by Tiana Feng
I caught up with Born Gold on Tuesday to discuss the new record, house shows and online dating.
What has Born Gold been up to?
“I’ve been on a 60 day house show tour. We’re kind of in the middle of it right now. It’s been really fun”
What made you decide to go on this house party tour for the album’s release?
“The house show thing, fundamentally, it’s partly just a matter of principle and partly a matter of pleasure. Playing house shows is kind of like eating the best pizza. They’re like my favourite shows through and through, consistently irrespectively of the city you’re in and irrespectively of the people that come in on every given night. You’re likely to have a really amazing time. This tour is more or less confirmed that thought. We’re pretty much punching in at 95% fun. So far it’s been very very strong. There’s also things about the house show concept that are really cool and that I prefer to a rock club context even though obviously we play those shows and don’t have any major issues with those. The nice thing about a house show is there’s no audience-performer divide, people of all ages can come. A lot of the social positioning and things like that that exist at a rock club just aren’t present whatsoever in the context of a house show.”
How did you book them? Did people go up to you or did you go up to everyone else?
“We’ve toured a lot as Born Gold and Gobble Gobble before that, and I have a lot of friends around the continent. That’s how I started. I just reached out to those people and tried to see if we could hook up some houses to play in. That was a huge advantage that not something a band starting from scratch could do. There were just a few cities that proved really stubborn and my friends couldn’t find anything or I didn’t have any friends in those cities. I made a Tumblr post about the cities I was having trouble with and that was really fruitful. I got a lot of responses. I think we’re playing basically every day unless we’re at a festival. We’re playing some really neat locations. I just confirmed a show in Seaforth, Nova Scotia which is like an oceanfront small town and St. Stephen, New Brunswick which is like a little college town right on the US border. We get to go some places we’ve never been before which is really fun too.”
Is it self-sufficient money wise or did you put money aside to go do this house tour?
“That’s a really good question and I’m probably going to write something about that. The long answer is it is sufficient but the numbers aren’t going to blow anyone’s mind. It definitely is a tour that pays for itself but there’s not much beyond that. It doesn’t necessarily pay you or your bandmates. In my case, when I tour, I always have to take a band out with me. They are people that are good friends of mine that are talented musicians from Edmonton but that aren’t necessarily involved in the creation of my record. It’s different from a lot of band situations. In the best case scenario, I’d like to be able to pay those people. That’s the long story short. I’ll probably write something extensive about the economics of the whole thing. I don’t think it’s a revolution that’s going to change the industry or anything like that but the information could be useful for some bands at a certain level. One of the assets of doing the tour is how good it keeps morale because you play so many consistently good shows, everyone has fun. It makes it a pretty easy sell in that respect. “
It’s interesting to hear that this sort of tour is self-sufficient.
“The most important thing to have a tour be self-sufficient is to have a low overhead. A lot of bands tour with like buses, you know what I mean? We more or less understand where we’re at in the big picture and we keep our costs as low as possible. We stay at people’s houses which is a nice thing about house shows too, usually you can do that. Just crash on the floor after you play. If you do things like that and you keep your expenses as minimal as possible than it’s easy. A lot of the reasons tours lose money is because of the level of expenditure upfront. “
What’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever played?
“There have been so many weird shows. Um, it’s really hard to pick. We went on this 6 month long tour called the Infinitour back when we were Gobble Gobble. It was self-booked tour and we were doing guerilla shows wherever we could. One of the places we did it was under the Santa Monica pier. We found a power outlet so we set up our whole rig but we had barely made a few notes before the cops came. I don’t know if that’s a weird show. One really weird show was one we played in Springhill, Nova Scotia which is like a prison time so something like 50% of the populous is actually inmates. We played in a house party there and it ended up being a great show. The cops came but they actually were dancing on the porch and they let us finish. What was really weird about this show was that we didn’t know anyone who lived there. We went to bed sleeping on the floor in front of the front door. It wasn’t the fellow who had put it on’s house, it was his parent’s house and we didn’t know that his parents had gone to the cabin the night before, so they came in at 7 in the morning and saw us on the floor and started losing their shit. They were screaming WHO THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE?! GET THEM OUT OF MY HOUSE! We actually had to pack all of our shit up in a real hurry and high tail it out of there. So yeah, that was a weird show. There’s been a lot of weird shows. I can probably give you a better answer if I had more time to think about it.”
