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Aubrey & Gregg (Golden Gardens)

Tell us something about Golden Gardens?

Aubrey: We create Dreamscapes and Anthems for Magical Minds.

A brief history of how the band started?

Gregg: Aubrey and I had known each other for a few years before we started Golden Gardens. She used to curate art events in Tampa, FL, and I had a solo harsh noise/performance art project that had performed at a couple of them. At a certain point, I had decided to pursue music in a collaborative project.
Aubrey: I had moved to Seattle, WA but asked Gregg if he might be interested in trying to make something work long-distance, by sending files and recordings back-and-forth.
Gregg: We had similar interests and compatible ideas, and the concepts and works that became Golden Gardens came together organically and amazingly quickly.

As you're duo, who is in charge for making music and who is for lyrics?

Aubrey: Gregg writes and records the instrumentation. He then sends it to me and I work out vocal melodies and lyrics. Once we get a demo going, I may add additional musical sounds (toy piano, synths, etc.) and he in turn may make vocal suggestions. It's really a collaborative process where, although we each focus on one particular aspect of the music foremost, we do cross paths creatively and production-wise as well.
Gregg: We tend to be on the same wavelength when we're writing, so putting together a song is a very natural process for us.

There's a French/Australian duo Sealight, that uses fragments of letters of their families from F/A as lyrics. Seems like a good ides, don't you think?

Gregg: That sounds like a beautiful and sentimental approach to songwriting. I know of a few bands that assemble lyrics through the William S. Burroughs "cut up" method, but not with that subject matter.
Aubrey: That's definitely an interesting concept and probably creates a lovely narrative effect. In regards to Golden Gardens' lyrical process, I find that I prefer to draw more from the imagined, and less from the real. I like to express a certain mood or emotion with my lyrics. I enjoy dreaming up fictional, historical, fantasy scenarios and themes rather than making them personal in any way.
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I hear lots of Cranes & Cocteau Twins in your music. And you call it "dreamgaze". Are there any other bands that influenced you to play music?

Aubrey: We feel that our sound is very shoegaze musically and very dream pop vocally, and at the same time other-wordly/magical; the "dreamgaze" label sums that up nicely. I am definitely influenced by Alison Shaw (Cranes) and Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins), but I also draw a lot of inspiration from Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays). Mood inspiration comes to me from the instrumental compositions of Max Richter and Angelo Badalamenti. The vocal techniques of Swedish artists like The Knife/Fever Ray, Jonna Lee and Lykke Li really influence my creative process and sound as well.
Gregg: Cranes and Cocteau Twins are absolutely huge influences on us. My playing style is also heavily influenced by early goth rock bands, 90's shoegaze, britpop, earlier black metal, film soundtracks, early industrial. Noise and dark ambient music factors a great deal into how I play as well.

Song/album that changed your life?

Aubrey: I would have to say that pretty much anything by The Cure, especially "Wish" or "Disintegration," could easily qualify as a life-changing album. When I first heard their music as a pre-teen, everything I knew or understood about music up to that point was completely turned upside-down. The lush, complex instrumentation, the heavy layers of guitars, the dark themes and Robert Smith's unique vocals drew me in to my own private Wonderland. No other musician(s) had previously had that sort of effect on me. Song-wise, I'd have to say any of the following: "Horror Head" by Curve, Robin Guthrie and Elizabeth Fraser's cover of Time Buckley's "Song to the Siren," "Beautiful Friend" by Cranes, "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus.
Gregg: The Cure's "Disintegration", The Sisters of Mercy's "First and Last and Always", Slowdive's "Souvlaki". Ulver's "Nattens Madrigal" and "Perdition City" certainly changed my life in weird ways. Tom Waits' "Raindogs".

Golden Gardens - "Ghostwood"

Are there any song that you would like to cover and any artist that you would like to play with?

Aubrey: As far as current artists go, I'd love to play a show with Esben and the Witch or Active Child at some point. If Robert Smith is looking for undiscovered supporting acts, we are always available! As far as "dream" artists go, it would have been amazing to play with Cocteau Twins definitely. Especially around their "Heaven or Las Vegas" era. We are currently working on a small EP of cover songs, so you'll have to wait and see what we've chosen to put our Golden Gardens spell on!
Gregg: As Aubrey says, we do have a cover EP planned, as well as the covers we have already put out (The Knife's "Heartbeats" and Cocteau Twins' "Serpentskirt"). There are many bands that I would love to play with; Portishead would be a wonderful band to open for, as would The Cure. I'd love to play with My Bloody Valentine as well.

Which do you prefer, cd, vinyl or mp3?

Aubrey: For convenience and portability I love mp3s and other digital formats. Having music anywhere and everywhere, whenever I want it, is a supreme luxury. Though I still love the tangible aspect of compact discs - the fold-out or pull-out booklets and the artwork/design that goes into each little self-contained package. I can't seem to get rid of any of my hundreds of CDs...
Gregg: I have an absolute love of mp3s and digital music formats, but I will agree that the artwork and extras that come with vinyl and CDs add an experience to the music that mp3s just do not provide.

What do you listen when you're at home, on tour, right now…?

Aubrey: Currently on rotation in my headphones: Washed Out, Dustin O'Halloran, Massive Attack, Tricky, Robin Guthrie, iamamiwhoami, Ministry and Chelsea Wolfe.
Gregg: Motorama, Feeding Fingers, Current 93, Cold Cave, Massive Attack's "Mezzanine" and Jonsi's "Go". A lot of movie soundtracks as well.

Thank you so much for your time. Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
Aubrey: We hope you enjoy the music we make, and we hope to one day make it over to Croatia to play for you in person!
Gregg: Thank you so much for listening.

pedja // 13/10/2011


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