Gold Lake are experiencing life on the other side of Lake Ontario this week.
This Madrid born, Brooklyn based band are in Toronto for Canadian Music Week and will be performing a medley of their greatest songs for expectant fans – Canadian and international guests alike.
With high profile support from denim legends Levi’s – Gold Lake are gaining momentum rapidly, especially with their arguably timeless album Years being released late last year. Toronto Paradise caught up with Carlos from Gold Lake to discuss mixing their record in Seattle, how to stand out amongst a crowd in 2015 and Brooklyn’s legendary cult music scene!
See the full interview below:
1. Gold Lake is an interesting hybrid of Madrid and Brooklyn. Tell us a little more about how you guys met and formed the band up until it’s current line-up?
Carlos: Lua and I met at a bar I own with my family in Madrid (the Tupperware Club) and there was chemistry from the beginning. We liked the same music and we both wanted play together in a band. After playing many shows in Spain and Europe with different projects, we played Toronto and on our way back to Spain we played some shows in Brooklyn and decided we wanted to move there. Our first rehearsals already in NY were with Mike Riddleberger on drums, although we never played live with him. After that we played with Dave Burnett, with whom we played many shows and recorded the album. Now it turns out that Mike’s playing these East Coast and Canadian shows with us. We’ve had several bass players. We are a flexible formation. Lua and I are constantly traveling and song-writing in different countries, and we love that.
2. A lot of bands are coming out of the Brooklyn scene – what is it about Brooklyn that inspires so many people to push themselves artistically?
We’re not sure exactly, to tell you the truth. Perhaps it’s that there’s so much going on every day/night, from art galleries to shows in DIY spaces, that motivate you to continue creating. Everything moves very fast in NY, and that “pressure” can be asphyxiating, but can also motivate you. Although much of the initial excitement is dying out (or has died out), in Williamsburg. Since they’ve finally closed DBA and Glasslands, you can tell that something’s not quite right in the neighbourhood any longer. Although that’s inevitable and we’ve all known it for a very long time now, that’s why we’re moving around all the time. Although NY is unique in many ways and will always be so.
3. Your debut album ‘Years’ was mixed in Seattle by engineer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes etc). A lot of bands today don’t take into account the importance of mixing and mastering. As a band, do you like to be very involved with the mixing, or do you prefer letting fresh ears do the magic first?
Yeah, well. A mixture of both is the right way. In our case, we had most, if not all, the pre-production locked in before we even set foot into the studio to record. Thanks to new technology now-a-days you can get a good idea of what you’ll then be able to find in the studio. That way you gain more productive time when in the studio and avoid any unpleasant last-minute surprises. So when we took it to Phil, we already had a good idea of how it was going to sound like. Although of course, having said this, we think it’s vital to have a set of fresh ears to mix it all, specially if it’s someone as exceptional as Phil, who has a magical touch. We let him do his thing, his art, and just sat back giving him specific point of views at times, seeing as we were there for the whole mixing process. It was a luxury to see him work his magic in real time!
4. Which song from ‘Years’ do you feel most attached to as a band and why?
Perhaps Lovers. It means a lot to us for personal reasons and it reflects a specific time when we were writing the album in our apartment in Williamsburg during a never-ending winter.
5. Levi’s – The most iconic brand of jeans of all time – have used one of your songs in an ad campaign this year! How does it feel that cool brands connect with your music like this? And for you to receive such high profile support?
It feels great for sure, We love Levi’s and they are an icon of this century’s pop/rock culture, aesthetically speaking. We were very flattered to hear they wanted to use our song for their campaign. Plus they used one of the songs that isn’t necessarily the most hooky of our album, and it fits in perfectly. It’s been a pleasure.
6. Of course, as our name is Toronto Paradise, we love the natural imagery that you depict in your album covers and music videos. Why do you think nature speaks to you as a band?
