INTERVIEW: GOLD CLASS
Written by Fin Marx
From the jarring guitars of New Lovers to the deep vocals of Big White and Flowertruck, Australia’s New Wave/Post Punk revival is proving to be a force to be reckoned with in alternative music. Despite being almost ignored by Triple J and the standard musical avenues in Australia, these eighties reminiscent bands are dedicated and killing it.Among the most established is Gold Class, who after their 2015 debut EP ‘It’s You’, found critical acclaim in Europe and a cult following at home in Australia. After two years of touring, Gold Class is about to release their second album (produced by The Drones’ Gareth Liddiard) and embark on an Australian tour. We caught up with frontman Adam Curley to discuss origins, recording and the future!
Hey Adam, thanks for speaking with us today!
No worries man, thank you.
So, to get started, want to give us some background on who Gold Class is as a band?
Sure! Um… I guess we’ve been going for about three and a half years or so now? Haha, I guess it started when Evan, John, and I were working in a bar down here called the Old Bar, which is how we met each other. We maybe knew each other for six months to a year before Evan asked me if I wanted to listen to a bunch of guitar ideas he’d been playing around with, and if I wanted to write some words to it. We were both studying creative writing at the time so we were talking a lot about writing and books and stuff so it didn't seem to weird an idea for him to give me some guitar stuff for me to write to. Then I really liked the music he was writing and we had a couple of little jams with the two of us, but realised the way we wanted to write was to get people together to write there own parts and ideas. It was Evan who got John, Mark and I in a room together. We were really just seeing if we wanted to work together and see how it went.
So that's how it happened! I think we wrote maybe two songs? Then wrote the ten songs for the first record.
And now you guys are touring Europe!
Hahaha, yeah, my voice is still a bit rough from touring, so I apologise if it’s a bit hard do understand.
Hahah no worries, as long as you’ve got it back by Black Bear, no worries.
Hahahaha. Yeah Europe is cool. It’s a nice place to tour, everyone looks after you very well.
Any highlights in particular that you’d like to talk about?
Yeah! It was a really nice tour this last one, the first time we went over there, which was just after South By South West last year, was much more playing DIY spaces and shows in random places, which is a nice way to do it, you meet people and you sleep on people floors and its a very specific way of touring I guess. But this last one was a cool mix of our own shows and festivals and stuff so it was pretty nice to mix it up. Not always feeling responsible to get people to shows in places you've never been before. I don't know, turning up to somewhere like Bristol or Paris and having been there maybe once before and getting a crowd of people who know the record and are excited to see you is really nice.
That sounds amazing.
Yeah its genuinely a really nice feeling, something I didn't think would happen so quickly. I mean in some ways it was quickly but in other ways it was a bit of a chance and bit of a slog going over there. We did get to end up in Primavera which was our luxurious way of ending the tour.
I’m sure. Now GRAIN and you guys actually have a mutual friend named Gareth Liddiard?
Yeah, he produced the new record with you. What was is like working with such an iconic Australian music character?
It was really, really good to have him as a presence in the studio and as someone to bounce ideas off, everyone in the band respects him and what he's done a lot. He had just produced his record, but we didn’t know he was producing when we got him on board, so we thought we were kind of taking a risk on him, only knowing the last Drones record with his involvement sounded full of ideas and really upfront.
Totally, ‘Feeling Kinda Free’ is a production masterpiece.
Yeah it’s crazy, I think his interest in production is really about pushing things to be old and up front and pieced together, there’s all these intertwining things going on with it. So yeah, it was all about taking a risk with him and seeing were it went and I really enjoyed having him in the studio. He’s just one of those weird geniuses in every aspect of music and how it works together. I mean you can ask him about pedals or vocals or drums and he’s got thoughts about all of it and knows how to get in and make things sound cool. It was really nice.
So was changing up the production something you aimed to do with the new record? ‘It’s You’ is obviously a great piece but the production is very straightforward.
