The ’80s are making a comeback, and Gold & Youth are leading its revival (sans the feathered bangs and shoulder pads, thankfully). The band, from Toronto and Vancouver, pumps out haunting, synth-heavy beats punctuated by textured guitar riffs. Think Depeche Mode, The Cure and The Smiths getting their hands on a few synth machines and laptops. While they’ve only released one single ("Time to Kill") it leaves us craving more.
After working with producers Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, Yukon Blonde) and Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Interpol), the group’s highly-anticipated album, Beyond Wilderness, is slated for release at the end of the summer. Bandmate Murray Mckenzie gives us the skinny on the new album, signing with Arts & Crafts and the return of ’80s alternative rock.
Beyond Wilderness has been some time in the making now. What’s the hold up?
I know, it’s sort of just a rumour, right? When we first signed, we had this idea that we’d get this record out ASAP, and we rushed through doing it. And then it turned out a bit different than we thought it would, and we spent some time getting it mastered and mixed. It made more sense to let it grow a little bit without releasing it, play some live shows — we added Louise, our new member. So it just made sense to keep playing and pull it together a bit.
When can we expect it?
We’re looking to release it at the end of summer, and we have all these new songs that we want to add to it, and we’re back in the studio all over again.
Who are you listening to for inspiration?
As far as the ’80s synth sound goes, we all love Depeche Mode, New Order. Louise [Burns] is trying to channel Kate Bush all the time. As for more modern stuff, it’s more varied. Matt [Lyall] really likes The National. Jeff [Mitchelmore] and I really like bands like Wild Nothing.
What did signing with Arts & Crafts bring to the table?
Of course it’s exciting, cause we all kind of spent the 2000s listening to Broken Social Scene. It brought a lot more than we had going for us before [laughs]. It is a great group of people who have been able to guide us and support us. They came at us in a transitional time; we weren’t really Gold & Youth when we signed with them. We were kind of in shambles, they saw potential there. We’ve been doing it from the ground up. We’ve been signed for a little over a year and we don’t have a record out yet. They’re also very hands-off as far as what we want to do.
What was it like working with Gareth Jones and Colin Stewart?
Well of course we like them because they have a very different roster. Colin, he’s the man in Vancouver music. When the [Polaris Music Prize] long list came out, I think he did like every band there that’s from BC, right? He’s got this great pedigree, he’s this great guitar record guy, so he brings that to the table. And then on the other hand, we were working with Gareth in London, who is obviously like Mr. Berlin-in-the-’80s.
Well it seems like you’re more popular in the UK than here in Canada.
Yeah, the response in the UK was really good. I think there’s something inherently British about our very dry, dark presentation. NME has been the first media outlet to sort of put their hands up for us which has been nice. It’s funny how, what we’re doing, we actually have a better chance of making radio there.
"Time to Kill" isn’t enough to sate us. What can we expect from Beyond Wilderness?
Yeah, there’s just one song [laughs]. I know, we have to stop milking the same thing! There’s actually a lot more variety on the record than that song implies. There’s some really good dance-y material. We don’t really know either — we haven’t even decided what’s on it yet!