Q & A – THE GOLDEN FILTER
Following our previous Q & A sessions from the likes of Little Boots, to Mirrors, to Marina & The Diamonds, amongst others, we are pleased to be able to bring you yet another exclusive interview. This time we ventured into the mysterious world of blog favourites, The Golden Filter.
The key word when talking about this New York two piece is ‘BUZZ’ – It’s precisely what they create amongst the blogs every time they release something, (precisely what happened yesterday after they released new track Thunderbird, due out November 16th on Dummy Records) – It’s also what surrounds the anticipated release of their debut album – Above all though, it’s their signature sound, as they attach their distinctive electro synths to their thumping, retro disco beats. You definitely know when your listening to Golden Filter!
They’ve also proved to be outstanding remixers, previously managing to get a Recommender Remix Special post written about them. Read that here. Additionally they’re due to play this blog’s home town of Brighton, UK, on October 1st at our popular Concorde 2 venue, alongside Chew Lips. It really doesn’t get much better than that!!
1.) You don’t hide your identities when you play live, so are your names and images now known to people, or do you still not confirm anything?
Penelope – There is no real need for us to hide who we are when we play, but we are still strong advocates of not really sharing too much about ourselves with people, as we would like the music to still remain first and foremost.
2.) We don’t want to focus too much on your mysterious secrecy here, but what are the reasons behind not letting your image or names easily known? Is there some kind of grand idea behind it?
Penelope – It’s just our choice to not 100% participate in giving all the information that there is to give about ourselves online. Such pre-judgements leave the music a lot less pure than it otherwise would be. It can create a tiny box for the listener to place an artist in before the listener even hears the music, and that is not how we think music should really be listened to. We like visuals and imagery to help tell the story more than words and faces and identities.
Stephen – At the same time, we hope we reach the point where it’s not a “weird” way to go about things. Where our music isn’t about the artist being a secret, it’s more about our music.
3.) That’s all fair enough, but in this modern age an artist’s image is often a key ingredient in music, so do you think that your level of mystery has hindered or helped media / blog coverage? Is it quite hard to complete photo shoots and videos without seeing your faces?
Penelope – Perhaps to some it seems like it could have hindered it, but I think that the people we have worked with to date have actually relished somewhat in this and have been excited by the ‘challenge’. They too feel inspired to work with something a bit different, though it’s not a new concept at all. Mystery is a magical thing…. it triggers the mind to go into overdrive trying to figure out “who or what can it be?”. We should all question things for ourselves and not believe everything we see or read.
Stephen – The lack of a face is definitely not the lack of an image!
4.) That’s a good point. OK, how did you both meet up?
Penelope – We perhaps thought that we had actually met when we were about thirteen, but just didn’t realise this, as it happened in some non-waking realm. Because after becoming friends we realized that our lives, despite being on opposite ends of the planet, were in fact very mirrored. Parallel universe stuff. Curious. It took us literally traveling around the world and ending up living directly across the street from each other for our worlds to collide. We think not by accident, but in some grand scheme.
5.) Yeah, we noticed that you list New York as your home city on Myspace. We assume you still live there, but it isn’t where you grew up right?
Penelope – Yeah we live here but I grew up near Byron Bay in Australia. A World far removed from this metropolis! A place where it was more about rainforests and beaches etc.
Stephen – I lived in the midwest US. Very near where DEVO grew up.
6.) That’s cool! Let’s move away from the personal and onto the band and the music then. You completed a North American tour with the Presets, so what were the highlights? Do you have other American and European tours planned for the near future?
Penelope – The tour with the Presets was fantastic. The whole crew were lovely people and we all had a ball. For me to be able to tour the States with fellow Australians was great. We have since been doing a few shows in different countries and with a few other bands like The Rapture. We are off for a small tour in the UK and Finland this week and next. We are also going to Iceland for the Airwaves Festival (which is going to brilliant!!) and then we will be back in the UK/Germany/Spain in November.
7.) We look forward to that. Do you have any favourite bands that you’ve played on the same bill as?
Stephen – We love everyone we play with!
8.) You also played a variety of SXSW shows in March, so was that your first Austin experience? Did it go well?
Penelope – SXSW was extremely busy, but so much fun! We played eight shows in three days, or something like that. It was manic and kept us on our toes. As this was our first time there we felt like we really got the most out of it.
9.) Where did the name The Golden Filter come from?
Stephen – It’s a reference to 70’s soft focus photography. It came from a dream of a movie about a dream.
10.) We posted all about your excellent remixes recently. How do you select the tracks that you want to give the Golden Filter treatment? What do you think of the artists that have remixed your work? Do you have a favourite?
Stephen – Strangely we have a hard time hearing our own songs remixed. As for the songs we remix, we get approached to do them, but we only do the ones we really like, or that we think we can add something to. We end up putting a lot into remixes, to the point that they take more time and energy than our own songs do!
11.) It seems that you have recently been more focused on remixing other people’s material so why is this? We also see you have released a new original track, Thunderbird, so will you be returning to writing and recording more of your own original tunes in the near future?
Stephen – Yes. We will be focusing on our own music a lot more from this point on. though there will be at least one more remix coming out in 2009.
Stephen – The people around us, historical figures, bands from the 60s and 70s. Strangely there are more non-musical entities influencing our music than music-related people.
13.) Is there likely to be any signs of a debut album in 2009? Do you have a name for the album and any possible release date in mind yet?
Stephen – You will see the full-length debut in early 2010. Yes there is a name and yes we still like to hold on to information untill the last second!
14.) Lastly, we always ask our interviewees to become honorary Recommenders by asking if you know of any new bands/acts/DJs that have recently caught your attention that you would like to recommend to us?
Stephen – Kindness seem pretty good. We’ve heard half of a song, but we don’t know anything about them. It’s precisely the pure way we like to listen to music, but it’s really quite hard to do. We also like what we’ve heard of O.Children as of late.