God, life in Britain is grey right now.
Gallows are on the money with their new album; the nation is thoroughly monochrome, with the only dissent coming from, of all people, the Conservatives. The good ship indie is taking on water, with only overblown stadium acts and overhyped newcomers to take control. Golden Silvers have been talking big recently, telling anyone who’ll listen that music has to change and they’re going to be the ones to change it.
Recently released album ‘True Romance’ is certainly different. A poppy blend of electro, psychedelia, folk and whatever else you care to mention, it has appeared just in time for the spring sun to shine through some foreboding clouds.
ClashMusic meets lead singer Gwilym Gold to find out more…
Is the band from London originally?
Yeah we’re all from London. I’ve known Alexis Nunez, our drummer, since we were kids, really, and we’ve always done stuff together even when we were little. So when I first started songs it made sense that he would be the drummer and then I knew Ben Moorhouse from playing Tuesday night jams at The Asylum, and asked him if he was up for playing bass. So that was it.
One listen to the album is enough to tell us you’ve got a really wide range of influences…
Well, we just listen to what we like. It’s just such a broad range of things, I don’t think there’s one thing I could play that would define it, as there’s just all sorts of different things. From The Beach Boys to Radiohead, Outkast or Bob Dylan… just different things.
You’ve made claims in the past that Golden Silvers are a blast against a grey indie scene – do you really see it that way?
Yeah, in a way… Hopefully. We kind of get automatically classed as an indie band, just because it’s three guys and we’re on an independent label. We really want to inject some life into that scene; it’s pretty deadm or in the doldrums at least.
You run a club night as well as play in the band, right?
We run a club night at a place called The Macbeth in Hoxton, called Bronze Club, which happens every month. We kind of started that because when we were first starting out we wanted some gigs, and we actually knew the people who ran the place as they ran The Asylum. So instead of us doing gigs with shitty promoters who don’t really do anything, we would just run our own night. That way we could do all sides of it: get other bands on, design the flyers, so the whole thing is combined into one and we can do it in our own style.
Do you DJ at the club as well?
Yeah, when we’re not playing – if we don’t play we normally DJ. I’ll play some tunes as well. I tend to play quite a lot of hip-hop stuff, really, as well as a bit of funk.
How does your increasing workload affect your Bronze Club responsibilities?
We’re trying to keep it going, but things are getting pretty hectic. We’re due to play at the May one; I think after that we might not always play it, but we’re trying to get on bands we really like and make it a great night.
Are you finding that you’ve managed to attract like-minded bands to the club?
Yeah I think so, totally. I think because we only put on bands that we really like – Micachu and so on – new bands are quite keen to do it as they view us a being like-minded souls.
Plenty of your music lends itself to a good dance…
I think some of it definitely is dance-friendly. Sometimes we just jam, and carry things forwards. When I say we jam, I don’t mean like a jazzy jam; more like people were dancing and we would have to play. For me it’s not an overriding thing, it’s more about the songs. But definitely some of it has a dance element to it.
The first time many people heard of you was after you won the Glastonbury New Talent competition last year. Presumably that’s been invaluable in getting this far?
It really helped us a lot. We got to play at Glastonbury, obviously, but a lot of the people who organised it have been really supportive of us since. Huw Stephens was involved, and then he started playing us on the radio. Apparently Michael Eavis actually came to see us at another festival afterwards, but as it turned out we’d cancelled. But someone who was there told me he’d come to see us. But everyone who was involved has been really supportive.
How distracting, though, was that sudden blast of hype?
I try and ignore things like that. It’s good from the point of view that more people come to your shows, but I try to blank out a lot of it. I think that some people just get things wrong when they write about us, and it does get a bit annoying. I try to ignore it, but if people are trying to help us and support us then we can’t be too down on that.
Soon enough you released a single through Young & Lost. How did that come about?
We knew the Young And Lost girls from around town, as we’d done a lot of shows at their night. I even knew them before we started this group, and when we started they just said: “Look, do you want to do something with us?”
That relationship has led to a bigger one, with XL, for the album. Is the label a great help to you in expanding your audience?
It kind of is and it kind of isn’t. Being with XL is great. I mean, they’re a great label with a brilliant roster. The thing that stays the same, though, is that we still do everything independently; so we still stay in control of a lot of the stuff that we do. Some of things we obviously can’t do, but a most of it is still done with the same sort of ethic. But with XL we just get a lot more backing.
