Interview: Gold Motel on Upcoming Album “Summer House.”
by Brian Willett
“The sky could crash into the ground, and we like the view; the flood runs through the canyons in New York City…every thing is just fine,” sings Greta Morgan in Gold Motel’s energetic, eternally optimistic “Perfect In My Mind.” When listening to the song, it’s not surprising that “perfect” found its way into the title, as the song is the perfect fusion of bright keys, Strokes-esque electric guitar and soothing vocals courtesy of Morgan.
What may be surprising is that “Perfect In My Mind” was the first track Gold Motel put together. But then, Gold Motel seems to be good at getting things started on the right foot, as the band also sold out its first show and crafted a masterpiece on its first album, Summer House.
What remains to be seen is how Gold Motel keeps up the momentum over the long term. Luckily, Bloginity was able to catch up with Greta Morgan and Eric Hehr to talk about Summer House, the future of Gold Motel, and how the band is like a shark…watch out!
Brian: When the Hush Sound took a break, did you have any idea that Gold Motel would emerge?
Greta: The idea that Gold Motel would emerge came to me months before The Hush Sound even made the decision to break up. Things had been going very well for us career-wise: we we’re on great tours, we had a hard-working record label behind us, and we were selling out clubs on headlining tours. However, there was quite a bit of emotional turmoil and I sensed that we wouldn’t make it much longer as a band. So, I started thinking ahead. I didn’t know what the band would sound like, who I would collaborate with, or what the band name would be, but I did know that I would take
a step in that direction.
Brian: Other than the sound, how is the dynamic of Gold Motel different from the Hush Sound and This Is Me Smiling?
Greta: It’s much more fun and spontaneous. Since we chose to self-release our album, we were able to choose every song, guide the design, collaborate with our director on our music videos. We have had a very fortunate amount of success in Gold Motel and the best part is that we’ve earned it all without having to compromise anything. Also, we get along very well. These friendships have been tested and proved for many years already and we all treat each other with a lot of respect.
Brian: What do you think makes Gold Motel stand out from similar bands?
Greta: Our energy, our songwriting, our attitude.
Eric: I think what sets Gold Motel apart from other similar sounding bands is the sense of hopefulness in the music. I think that there are a fair amount of bands out there today who are doing the retro, 60’s pop throwback thing. There are artist such as Best Coast who are conceptually striving for the same thing we are – that being releasing nostalgic, West Coast-tinged pop music. However, there focus is much more rooted in emulating the primitive nature of pop subgenres such as garage
rock; the pursuit of replicating low-fi recordings from yesteryears. I believe Gold Motel is a band that concentrates much more on the crisper, brighter side of pop music. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it bubblegum pop, but the music is inherently rooted in optimism, and there isn’t a great deal of optimistically driven music nowadays. And to be honest, we’re still figuring it out. We’re only a year into the band, and we’ve only released 1 album [Summer House]. The next album could very well be called “Winter Apartment” and it could be very bleak and depressing and covered in industrial backbeats and synthesizers and blood-curdling screams. But for now, I think our optimism and the lighthearted tonality of the music is what set’s us apart from other like-minded pop artist.
Gold Motel – “We’re On The Run”
Brian: Considering the somewhat short history of Gold Motel, you’ve been quite prolific. From where do you draw your inspiration?
Greta: Songwriting inspiration usually comes from observing situations in my own life and the lives of those close to me. Many times, we’ll draw inspiration from movies and books.
Eric: In terms of our work ethic, I think we’re very fortunate to have a lot of friends who are not only creatively driven, but also goal-orientated. It’s a rarity to find artist or musicians who possess both traits, and we’re blessed to know quite a few individuals who do. It’s inspiring to be around that type of energy; to be encircled by a close knit social circle where individuals are pursuing their dreams and finding success; accomplishing the goals they have imposed upon themselves. It put’s a bit of fire under your ass to get your own projects moving and off the ground. In a way, it’s like friendly competition. I’m personally more prone to work on music after I hear one of my friend’s songs and think, “Holy shit, that’s a fucking great song. Okay, I got to top that now.”
