Before you read any further, we have a BULLETIN! Tonight is the last night of Earshot, an innovative, interactive audio installment on display in various New York bars. Featuring twelve original radio scripts and an excellent selection of local music, it's a hell of a creative format for an audio play. We definitely recommend checking it out before it's gone for good.
Now, that wasn't a completely irrelevant introduction, because Gold Lake just so happens to be one of the bands whose music will be featured in the installation tonight. The Brooklyn-via-Madrid alt-pop trio released their debut album, Years, at the end of 2014, and they've been going strong ever since. We got the chance to talk with singer Lua Rios about moving to New York from Spain, the experience of working with a legend like Phil Ek (who mixed their LP), and their plans for the future.
ThrdCoast: How did you guys get started playing music?
Lua Rios: Carlos [del Amo] and I are originally from Madrid. We got started in music because we had to, really—we loved it too much not to do it! I have family in the music business back home, and Carlos’ family are big music lovers, so we were both naturally drawn to it.
TC: Gold Lake originally started out as a duo. How did you guys meet?
LR: We met at the bar Carlos owns in Madrid (the Tupperware Club) with his four elder sisters. We both loved the same music and immediately felt the need to play together.
TC: What was the music like back in the early years when it was just the two of you? What influences did you have as individual that you brought to the group, and what influences did you share?
LR: We had been making music together for a few years before we started Gold Lake, as we had been in other projects before, but when we moved to Brooklyn it made sense to start something new as we could feel the influence of being transplanted into different surroundings. So, in essence we were the same songwriting unit as before, but so much had changed around us and we were taking in so much from our new experiences that we also changed the way in which we approached our music. We’ve both been influenced by similar bands. We share a love of the Laurel Canyon music scene in the seventies, as well as a devotion to bands and artists like Bowie, Big Star, NRBQ, etc…
TC: Why did you leave Spain and what led you come to the States, specifically Brooklyn?
LR: We had been playing some shows in Canada with our previous band, and then Carlos and I came down to New York to play some acoustic shows when we played a show at the now sadly defunct DBA in Williamsburg. We fell in love with the neighborhood and what it was like then. We loved the vibrant, eclectic scene and felt it was just what we needed to expand our creative horizons, so we decided to move here!
TC: How was the transition from the Madrid scene to the Brooklyn scene? How long did it take you to get comfortable?
LR: The hardest part, I guess, is going from a place where you know everyone and everyone knows you, to a place where you have to meet people and make friends. But I must say we were very lucky and made great friends very quickly, and felt fairly at home right away.
TC: How did the dynamic of the group change after the addition of David Burnett? What influences did he bring?
LR: He brought a lot of energy to the live shows, that’s for sure! Dave was able to take Carlos’ drum arrangements and put them on the album just as they were intended. He’s a great drummer.
TC: After the addition of Burnett, how quickly did you guys develop your sound as a group?
LR: The songs were already fully arranged and written on our computers (we work with Logic), including the majority of the drums, and so when we took them to the rehearsal space and played them with Dave it was pretty immediate. The magic was there from the start.
TC: How did you team up with Phil Ek?
LR: We sent him our demo through a common friend. Our friend didn’t think he’d take us on, as he’s very busy and usually works with big-name bands, but he liked us and he fit us in right after he’d finished working on Father John Misty’s album.
TC: How closely did you guys work with him? Were you there for the mixing sessions or did you have to communicate more remotely?
LR: We flew to Seattle and were with him throughout the whole mixing process, which lasted fourteen days. It was absolutely amazing!
TC: Did you like the elements he brought to your sound?
LR: Phil is a master at taking the tracks he receives and making them three-dimensional. It’s not that he changes or does anything to your sound as such, but he takes what there is and makes it stand out, each part in its own nook and in perfect balance. It’s like he almost transforms things into a tangible format. He’s really a magician!
TC: It seems like you guys have been pretty busy since recording Years, working with Ek, and touring both by yourselves and supporting acts like Midlake and The Lumineers. How would you say the band has changed with all of that?
LR: Yes, we’re very happy with how it’s all going. I think that with every experience in life you add something to what you are as a group and as individuals. Playing out on tour makes you become a tighter band, for one thing. You just keep finding richer and richer sounds than you thought you were capable of.
TC: What does the future hold for Gold Lake?
LR: We’re playing a ton of shows this year, and at the same time we’re writing the songs for the second album. So all in all, busy and happy!