santiago: The recording of the album took place at Erich's house over the fall/winter of 2010. It was a really good way for us to poke around with different sounds and instruments without pressure. It was also good because we all have pretty busy day-jobs, so we could dedicate a few hours here and there and fit recording in with our busy schedules.
The title was not really meant to be a question for the listener, but it seems like every reviewer has taken it to mean that, because they all have answered the question! Haha. The title is self-referential in that it is taken from track 4, which is really a turning point in the love story narrative told throughout the album.
Jeremy: It's not a question at all. There's just a particular theme throughout the record that we thought fit with that title and the title track.  We spent a lot of time on this record. Probably about 6 good months. We are particularly proud of the way it sounds and the fact that we didn't use a "professional" studio.

04. The main difference I feel from the Tally 7’’ to the album is that the sound evolved into something cleaner, still distorted but allowing other instruments to breathe and appear more clearly… What were your thoughts for this album? Were you just trying to have some fun while making it or there was the intention of saying something more specific?
Erich: In my experience recording entire albums outside of a studio can be daunting & unweildy. For the 7"s we were able to come up with a plan which would evolve into themes and we could attempt to execute them with decent control. Are You Falling In Love? turned into more of a subconcious effort. We had a lot of huge things going on in our lives during recording which seeped into the album. We also had a limited time frame, which wasn't the case on the 7"s. In the end we gave it our best to rope it in, like a wild horse that didn't want to be tamed. Looking back on, it was like a book that wrote itself and we were merely the editors.

05. I’ve read on This Is Fake DIY that the album was recorded in pieces with different contributors all over the world sending bits and pieces… how long it took to record the album and get it finished? And how the collaborations happened? You’d send files and let people do whatever they wanted or…
Erich: It was a bit of a patchwork created over a span of time. Kristine Capua of Very Truly Yours did some of the backing vocal tracks from Chicago. Scott from the Summer Cats recorded farfisa from his home in Australia. Some of the drum tracks were recorded by our former drummer Dave Fortner before he moved to Panama in mid-2010. Though the bulk of the album was recorded at the studio at my house in Atlanta in late November. Parts were added at Jeremy's house while I was away either living in my car up in the north GA mountains or in Singapore.

06. When did Slumberland got involved? And what was the influence the label had on the album?
Are You Falling In Love?
buy it
Erich: Slumberland got invovled right after we started recording. We will never know what the album would have been like had Slumberland not stepped in. All the sudden I was thinking about how beautiful past Slumberland releases were, like Rocketship's "A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness". We went from carefree to a real deadline of 3 months & pressure from ourselves to produce something worthy of Slumberland's greatness. We got extremely lucky and got onto Slumberland in a very unconventional way. Overall though we were giddy.

07. Are you afraid of the buzz around your music? And what can we expect next? Touring, videos, promotion…?
Santiago: There's buzz?
Erich: I am afraid of the buzz in our music. We have some more videos in the works & a split on the way.
Santiago: Haha yeah! All the buzzing in the title track makes me feel like there's a swarm of bees chasing me! That makes me pretty afraid... haha.
Jeremy: I am afraid of any buzz around our music. Fortunately, this won't be an issue.

08. Perfect place and time to hear your music.
Santiago: I tend to enjoy listening to music more when I'm driving. When we were putting the finishing touches on the album, I would always burn a CD and take it on a drive to see how I was feeling about it. If a rock album has you driving faster and beating on your steering wheel like it's a drum, that's a pretty good sign.

09. If I say ‘beach and rock’n’roll’ what music video comes to your mind?
Erich: Uhh Bow wow wow - I want candy because it has a beach in it..

Santiago: Yeah... umm.. "Santa Monica" by Everclear? That has a beach too if I remember correctly...

Jeremy: Love is All's Wishing Well video.

10. You’re from Atlanta… any band that you think the world should know?
Santiago: Out of Atlanta, I would say the world needs to hear All the Saints. Their debut album "Fire on Corridor X" came out a couple years ago and it's one of my favorite albums from anyone, not just Atlanta bands.
Erich: If you're not listening to The Coathangers yet, you're missing out. Some older fav's - the Liverhearts & the Orphins.
Jeremy: Small Reactions and Coathangers are currently the best bands in Atlanta.

11. Anything else you feel like saying?
Erich: Get off the internet and go outside more.
Jeremy: Do something fun for once.
Santiago: Homemade photobooths are a lot of work, but well worth the effort.


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