Brian: What is your favorite Gold Motel song so far, and why?
Greta: We are releasing a 7-inch later this month called Talking Fiction and the
Side A track, ‘Cold Shoulders” is definitely my favorite to play live. It’ll be released
everywhere on Nov 30th.
Eric: I’m partial to “Cold Shoulders,” as well. Because of the conceptual nature of Summer House, we
sort of threw ourselves into this 60’s West Coast pop genre, and in the process were quickly labeled as such. I’m hoping a song like “Cold Shoulders” will break any potential typecasting that may occur, because we were definitely referencing a lot of late 70’s post-punk and early 80’s new wave before we were referencing 60s pop. “Cold Shoulders” was a song that was written and recorded apart from the Summer House sessions, and we weren’t necessarily writing or arranging to fit a genre orientated mold anymore – we were just trying to write what a great pop tune. It’s also the first song we built from the ground up as a full band. The majority of Summer House was recorded in a really fragmented way because the band was
simultaneously coming together as the album were being recorded. With “Cold Shoulders,” every member – Dan Duszynski (guitar/vocals), Adam Coldhouse (drums), Matt Minx (bass), Greta and myself – was present for the writing and recording, and in the process we were all able to add our own personality to the song, which to me makes it ten times stronger than anything off Summer House. It’s a really great representation of what the band sounds like, and also a foreshadowing of future music to come.
Brian: What is the next move for Gold Motel?
Greta: We’re planning to spend the winter in Chicago working on new material. We’ll be back on the road all next year and will hopefully have a new album to share with you sometime in 2011!
Eric: To keep moving, preferably at optimum speed!
Brian: If you could collaborate with any other artist currently making music, who
would it be and why?
Greta: Jon Brion
Eric: Everyone in the band loves Spoon, and it would be such a privilege for us to able to collaborate with those guys in some way. We also all love Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear. His production work is inspiring to us all, and we’ve listened to the new Twin Shadows LP he produced quite a bit in the van. Incredibly fucking cool album. It would be awesome to have him produce a Gold Motel track. I can’t imagine what that would sound like, but I’m sure it would be an enriching experience, at least on our front. Personally, I would love to work with Ric Ocasek from The Cars. In my eye’s, he’s a virtuoso of straight-ahead, radio-friendly pop music, and his production work with Weezer is hard to deny. I am also obsessed with The Strokes, so being able to work with any of those guys would be incredible.
Brian: You’ve toured all over the country; do you have a favorite venue or region?
Greta: Obviously, Chicago will always have the best audiences for us because it’s our hometown. We love Chicago. We played in Santa Cruz, CA. for the first time on this most recent tour and we all fell in love with the people and the town. Very small show, but an overwhelming amount of kind, enthusiastic people. Also, we love Austin, Knoxville, NYC, and Los Angeles.
Eric: I love the West Coast. I adore Los Angeles. It’s such a tragically beautiful mess of a city. It’s as repulsive and atrocious as it is charming and stunning to me; a city that’s rich with history and at the same time seems to possess no history at all. I love it. We also visited Santa Cruz for the first time on our last tour, which was such a pleasantly humble city. It reminded me of a West Coast version of Madison, WI – same laid back vibes and attitude, just closer to the ocean with much better weather.
Brian: What is the most annoying trend in music today?
Greta: Emo auto-tune.
Eric: Currently, I’m pretty annoyed with indie artists using auto-tuning in their music in an ironic way. I think most people acknowledge auto-tuning as a musical deficiency, so why bother to mock it in your own songs? I would prefer artists to either avoid it or condone it before they become satirical with it.
Brian: If Gold Motel was an animal, what kind would it be?
Greta: A lioness. Sometimes fierce, sometimes subtle. We can never be tamed.
Eric: My parents always told me to live like a shark. If a shark stops swimming, it dies. I hope that Gold Motel moves into the future like a shark – always moving, never stopping.