Yeah, that was the idea. To be less straightforward. I think we all knew we could get a rock producer who's work we knew and it would sound like a rock album, but no one was really interested in doing that. I like that fact that the first album was recorded in four days to tape and that’s what it is, but I think that we wanted to push things a little more and have someone in the studio who would have ideas about recording things, rather than just record the band live. Someone who wanted to explore sounds and maybe have a few ideas on how to make things sound weird and get different tones out of every song so it didn’t sound like a bunch of songs recorded together in a room. Every song was getting attention. I guess the whole idea is that it still sounds like us live, I mean its not some crazy production experiment.
It sounds like you live, but in a better venue.
Hahaha yeah, well weirdly enough with that first record we recorded a year after being together and it very quickly became like a document of what the band was like a year in. The band wasn’t really like that six months later, things changed really fast as far as how we sounded live and where we were playing, so it didn't really make sense to do another record in that way.
Well that’s the traditional way of doing records isn’t it? So is there a Gold Class, The Drones, Tropical Fuckstorm collaboration or show on the way?
Uh, well some of it was recorded at Tropical (Tropical Fuckstorm Studios). Evan and I went out there to add some extra bits and pieces to the new album which was really nice. We got to hang out with Gaz (Liddiard) and Fi (Kitschin) for a few days and drink red wine and fuck around with synths and guitars and stuff. But he’s a busy man, he’s already got another band that's recording at the moment. He’s producing other stuff as well, he just did the Palm Springs record, it might be hard to pin him down hahaha.
So we’ve spoken about the production, was the writing process similar to that of the first record? Can we expect to hear the same Fugazi/Radio Birdman influences?
Hahaha, that’s cool. Nobody’s ever given us Radio Birdman. The writing was different, yeah, that first record we just wrote week to week. I suppose it was a similar process in the sense that everyone was responsible for their own parts and we wrote it all together, like none of it was written outside of each others company. This time around it was more about getting together for longer periods of time, we felt that writing week to week was challenging. You know, everyone’s busy and you get into a rehearsal space and you have to immediately get into that mindset of writing and coming up with new ideas. I think we knew that we wanted to go away for a bit or just have larger blocks of time of writing so that we could feel more comfortable and come up with different ideas and different ways of writing songs. So, we went to the country for a week towards the end of last year and wrote, that was good for coming up with different grooves. We didn’t want the record to be all hard and fast, we wanted a few different ideas and tones in there and different tempos. It was nice to go away and play around with stuff. In that sense, it felt different because with the first record we weren't thinking about it like an album, we were just writing songs so we could play shows, but with this one we were definitely thinking more about how the songs work together and how the album will sound tonally.
More ‘Shingles’, less ‘Bite Down’?
Hahaha, oh I don’t know? I don’t think there’s any straight piano but there’s definitely some in the background. What song was it on? I can’t remember, I guess it doesn’t matter because you haven't heard the album yet hahaha. Gaz did this crazy thing where we put the amp on top of the piano and played the song back, so that what is recorded on the piano is actually just recorded from the strings inside the piano.
Yeah, because like harmonically the piano replicates the amp, and we recorded what was inside the piano.
That must sound incredible!
The latest single ‘Twist in the Dark’ was received really well around the wicket and even remixed by the good people over at Friendships, so there’s a lot of hype for the release. How far away is the record?
Not too far! I think like August is the plan? So a couple of months away. I think there’ll be another song in a month or so. We probably put out ‘Twist’ slightly earlier than most bands would leading up to a record but that’s because we were going to Europe and wanted something new out. It doesn’t make any difference to be honest hahaha. But yeah, I’m looking forward to the whole album coming out, we’re already playing the songs so it will be nice once people have heard them.
Well we’re all very excited. One more question for you Adam- is your life still a gun?
Hahahahaha, Uhh… It was never a gun, hahaha. I don’t know, you can read into that song however you want hahahaha. Is your life still a gun?
Always. Well thank you again for speaking with us, looking forward to seeing you at Black Bear on the first!
Thanks man! I’ll see you there!
// GOLD CLASS //