Fans of ‘60s music are in for a treat with Gold Motel’s new album, “Summer House.” The effort combines the sounds of Blondie and Motown greats like Diana Ross. With the band coming off its first ever SXSW and an upcoming tour approaching, all things look good for Gold Motel. Gold Motel’s Greta and Eric recently stopped by to chat with us.
Q – Your music has a retro dance sound to it. How did the band and the idea for its sound come together?
Greta - There is a natural retro dance sound because that is what we grew up listening to and loving. My dad has this jukebox in the basement of the house where I grew up filled with Motown and 1960s pop and soul music, so that was the most natural type of music for me to make. It's in my blood.
Eric - West coast pop was the genre-specific vision for the material on the first album, “Summer House.” From my experiences, having a definitive vision in mind for the sonic stylization of the material makes it more intuitive to write because you’re dealing with an established template. There’s a lot of reference point to use for the structuring, arranging, and producing. We all grew up listening to sixties pop music, ranging from The Zombies to The Sonics to The Four Tops, so to gravitate in that direction was instinctive. Once we solidified the vision for “Summer House,” I think everything else came fairly organically – keep it catchy, keep it simple, and keep it fun. To me, “Summer House” is an emulation of our favorite songs front yesteryears. Can you or can you not dance to it?
Q – With Gold Motel’s unique 60’s sound, how do you go about finding your niche in an industry dominated by pop music and punk metal?
Greta - People are always looking for something fresh and different from the mainstream music world. Good music will always find its way to the top, whether it's folk, pop, garage rock, or whatever else.
Eric - First and foremost, I think the material on “Summer House” is very much in the pop vein. You can spend hours and hours classifying it into sub-genres of pop music - whether that is powerpop, or indie pop, or retro pop, or retro-indie-powerpop. At the end of the day, the material on “Summer House” celebrates and adheres to the structural tradition of American pop music. The songs are built around the hooks. At its heart, “Summer House” is a fairly simple pop album. However, I do encourage listeners to continue to explicitly categorize the music. I recently read a review for “Summer House” where the writer categorized the material as “indie-hipster-pop-music.” So in terms of our niche – we fulfill the empty void in the “indie-hipster-pop-music” movement – whatever the hell that means.
Q – Tell me about the new album’s, “Summer House,” writing and recording process, etc. What obstacles/challenges did the band come across?
Greta - I started writing the songs for “Summer House” while I was living in Los Angeles in 2009. The songs took on a definite west-coast sound, very influenced by the Beach Boys and many of the local Los Angeles bands I was following while living there. I brought "Perfect In My Mind" and "Make Me Stay” to my friend Dan Duszynski (Gold Motel's guitar player and recording engineer) and we recorded both of them in about two days. It was very easy and spontaneous working with him, so we continued tracking and finished the Gold Motel EP. At that point, we were eager to put the whole band in place, so we teamed up with Matt Minx (bass), Eric Hehr (guitar) and Adam Kaltenhauser (drums), who were all long time friends from the Chicago music scene.
We recorded “Summer House" in the home where I grew up in Chicago using all of Dan's studio equipment. It was great working in a home instead of a studio because we had total control and flexibility; some days we worked for 18 hours and others we worked for 6. It was great to make our own schedule.
Since then, we've moved into a new studio space which we lovingly call "The Office" - It was formally a two-room office space that that Dan and Matt converted into a two bedroom living space and recording studio. At that space, we recorded a 7 inch vinyl record called “Talking Fiction.” All these are available in our merch store – http://www.goldmotel.bigcartel.com/.
Q – Gold Motel just got off its first stint at SXSW. How did SXSW come about and what did the festival do for the band?
Greta - SXSW was great! Basically, every band who wants to play submits and they choose the final bands (perhaps 500-600 bands?). We were very lucky to be on four exceptional showcases - Billboard Magazine, CNN, D'Addario, and Sonicbids. We were lucky to watch a ton of talented musicians (Family of the Year, Stamps, Fitz and the Tantrums, The Kills) and do interviews with some great music publications.
Eric - This was my first time at SXSW, and I had a fucking awesome time. I mean, it’s a giant industry circle jerk, handshake party, but if you have the right credentials you can drink quite a bit of free liquor. I hope that our exposure at SXSW will help us out in some facet of our career. I think we made a solid impression. I did my best to go out as much as possible and meet as many people as I could. I recently found a bunch of business cards I collected in my wallet over the course of five, hazy drunken nights in Austin, and I sent everyone follow up emails today. Hopefully I hear back from a few of them!
Q – The band recently toured with Hellogoodbye. Will there be a headlining tour soon for “Summer House” and, if so, what can fans expect from your live show?
Greta - We are planning to support larger artists as much as possible this year. We'll be on tour with Farewell Continental in May and June and will hopefully be touring in July as well. Our live show is very energetic and very spontaneous. Fans should expect a genuine experience and they should always expect Eric to be dressed to the nines! You can sign up for our e-mail list here if you'd like to get the tour dates before the rest of the world: http://goldmotel.fanbridge.com/.
Q – Thank you for taking the time. Is there anything you wanted to add?
Greta - Yes! Thanks to Zoiks! Online and everyone else who has supported Gold Motel. We want you to be in the loop, so keep up with us at the places below and be sure to come say hello at one of our shows!
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.