Thanks! Well, I don’t know. I mean, while we were writing Years we would think of the coast, imaginary places that could resemble Big Sur, we love the beach, we can’t hide that. And as I mentioned before, it was a brutal winter in NY and we would escape from reality by conjuring images of paradise. Even our name reflects the idea of creating somewhere that’s imaginary where you can feel comfortable doing something that makes you feel at ease, that you love, where you feel free.
7. Top 3 weapons in your production arsenal?
Reverb man! hahaha. Yeah, I’ve been playing with different types of reverb all my life. From the very beginning, with my instrumental surf band from when I was 16 years old. Now I love to play with reflections and spaces with my guitar. And it fits in perfectly with Lua’s harmonies. Her voice is so angelical and suggestive that surrounding it with reverb fits in beautifully. Cheap 80s synths. But not much mystery, to tell you the truth. When we strip it down for radio shows, we sound pretty similar to when we’re a full band.
8. You’ve travelled a lot – what have been some of your favourite studios to record in? Is there one in particular that is on your bucket list that you haven’t made it to yet?
We recorded the album at La Cabaña in Madrid and we felt right at home with Jose Nortes, our good friend and great engineer. He makes it all so simple. We feel the people in a studio are more important than it’s gear, in the end. And in La Cabaña, we spent some very special and great days.
Although we’d love to record in Abbey Road’s Studio 2, of course, who wouldn’t?! Last year we were at Electric Ladyland studios in NY watching Courtney Barnett play a session, and it was great to be in the same room that Hendrix put in so much love to create. And we’d love to visit Arden Studios, because we’re huge Big Star fans. But I’m not sure if it still exists.
9. Tell us some of your funniest/weirdest moments whilst on tour?
When we played our first tour in Canada. As we were driving up to Toronto from NY, about 7 hours into the drive, both (our then bass player and drummer) Dave Burnett and Dave Wyss looked at each other and almost simultaneously said “Fuck”. There was a silence for a few seconds and then they both said “I didn’t bring my passport”….hahahaha….now we laugh about it, but at that time we couldn’t believe what they were saying! I must say it was quite a cliché that both the Americans in the band had forgotten their passport to travel to a different country! Hahaha. Anyway, they ended up having to drive back 7 hours to grab their passports from NY and then drive back all the way to Toronto, the 7 hours already driven plus the remaining 3 hours! It ended up being a 17 hour trip! Well done, guys!
10. Songwriting wise, do you find yourselves more creative while you’re on tour playing every night or when you have time off at home?
You definitely need the experiences from traveling to be able to write about new things, but we’re more creative when we’re at home. I think most people need a bit of a routine to write. At least that’s what we think, anyway.
11. What’s your favourite part of playing at Canadian Music Week? Do you feel like you can widen your network of fans and contacts?
We love Toronto. As I mentioned earlier, it was part of the origin of us ending up living in NY and changing our lives and creating Gold Lake. Plus, our label (Outside Music) is from there and we love heading back there always. Plus this year CMW will have amazing bands that we love! Jesus & Mary Chain? I mean, c´mon! 😉
12. There’s many indie artists playing the festival circuit this summer, what do you think is key to standing out when on the bill with many other bands?
I don’t know. Primarily to be yourself, sounding different to the rest, trying to have a good live show. I don’t know. Give it your all and have a great time. When your set is over, go see the other bands that you like on the bill. Hehe. Then there are many other things that don’t depend on you, external factors, so that’s why the best thing is to have a great time and play your music with passion.
13. What’s coming up over the next year for you guys?
We’re writing our second album. Playing tons of shows. And traveling a lot, always. Never stopping.
14. Where is Paradise for Gold Lake?
Being with your friends, people who love you and being able to do what you love. When our second album is finished and we get to listen to it, we’ll get back to you on this last question!
Label: Outside Music (2014)
Buy the album on iTunes
All photos by Blanca Del Amo
You can catch Gold Lake on Thursday 7th May at Drake Underground at 7pm!
Follow on Twitter: @GoldLake_
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