Good Night, Gold Dust Talks New Album, MWMF, and Cats
Since 2010, Good Night, Gold Dust (GNGD) has been hard at work bringing us their unique brand of atmospheric indie pop, full of emotional swells and dynamic shifts. Currently, the band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Laura Schultz, lead guitarist and vocalist Colin Scharf, and Michelle Roche on the percussion, piano, and backing vocals. In June, synth player Zach Arney joined the band. GNGD has self-produced three EP albums (“Between the Click…” in 2010; “Towards the Sun” in 2012, and “Come Down” in 2013) along with four music videos. They’ve also shared the stage with such regional favorites as L’Assassins, Charlie Parr, Chastity Brown, and Rogue Valley, along with world touring bands like Sweden’s Sofia Talvik. In 2012 and 2013, they played the popular Austin, Texas music festival SXSW and Winona’s own Mid West Music Fest in 2014. They most recently played Arts by the River in June with Cloud Cult, Low, and Field Report in Mankato, MN where the band is based. This July, they will be embarking on an 8 date tour through Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Indiana, and Minnesota (including Winona on July 9th) and recording their first full-length record at the end of July. They stay pretty busy and they continue to move forward. I had the chance to ask them a few questions about these things.
The Interview Part:
I really enjoyed your set the first time I saw you guys as a quintet at Ed’s (no name) Bar a couple years back and my enjoyment persisted seeing you guys play again as a three piece during Mid West Music Fest 2014. Are you guys a trio now?
Laura: thanks! Yeah, sometimes we’re a three piece. We’re on tour now as a three-piece, playing some shows on the road with old friends who are drummers. While at home though, our buddy Zach Arney has been playing synth with us.
Colin: Zach’s synth parts add a really cool atmosphere to the tunes. He’s got a great ear.
How has that changed your songs and the direction of the band?
Colin: Zach uses another little machine — an Akai MPC — for samples and drum pads. The possibilities are pretty endless. He came along at the right time, I think, because our music has been getting more atmospheric and weird.
Laura: I think once we became a three-piece, and now a four-piece with Zach, we’ve been able to move more in the direction we’d been wanting to move toward for a while.
Michelle: With our not-so-standard instrumentation, we find ourselves stepping into the role that each song requires of us. Our bass lines might be covered on piano, synth, or guitar, while our percussion section is made up of electronic and acoustic drums, shakers, jingles, and cymbal rolls; because of this, each song has its own unique sound.
Did you guys have a good time at Mid West Music Fest?
Laura: It was awesome! We would have loved to hang out the whole time, but had work obligations and stuff. Next year, should we be invited again, we’ll definitely make more time. It just felt so great to be surrounded by so many amazing musicians. Kinda like grown up summer camp.
Colin: MWMF was so fun! After the We Are The Willows show at Ed’s, Laura and I ended up walking back to our hotel out by the Green Mill. About two miles. It rained the whole time. We stopped into the Legion for a last-call drink. One of those nights we’ll never forget.
Michelle: Oh yeah!
When you record your full length this July, will we be hearing a familiar sound or will it be a departure from your previous three EPs?
Laura: I think it’ll sound more cohesive and realized. We’re working with Brett Bullion as a producer on this one, and already he’s given us a lot of direction and ideas to make the record really great.
Colin: Brett has worked with some amazing artists. We’ve self-produced our previous recordings, so we’re really excited to see where Brett will take this album.
Is there a title for the album yet?
Laura: Not yet. Last time, we wrote out all the lyrics and put them on the floor on front of us and tried to see the themes we had sort of unconsciously been writing about, any controlling metaphors or anything. We’ll do that again this time, once we’ve decided on the final track listing.
Colin: There’s a lot of water, moons, dreams, shadows, and ghosts in these newer songs. Like Laura said, once we see the lyrics next to each other, something will call out to us.
Michelle: So the “Title Our Album Contest” is off?
I assume you guys are cat lovers since we had a Twitter conversation about cat pee recently and you even mention cats in your online music bio. Is everyone in the band a cat lover?
Laura: You know, I’m a recent covert to the cat-lovin world. I’m a big walking allergy, and cats are no exception, but somehow, magically, I’m not allergic to Marty!
Colin: I love cats. They’re so weird. My grandma and mom are cat ladies. My grandma’s cane has cats all over it.
Michelle: I love all the animals that make me sneeze!
How many cats do you own collectively, and how many cats is too many cats do you think?
Laura: Two, I think? And all the cats is not enough cats. Every cat is just the right amount.
Michelle: I have zero cats living in my apartment, but just enough cat hair on my clothes, at all times, to give the impression that I am a professional cat rancher.
Upcoming local gigs:
Who: Good Night, Gold Dust with Riflebird and Todd and Megan
When: Wednesday, July 9th at 8:30pm
Where: Ed’s (no name) Bar