California-based music project, The Golden Coast shares with us all the details of their debut album, ‘Elevenses’. Combining organic and electronic sounds, all the eleven tracks feel like a hypnotic delight to the ears. Scroll down in order to discover more about it, but make sure you play the album from start to finish for the best listening experience.
1 – First of all, why is your debut album entitled ‘Elevenses’?
Elevenses is a small morning snack break, typically some sort of sweet bread or pastry served with coffee or tea around 11 am. While the origins of “elevenses” as a type of meal appears to be European, this album is deeply American, so I used Homer Simpsons’ pink donut for my album art to emphasize those cultural roots.
This album for me is all about the psychology of play and reward, the sweets or metaphorical carrots that get us through a long day at work, and the nature of reality. Can we choose or create our experience? Humans often try to get themselves or other people to do stuff with incentives, usually because they are envisioning a future state with a different experience than the one they have right now. If I work harder I’ll get that promotion. If I run faster I’ll wear smaller pants. That desire for a different reality, a different experience, makes humans do a lot of crazy stuff. Or at least it looks crazy from the outside.
There is a dark and a light side to reward. We can be hijacked by our natural human reaction to pleasure and reward of any type. Or we can understand our reaction to these enticements and design our own experience.
2 – What led you to choose an electronic music style?
I’ve always been attracted to electronic music. Some of my earliest memories are of my father getting his first Mac Plus and the whole family gathering around and driving him nuts while he tried to install DAW software, probably Pro Tools, which took hours. I remember the first time he got a Yamaha keyboard. My mind was blown by the sounds that it could make. I would just listen to the sample songs on repeat. His interest was always in simulating the real instruments, so he was measuring everything against its comparison to the “real thing”, but I was attracted to the electronic sounds, the artificial stuff was really attractive to me on its own. I didn’t need it to be anything else. I’ve learned a ton from hip-hop and trap about weaving together both organic and more synthetic sounds to create a coherent space with both. For me, hip-hop was like finding the answer to a question you’ve had for a long time.
3 – What is the inspiration behind this material?
I work as an experience designer in Silicon Valley. I am fascinated by the challenges that we encounter in experience design as we work to understand what people want and how they experience the world. The farther you dig into the nature of “reality” you realize that experience design is all happening within the individual. I fell down a rabbit hole this year studying the nature of experience, how we can control and design experience and what influences the reality that we individually encounter. This album is my attempt to design emotional experiences that let the individual listener attach their narratives, their reality framework, to the work. Ideally, they can use this music to make the world they want to live in.
4 – Do you have any favorite track?
“Eight”. But every time I listen to the album I hear something different in a track that I hadn’t quite heard in that way before and I’m surprised, even though I made them.
5 – How long did it take you to finish your debut album?
Twenty years or a week, depending on how you slice it. I had some time off this year and was able to focus on music, but nothing quite gelled. Towards the end of the year, I had another ten days off and this time around everything just clicked. These songs came together quickly and formed a cohesive unit, the timing was just right. I guess I had learned enough about the nature of reality to be able to design what I wanted.
6 – Is your music designed to stimulate listeners’ imagination?
Definitely. Primarily. I’m very interested in what listeners bring to the music. The songs can be both open and very layered, and I’m interested in seeing what people bring into that open space.
7 – How much importance do you give to UX Design in your music project?
It’s a strong facet of the project. I am very interested in the philosophical aspects of experience design. What is the nature of reality in which we are designing, because that’s pretty relevant if you want to make something that actually works. What drives us? What incentivizes us? Do we live in a purely materialistic world or is there more than meets the eye? Elon Musk’s favorite theory is kind of wacky, but once you start to examine the scientific frameworks and chase down the logic, the idea that we might live in some type of hologram or matrix doesn’t seem that far out. And it opens up a world of possibilities in designing your own experience, charting your own path.
Homer’s pink donut is a nod to the inherently artificial nature of the work experience in America. In Silicon Valley, the drive to succeed and chase sweet rewards, and the dark results that can produce, is particularly pronounced.
8 – Is anonymity an important factor as artists?
I think anonymity is useful because we are associative creatures. The less detail I provide about myself, the more the music becomes what people need it to be for them. We can bias experience when we saddle things with a bunch of associations.
9 – What elements are part of your visual identity?
I bring a lot of pink into my visual identity. I like pink because it can be a little jarring and scary but is also quite rewarding in the right combinations. It’s a surprisingly polarizing color and people attach a lot of unnecessarily gendered associations with it. Out here on the west coast, the light quality will often take on this amazing pink hue at sunset that is just intoxicating. It is a magical experience. And the pink donut is so American, and so associated with the idea of work.
10 – Lastly, are you going to release a music video or a live performance anytime soon?
I’m collaborating on a dance video with the Desi Hoppers, the 2015 winners of World of Dance. I’m hoping to release that in the next two weeks.