Your new single ‘True Romance’ is one of the first fruits of this relationship. It’s got a real ‘80s vibe to it – a salute to that era?
It kind of wasn’t, to be honest. A lot of people pick up on that, and I suppose it’s because we’ve got that synth line which is kind of ‘80s and the video has a certain visual element to it. But it wasn’t really meant to have an ‘80s sound; it was almost more like a talking blues spoken-word thing, then we just put the music over the top. People seem to pick up on the ‘80s thing, and while it wasn’t intentional it’s alright.
Where does the reference to Art Tatum come from in the song’s lyrics?
When I was writing the song, the original version was like a New Year’s resolution sort of thing. It went on for like pages and pages, but then I left it. But when I came back to it, it became more like a story, and then it came around back to that resolution thing. It just so happened that I was thinking about swing and had a read a piece in a newspaper on Art Tatum, so I just sort of put him in there. But I’m a big fan of a lot of old jazz stuff.
There’s a great Micachu remix of the single – you’re friends, right?
We’ve been friends with Mica (Levi, Micachu singer/songwriter) for a while now actually. She’s played our Bronze Club night quite a few times – I think one of the first gigs she did with her band The Shapes was at the Bronze Club, actually. When we wanted remixes done it was quite an obvious choice, so we went for Mica. We’re really big fans of her, we really like her so it was great that she could do it.
How do you react in general to people remixing your material?
I really like it, to be honest. It’s fun and really interesting. It’s interesting to see what people do with it. I actually did a version of one of our songs, ‘Train For A Brain’, with Mica; we did it together. Then she sort of did four or five different remixes of it and they were all completely different. So I really like it, yeah.
You mentioned the video for ‘True Romance’. It looks like a lot of fun was had, but is that the case?
It was great! Everyone just turned up on the day. We put a message out on our MySpace and then all the girls turned up. A lot of them were our friends and then some of them we just people who turned up. It was a really good vibe, you know, we just got into it. We did the whole thing in just one day and it was really fun.
The album’s just recently come out. What hopes have you got for it?
It’ll probably storm the hit parade in the first week, breaking all records… Nah, that won’t happen. The thing these days is that you get a lot of bands that are really overhyped, pushed into people’s faces, but people can get into us if they like the album. It just sort of grows and people like it, the whole thing’s quite organic. I’m kind of looking forward to doing a second album already.
Are plans already taking shape?
Well we’ve written quite a few songs for it, and we’re still writing a few more now. But I still haven’t actually arranged it yet, but we’re all itching to get out there and carry on.
Will you be previewing any new material soon?
We were doing mainly stuff from the album, and we’ll be playing that for the next couple of months. When we come off the tour we’ll begin rehearsing the new stuff.
You’ve got a series of dates forthcoming with Florence And The Machine.
I know her quite well. Years back I played piano for her when she was singing at a funeral. We just did that. I’ve known her for ages and now she’s started doing really well. We’ve actually done some backing vocals on her album, and we’ve done a few little collaborations here and there. So it should be really good, I’m really looking forward to it.
Are you planning a few guest spots on the tour?
You never know, but I haven’t got it planned. I’d been thinking about that actually.
It’s festival season now, too – are you planning a return to Glastonbury?
Yeah, we’re playing Glastonbury. I think we’re playing on the Park Stage, actually. We’re going to be doing quite a few festivals this year – they’ve all started coming in, like Bestival, Latitude and so on. Just doing those. I’m really looking forward to it, as this will be the first time I’ve been able to go around loads of festivals.
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Golden Silvers’ ‘True Romance’ album is out now on XL. Find the band on MySpace HERE. May/June live dates as follows…
9 Liverpool Academy
10 Stoke Sugarmill
14 Paris Point Ephemere
15 London The Macbeth (Bronze Club)
22 Birmingham Academy w/ Florence and the Machine
27+28 London Bloomsbury Ballroom w/ Florence and the Machine
31 Glasgow Oran Mor w/ Florence and the Machine
1 Manchester St Phillips w/ Florence and the Machine
2 Brighton Concorde 2 w/ Florence and the Machine
7 Middlesborough Music Live, Town Hall Stage
Photo: Elsiha Smith-Leverock