Victorian rock outfit Gold Class have been making waves across the world, having just come off of a European tour and recently announcing an expansive nationwide tour off the back of their new single, Twist in the Dark. The band took some time out to have a chat about the new single, their upcoming album, and various other happenings within the band.
Your recent single, Twist In The Dark, has a more powerful feel and bigger production. Is this something we can look forward to in the future?
Yeah, that was the idea behind working with Gaz on the new record. He’s been really involved with the production of The Drones albums and their last record is so up-front but also intricate and weird. It was about bringing out some of the weirdness but still just having the rawness of what the band does live.
With a sound perhaps not as familiar in Australia, how do you feel the reception has been for Gold Class as a band?
From the very start in Melbourne there have been people coming to every show and really just being up for whatever comes next. I don’t know, I think it’s better for me not to think about how people perceive us too much because it can get in my head and feel a bit limiting, but we get a really mixed crowd everywhere, which I like. There are the loners who you see reading a book before the show, who are my people, and the crowd that wants to party and then always some guitar nerds who want to talk to Evan after and to Jon about building guitars. At home, the shows have always felt personal, but we’re finding that’s the case more and more in other places, too. Because it’s mostly just people hearing about us from friends or finding it themselves, which makes a difference I think.
Your sound certainly harkens back to U.K. punk. What inspirations play a part in the music you create in a creative sense? Do you listen to any particular artists or music from a defined time period?
No, we never talk about sounds really, and everyone listens to different stuff. We write the songs together and mostly talk about things like how much space there is in a song, or trying to write with different rhythms. I’m from Brisbane and grew up going to punk shows every week – Brisbane has always been good for underage shows – and I definitely learned about The Saints and The Go-Betweens and the Fun Things at the same time as finding out about UK punk. But for me that music was always more just about rhythm and impact and working words and stories into these shifting patterns, and that’s what interests me about Rihanna or Frank Ocean as well. I hate rock music. To me, rock music is dudes singing about getting laid or not getting laid, and even though I’m interested in the occupation of that space by queer people and by women, I just don’t really think of us as a rock band, even though a guitar is our only melodic instrument. Maybe the others would disagree, I don’t know.
Gold Class is currently on the back end of a U.K./Europe tour. How has the experience been so far?
We played with Fazerdaze in Paris and that was a really nice show. Our first show in Paris last year was really good, too. For some reason, people seem to get what we’re about there. London is always a party. Bristol was a really fun show even though I’d lost most of my voice after London – just a lovely, funny crowd. Even somewhere like Rotterdam last night, which was a late addition to the tour, people turned up who’d travelled a couple hours to see us, and I ended up walking around the city with them and watching the sun come up from the harbour, which was beautiful.
Gold Class recently changed to Barely Dressed Records what was the reason for this?
They came in kind of at the last minute when we were figuring out how we should release the next album. They know us and know where we come from and they made it clear they wanted to do things in a way that is respectful to the band. It was important to us to like the people we were working with. But they’re also a fairly new label and have new ideas about releasing music, which is interesting to us, too.
With the announcement of a nation-wide tour, what can we expect from a live Gold Class show? Do you have a set playlist or do you mix it up with each gig? Any pre-show rituals before hitting the stage?
We’re trying to mix up the old and the new songs at the moment, which is actually working really well. Everyone has their own way of getting ready for a show, but we usually have a drink together and figure out the set. I think with the shows we try to walk the line between getting a bit loose and doing something meaningful and interesting. It’s definitely possible to do both, and those are the best shows.
Your debut album, It’s You, was listed for the Australian Music Prize. Did it come as a surprise? Do rewards and accolades mean anything to you guys as artists? Or is more trivial bullshit?
Yeah, it was a nice surprise. I guess it meant something that it was voted in by other musicians and people who work in music. And I’ll take meeting Henry Rollins and getting a free lunch if it’s offered.
You’re yet to be announced follow-up record is currently in the works. What sound can we expect from it? Is it a follow on from It’s You? Or musically have you taken a different direction?
It isn’t a different direction but I think we’ve all shifted a little with what we’re each doing. I wanted to play with a bit more range vocally, which I had to figure out, and I think Evan has come into his own as a guitarist and is doing stuff that speaks more to where he comes from. Sometimes he plays things and it’s hard to understand what he’s doing exactly – it sounds like two guitarists, and it’s just him working really hard.
Have you kept the same formula for writing and then recording? Or has it changed? Can you talk us through the process?
The first album we wrote song by song, week to week at jam, and then at the end of a year we recorded what we had and it was an album. We wrote more in solid blocks this time and with an album in mind, so it was fairly different. We went out to the country for a week and just mucked around with ideas and Jon cooked elaborate dinners every night. That was good for playing around with different sounds. And then had another big writing month at the end of the year. But we were still playing with a couple things in the studio and then at Gaz’s house out in Nagambie. We wanted to leave space for new ideas.
Adam has an incredibly distinct voice. Do you build your songs around this, or tend to work around each other?
We all work around each other. It’s me and Evan doing the melodic work, so writing is usually about letting us both have a voice and doing it in a way that works as a song. I mostly find the vocals around the rhythms, which kind of gives Evan and I both more freedom to do whatever we think is interesting. But if you ask any of us what the chorus is in any song you’ll probably get a different answer each time.
With the two-year gap between your albums, has anything changed within Gold Class as a group within that time? Do you feel this has impacted the latest record?
It would maybe to nice to say things are the same, but I think my life is fairly different now than it was when the band started. In better ways and it’s also more insecure, but maybe that’s ok too. It made me really want to make something of the album, to make it count for something.
Although your earlier releases tend to feel more mellow and measured in their chaos, Twist In The Dark is much more hook-esque and head-on. Is this something that came naturally?
I think with that song we wanted to push things, but I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the new album is generally more in that direction. It’s fuller, definitely. Maybe the early Gold Class stuff is more measured because we were learning how to write together and that required more measurement to make it work. Now we can all be a bit more assertive and it means everything is working more closely together, rubbing up against each other more.
Gold Class Touring AUS/NZ JULY 2017
Saturday 1 July – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Thursday 6 July – Grace Emily, Adelaide
Saturday 8 July – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Saturday 15 July – Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney
Friday 21 July – Mojo’s Fremantle
Saturday 22 July – The Bird, Perth
Door sales only
Friday 28 July – Whammy Bar, Auckland NZ
Saturday 29 July – Caroline, Wellington NZ