Thursday, 18 June 2015
Such Gold | Interview
At the start of May, Such Gold embarked on another run of the UK and Europe which also included performances at Groezrock and Slam Dunk. We spoke to bassist Jon Markson and also vocalist/ guitarist Ben Kotin about The New Sidewalk, touring and English food...
HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY?
Jon: I'm doing good.
HOW HAS THE TOUR BEEN GOING SO FAR?
Jon: In the UK, we've played Kingston, Norwich and Nottingham but we started the tour at this festival called Groezrock in Belgium which was super awesome. It's not everyday that we get to play to 2,000 really excited kids and adults and it was a really good time. We're four days into the tour but we've been overseas for about a week now so we're finally getting over jetlag.
ARE YOU EXCITED TO PLAY SLAM DUNK?
Jon: Yeah, we've got the offer to play Slam Dunk three times but this is the first time we've been able to take the offer. We're looking forward to it. Apart from last night, I don't want to call anyone out, but we were like 'we're going to play Slam Dunk, is that cool?' and a couple of people at the back were like 'meh' but we're really excited. I love festivals, I think festivals are awesome because A) everyone's having a good time B) they treat bands really well and C) fans treat bands really well, better than at club shows generally.
YOU GUYS RELEASED THE NEW SIDEWALK LAST YEAR, ARE YOU STILL LOVING IT?
Jon: Yeah we love it, it's awesome.
DO YOU LISTEN TO IT?
Jon: Not anymore but we did for a while and we were really excited to have finished it. We were working on it for a long time so I think the honeymoon period is over. We don't really put it on in the van anymore but we're still really excited about the material. I think as far as being in a band and being able to play the songs live, they're definitely the most fun songs to play live. They test us as musicians and now, learning some of those songs from the album live, has been a really good experience for the band because we've really had be able to consistently enact what we recorded on stage and that's a fun exercise. Sometimes I listen to The New Sidewalk on bandcamp on my phone and then bandcamp tells me that I should pay for it.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE SONG FROM THE NEW SIDEWALK?
Jon: It changes all the time. Right now it's Frying In The Mix probably just because we don't play it live. It was Food Court Blues for a while.
BEFORE A SHOW DO YOU STILL GET NERVOUS?
Jon: It depends, sometimes. When I get nervous it's not for any particular reason. It's just like once in a while I'll feel a little funny. Sometimes before our set I try and get myslef a little hyped up and feel a little amped and nervous but I don't really get butterflies before playing. I really like performing so I'm always really excited to do it and not so much anxiety about messing up. When we first started to tour, maybe the first couple of time, it's like 'are we going to be able to do it, okay we did it, it's fine'.
HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU STARTED TO LEARN BASS?
Jon: Like 11 or 12. I started playing guitar in bands and recording music around 11. I started playing guitar, I got a little eight track so I could record myself fucking up on guitar, and then I wanted to add bass parts to it and I didn't know anyone who could play bass. I didn't start playing bass seriously in bands until Such Gold but I love the bass more than I love guitar now. A lot of people who end up playing bass in punk rock bands, sometimes they end up playing the bass like a guitar. But I just really love the bass, I love being in that register, being all the way down underneath everything and it's really cool. I think it's a really cool instrument.
HOW DO YOU FIND BEING ON TOUR?
Jon: I love it.
PPUK: We're jealous we want to go on tour.
Jon: Do merch or be a tour manager. Just as important to the band on tour are the people who are working for the bands on tour, like literally equally important. Especially for American bands in the UK or in Europe because it's like 'I am not going to drive a car on the opposite side of the road, no way, I hate it'. I hate the idea of it so if we didn't have drivers and people working for us it would be impossible. I love the UK, I love England. The cities are beautiful. I love how all the cities have really open town areas. I live in New York City and everything's really blocky. I like New York City a lot but it's cool to go abroad and see like these really old cities that have had to modernise a little bit.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ENGLISH FOOD?
Jon: I like the food but it's kind of heavy. Breakfast is heavy but I kind of like it.
(Ben walks in)
Jon: What do you think of the food here?
Ben: It's good.
Jon: Do you like English breakfast?
Ben: I love English breakfast. I like pretty much everything, I don't like Indian food which is big here but I can deal. There's plenty of stuff I can eat here.
Jon: I like Wagamama.
Ben: Wagamama is cool. I like Sunday carveries.
Jon: I approve of English breakfast. We had kind of an English breakfast this morning that was served by this guy, he didn't want to give it to me though.
Ben: He didn't like Jon.
Jon: I asked for beans on my sandwich and he was like '(laughs) beans?'
Ben: He was literally like 'you're asking a lot of me'.
DO YOU FIND ENGLISH PEOPLE RUDE?
Ben: Sometimes. But it's just like anywhere. Not in general though.
Jon: We live in one of the rudest places in the world. People are rude to each other all the time.
Ben: We're used to it.
Jon: French Canada is the rudest place on the planet.
Ben: That's not where we're from.
Jon: I know but I'm just saying. As an example, French Canada is the rudest place. Agree or Disagree?
Ben: I don't know. It's pretty fucking rude. It's like 'hey, can I borrow your lighter?' turn around and smoke crack.
Jon: That actually happened one time.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO TOUR?
Ben: Anywhere warm that we can skate
Jon: Japan, the UK and Germany and also the East Coast and the West Coast. Also Belgium and also Australia. So pretty much the world. We don't like touring on the moon. We did a show on the moon.
Ben: A simulation moon. Sim moon 9.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE BAND TO TOUR WITH?
Jon: We have a great time with Transit. We are most inspired by A Wilhelm Scream, we our most educated by Strung Out. The Story So Far showed us incredible amounts of kindness.
Ben: Possibly the best shows.
Jon: Comeback Kid are the coolest dudes ever and they make us feel cooler than we are. That's a good five. Transit we drink a lot, A Wilhelm Scream we drink a lot and they kick our asses in music. The Story So Far are the most hospitable.
HOW DO YOU BOTH KEEP YOUR VOICES INTACT ON TOUR?
Jon: We haven't.
Katrin (Such Gold's tour manager): That's a good joke.
Jon: We fellate each other and that's how we keep our voices intact (laughs). We 69 all day.
Ben: It helps clear the throat.
Jon: Especially if you deep throat it. We're probably not the best people to ask.
DO YOU GUYS LISTEN TO THE TYPE OF MUSIC YOU PLAY?
Jon: Definitely. I think the bands we all like together tend to be in our field. We do listen to different music a little bit but the bands that we all enjoy together are like Propagandhi and A Wilhelm Scream, technical punk bands. Ben listens to grindcore in his spare time, Nate listens to stoner metal, Matt listens to Reggae, I listen to mathrock. We all listen to shit together but the stuff we really listen to together is aggressive technical punk rock.
Ben: And smooth jazz.
Jon: We also love Frank Sinatra together. We actually just bought a Frank Sinatra Christmas album.
Ben: On one of our tours of England someone actually asked who our influences are and I said The Rat Pack and they asked my to leave the interview. They were not pleased.