You are releasing I Am An Exit soon, how is it different from Little Sleepwalker?
“It’s very different from Little Sleepwalker. Each record I’ve done, I have tried to challenge myself and subvert my own tendencies. I’ve learnt a lot about the way I work by doing that. Hopefully in the long run, I’ll learn about my strengths and my weaknesses as an artist. Little Sleepwalker was a literal attempt to subvert the work that I did on Bodysongs and so it’s not immediate, it holds itself at a distance, more a labyrinth and it’s a lot more atmospheric, progressive and strange. The new record, I feel, is a consolidation of the work I did on Bodysongs and Little Sleepwalker. I tried to play to the strengths of each record and make something that is fundamentally not necessarily a rejection of either record, but the consolidation of the two, with an eye completely towards pop songs. It’s really 10 songs that are direct. The few that are out right now are not necessarily representative of the record, because there are some songs that are aggressive, but they are representative of the song structure and the immediacy of the songwriting. I’m really proud of this record. Aesthetically I feel like it’s the lovechild of Little Sleepwalker and Bodysongs.”
What are some upcoming bands that you are currently listening to?
“To be totally honest, I’ve been listening to a lot of old pop music. I’m not really a goldmine or a resource for really cool new music. I really like this band from Vancouver called The Courtneys who used to be in this band I like called Puberty. They make really good jangly female fronted pop music. The other thing I’ve been into is this Hungarian producer called Liar who has a really omniverous pallet and combines totally disparate sounds into really compelling syntheses. He has some new music in 2013 that I think is really worth investing your time in if you’re into club music or experimental electronic. I appreciate that he keeps it to the dance floor even though even though it’s like really really sonically adventurous. There’s some permutations and combinations of sounds that doesn’t seem like it should work but it does.”
Did anybody ever approach you via your OK Cupid Profile?
“Good question, I wish. The thing with the OK Cupid profile that I mentioned in the Tumblr post but it might unclear, was that I actually deactivated my OK Cupid account after one day. I still would love to go on dates and stuff but OK Cupid for a number of reasons, or maybe because of the city I was in, bummed me out. I don’t really have any opposition to the tool. That’s where things seem to be going and they’re not going to stop going in that direction. It makes sense. Algorithms on it are actually really impressive. In some ways there are problems with it but they’ve been well picked apart by other people. There’s something about self-description that really bothers me, like hearing people talk about themselves is so unattractive.”
It’s true usually the guys I like are the ones that are shy and don’t really talk about themselves.
“Yeah and here’s a guy who just posted his OK Cupid profile on his Tumblr and using it as a press bio. I mean my job requires me to talk about myself and I’ve accepted that and I’m just trying to do it in an interesting way. But I also understand how much that is a turn-off that can be to some people. Reading people’s sort of self-aware OK Cupid profile in the city that I happened to be in at that time, I messaged one girl and she never got back to me. Other than that, I just felt like holy man maybe there aren’t that many fish in the sea. Reading people’s self-descriptions I just could tell, ugh I don’t like you. It’s probably just the nature of going through the motions of saying I am this and these are my interests, the way people do that is kind of gross. I’m sure a lot of people looked at my profile and thought that way. I was honest but I could see it being deeply unattractive to most people. But yeah, OK Cupid is an interesting phenomenon but I ended up deactivating it and I haven’t been back on since then. Maybe I should, now that it’s out there.”
Yeah, just as a social experiment!
“And see if I can get more dates.”