Goldroom will be making his way back to D.C. this Thursday as part of an extra special All Things Gold one-off. We had a chance to chat with the L.A. producer about songwriting, making the transition to a live band and, of course, his spirit animal. Check it out after the jump and make sure to grab tickets to this Thursday’s show with Tesla Boy (also live) below.
STREAM: Goldroom – “Embrace”
First of all, no I don’t still write for Binary unfortunately. I loved doing it, and still sort of consider myself a blogger at heart. I have a wonderful new editor Pete that runs the site now.
As for what I think about when I’m writing music. ABSOLUTELY I’m always trying to root my songs with a genuine emotional core. I believe that really great songs are ones that would have worked 50 years ago or 50 years from now. My belief is definitely that the way you achieve that is 100% through songwriting. Arrangement, lyrics, and melody are everything. I love producing those things into an interesting place, but in the end the production is all window dressing.
In general, how has your experience running a label influenced your career as a musician?
I think it’s just made me aware of some things to watch out for. I don’t have any sort of magical formula or anything like that. Binary isn’t exactly Def Jam, so when I started self releasing Goldroom stuff, I had some ideas, and some experience, but there wasn’t any special door that was open. I think perhaps the biggest advantage I had was just that I don’t feel any need to sign with a label until the time is right. I’m very happy and comfortable owning all of my music and continuing to put it out on my own terms.
It seems like you took a bit of a risk in turning Goldroom into a live show with a full band. Recreating any type of electronic music live in a way that’s sharp and engaging is already a challenge, but the particular sort of balearic, vaguely tropical dreamwave sound I identify Goldroom with is something I’d never really seen performed live (though I guess Poolside is maybe in a similar orbit). What were some of the main challenges you faced in putting together the live show? How do you feel about the way it turned out?
I’m very happy with our show. The response has been amazing and I’m already itching to get back on the road with the band! I think I always believed in the music, especially as a live vehicle. Even though our music is often described as ‘chill’, I think there are lots of big emotional moments to work through. We try and climb a mountain together with the audience. The top of the mountain may not be as intense as a Skrillex show, but since we took the trip from the bottom together, its still a pretty big moment when we get there.
Plus I think there’s a lot to be said for groove. People love to dance, and most dance music these days has very little to do with dancing at all. Our goal is to come to your town and put on the best beach party you’ve never been to.
“Fifteen” seems like it was a breakthrough song for Goldroom. Like some of the best pop, it’s a track that’s catchy and immediately accessible, while still managing to resonate on a deeper level and “be about something,” if that makes sense. Can you say a bit about how that song came together and what sort of feeling you were trying to capture when you wrote and recorded it?
I wrote and recorded that song pretty much in one evening. At the time I was playing with making songs that were far outside of the 125bpm electro that i was hearing a lot. I just wanted to try and write a balad to be honest. I was thinking a lot about being young, and especially the feelings you get when you start spending time with girls at that age. Its amazing how big and important everything feels. Fifteen is really all about trying to feel that way again. Its so easy to be jaded by the time you’ve grown up a little bit. I feel like a lot of my life and music is spent trying my best to still feel like I did when I was 15 or 16.
What is Goldroom listening to these days?
My most played playlist right now is dominated by the new Classixx LP, about half of the Daft Punk record, the Disclosure LP, Rhye… Most of the time I’m listening to older stuff though. Dancehall records, some of Bob Dylan’s weirder stuff, Ryan Adams early work. Every day is different.
What’s your spirit animal?
It’s an albatross.