21 February 2011

Golden Gardens Answers 5

After listening to Golden Gardens’ EP “Somnambulist” (link), I immediately thought of the heydays of when then nascent bands like Cranes and Curve were coming into their own. And as any release that intrigues me, the process of setting up an interview was to follow. Let me just say that after Aubrey Rachel Violet Bramble mentioned The Cure, Nabokov, Marie Antionette, and Salvador Dali in one response, I think I may have fallen in love! With that said, I would like to thank Aubrey and Gregg (Alexander Joseph Neville) for taking the time, coordinating responses from two coasts, and Answering 5.

(Golden Gardens / Photographer Ariana Dominguez)

1. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

[Aubrey] Musically, my biggest influences are Cranes, Cocteau Twins, Curve, Max Richter, The Innocence Mission, The Sundays, Bauhaus, The Cure, Julee Cruise, Nancy Sinatra and classic Bollywood singers like Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. Other trinkets that inspire and excite me are the films of Matthew Barney, David Lynch, Fritz Lang and Maya Deren; fairy tales, Greek mythology, ancient haiku, and books by Murakami, Nabokov and Raymond Buckland; art nouveau, art deco, crystal vibrations, Marie Antoinette, silent film sirens, unicorns, Salvador Dali, Native American spiritualism and mermaids.

[Gregg] Musically, I would say The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Joy Division, Roy Orbison, Bauhaus, Roxy Music, Tom Waits. I'm inspired by surrealism in art and literature, comics especially those created by Alan Moore, Grant Morrison (who changed and in many ways saved my life), Warren Ellis, Charles Burns, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, weird horror, ghost stories. David Lynch is a major influence on my creative output, Werner Herzog, Kenneth Anger. Night.

2. Who is Golden Gardens? And is that rumor of being bicoastal true? (If so, how does that work?)

[Aubrey] Golden Gardens is Gregg Alexander Joseph Neville and Aubrey Rachel Violet Bramble. Gregg is the musical alchemist, weaving lush tapestries of sparkling sounds; I am the medium, conjuring secret messages from other worlds.

[Gregg] Currently we are located on opposite coasts of America. Aubrey is located in Seattle and I am in Tampa, Florida. Both are coastal towns - which in its own way I feel is important for Golden Gardens. I'm currently in school here, but I will be making it to Seattle when I can for shows.

[Aubrey] We develop our songs by sending ideas back and forth to one another (we each have DIY home recording studios) and then building complete tracks from there. Gregg sends me a riff, I add a little something, he fleshes out additional instrumentation, and I add some more vocal parts and so on until we have a finished song. It's an insanely enjoyable process, creatively.

3. You have intriguingly described yourselves as “messages of alchemy and wisdom.” Could you expand on what you meant by that?

[Aubrey] Our goal is to seduce our audience with this magickal sound, invoking a trance-like state and elevating their spirits to a heightened level of mystical awareness. What we transmit is transcendent and should therefore have an alchemical effect on the mind and soul, inspiring inner knowledge and calm reflection.

(Golden Gardens / Photographer Ariana Dominguez)

4. As a nascent independent band, what challenges are you faced with and how are you overcoming them?

[Aubrey] Personally, I feel more liberated than challenged with our independent status. Yes, we have to actively work at promoting our own music and convincing bookers/promoters/DJs/etc. to support us, but we're so passionate about what we're doing it becomes a labor of love. I actually enjoy emailing bloggers and journalists, posting on message boards, and generally "getting the word out" about Golden Gardens. It's nice to build personal relationships with the people who will be listening to and playing your music (as music is inherently a personal endeavor), and to have total control over your own path is very luxurious. We're not looking at this project as a cash cow or fame rocket; we simply wish to share this thing we love to do with those that hopefully enjoy it. That's the best reward.

[Gregg] While Aubrey is certainly the more outgoing of the two of us, I have to agree. I really enjoy the social aspect of being a band in this day and age. Knowing that people are hearing the music you make, and then those people having the ability to interact with you past the superficial "I like your tunes" level is wonderful.

5. Word has it that a second Golden Gardens’ EP is in the works. What can we expect?

[Gregg] The new Golden Gardens EP is in production as we speak. A couple of songs are completed. A couple more are in the middle of the composition process and there are one or two that are still being "hatched" from bare ideas. The concept of this was to take the ideas that spawned "Somnambulist" and imagine a dark mirror image of them. What sort of songs would that inspire? We took this concept and are building this new EP. It has been an odd process. The songs have been harder to write in many ways and there have been a few discarded ideas that may make their way into future material. The songs have come out sounding lusher and more powerful and the "darkness" we are striving for in this release isn't coming through in an angsty or menacing way, but in a much more romantic and resplendent manner.

Keep up with Golden Gardens at their homepage, Facebook, Twitter, and Bandcamp, where you can preview and purchase the "Somnambulist" EP.

Here is the video for “Paresseux” from the gossamerruby YouTube Channel.

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