Interview

The Golden Awesome

The Golden Awesome

By UTR

Monday 18th April, 2011 11:02AM

The Golden Awesome are a mysterious bunch.  Much lauded amongst bands they have played with and those lucky enough to have caught them live, they’ve kept quite a low profile since emerging seemingly out of nowhere mid-2010. No longer content to wait for their story to unfold, we eagerly tracked them down and drummer Justin Barr was kind enough to shed some light on the project for us, including their collective background in Dunedin and previous projects including Mestar and Cloudboy.

You guys seem to have come out of nowhere, who are you and when/how did you come to form The Golden Awesome?

Mostly we are just a bunch of friends with a shared love of the super-loud-but-sweet music of early 90s Britain & NZ. We have all played (and still play) in other bands and also together in various off-the-cuff party bands. We talked for literally years about starting a shoegaze band and finally got around to it about a year ago.

Tell us a more about your musical backgrounds, past bands etc….

Well we all have pretty long CV’s – all beginning in Dunedin (albeit independently). Briefly: Jo Contag (guitars, recording) is a founding member of Cloudboy, Mink & Bad Statistics (and has recently been dabbling in orchestral composition); Justin Barr (drums) also played with Jo in Mink & Bad Statistics, and in The Raskolnikovs with Matt Steindl (bass); and Stef Animal (vocal, keys) was in Mestar and also performs solo.

Shoegaze seems to be your most common descriptor – is this how you see yourselves? How would you describe your sound?

We are certainly shoegaze, but with our own angle on it.

Who would you say are your biggest influences…

We all have pretty diverse music tastes, but in terms of shoegaze, My Bloody Valentine is the obvious one, being the touchstone group of that era. Also groups like Jesus & Mary Chain, early Cocteau Twins, and the underrated Medicine. I also think that our shared 1990s Dunedin heritage makes that music an unavoidable influence too; particularly groups like Snapper, Bailterspace, 3Ds and Suka.

What is your writing process?

Generally Matt or Jo will come up with an idea on a crappy little ¾ size acoustic guitar, then we develop it as a group at ear-splitting volume, and Stef will write the vocal parts.

You have a Cassingle out at the moment, is this your first physical release? Tell us a bit about it….

Yes, it is. It’s a pretty low-key release on our friend Jeremy Coubrough’s cassette label, Rampant Runes. We only made a handful of them, most of which have already been sold or given away. We went for a cassingle because we think it’s nice to have music in a physical format, but CDs are shitty technology and vinyl is just a bit too much hassle for a single.

Have you had any interest from labels local or otherwise?

Yeah, we have had really positive interest from some local and international labels. We've recently decided to run with M'lady's records of New York, so we're aiming to have our debut LP out this coming spring, which is very exciting.

We get the sense of big things ahead for you guys, do you share this feeling?

Thanks! I think we’ve been around long enough to be realistic about these kinds of things, but yeah, it’d be nice if people like our album.

What else on the cards for The Golden Awesome this year?

We’re planning to shoot a video with Menno Huibers and John Lake shortly. Jo is going to Europe for winter, so we probably won’t do too much over that period, but come springtime we will be sure to go touring. I’d imagine that will probably coincide with the album and video release.




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