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DATE OF INTERVIEW: 27th April 2018
Touted as "ones to watch" by the likes of BBC Radio 2 and Planet Rock Radio, Austin Gold delivered their widely acclaimed debut album, 'Before Dark Clouds', just last year. Blues-edged and with a contemporary/retro rock balance, it's been garnering some serious press attention. Metal Discovery's Dave Uphill quizzed these Peterborough newcomers about the album, influences, long term goals, and a whole lot more...
METAL DISCOVERY: The production on ‘Before Dark Clouds’ is first rate. How long did you spend in the studio and did you enjoy the recording process?
CHRIS: The recording process was great for us. We were tight on schedule with the vast majority of the album being recorded live. The whole band delivered under pressure and we were over the moon with the final product. The whole process was made easier by our producer, Andy Hawkins. The vibe in the studio was perfect which is why we were able to produce the album that we're so proud of.
(Chris Ogden on future ambitions for the band)
"I would like to see how our music goes down with an audience in an arena. I've always thought that our music needs to be played in big venues; it would suit it so well!"
Austin Gold - promo shot
Interview by Dave Uphill
Photograph copyright © 2017 - Olivia Johnston
Austin Gold Official Website:
Thanks to Sue Williams for offering and arranging the interview
Austin Gold Official Facebook:
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JACK: In total, we were in the studio for about 10 days. Most of the album was recorded live, altogether in the same room. Vocals, solos and a few overdubs (percussion, acoustic guitar, etc.) were all that was needed, so the process was actually very quick for a full album.
MD: Is there anything you'd like to try on the next album (i.e. direction/style/technique) that you didn't get to on ‘Before Dark Clouds’?
RUSS: We will basically continue to write what we feel are great songs but we can’t digress too much from the blues rock category we’re in - not at this stage, anyway. We can experiment a bit more a few albums down the line.
JACK: I think, for the second album, we are spending more time in pre-production. We are wanting to make more of the production decisions before we get into the studio, this time. Hopefully, that will give us more time to get the very best out of our performances and come out with an album even stronger than our first. That being said, we don't want to change our approach too much as it worked for us once. "If it ain’t broke, don't fix it!"
MD: Are there any timescales for the second album? Or do you try to avoid the pressures of working to deadlines?
LEE: We’ve been told there’s no pressure. But we like to move forward and we’ve been working on material which goes into pre-production this summer, with a view to recording late summer.
CHRIS: There's a lot less time pressure with this second album now we have the backing of our label, Jigsaw. As a band, we sat down and discussed the way we wanted to go about the second album. We all agreed that the process of the first album worked so well, so we won't be changing too much.
JACK: No definite timescale on the second album as we feel there is still good mileage in the first! However, we don't want to keep our fans waiting too long and we are talking about getting back into the studio later this year.
MD: When you're writing a track, what comes first, words or music? Either way, do you try to ensure that one reflects the other?
DAVE: I generally write the music first, as that can depict the mood or vibe of the song. I find writing the lyrics easier once I've got a chord structure with a melody, the lyric content just flows. Darker subject matters are easier to explore, the imagery comes quicker and there's certainly dark moments on the album with pockets of light. I suppose a comparable of this would be between 'Home Ain't Home' and 'See the light'.
JACK: Writing is definitely a Dave thing. The rest of the band have the role of making what Dave has brought in sound like an Austin Gold track.
MD: Where would you like to see the band in five years’ time? Do you have long-term goals?
CHRIS: Personally, I would like to see how our music goes down with an audience in an arena. I've always thought that our music needs to be played in big venues; it would suit it so well!
RUSS: I’d like to see us continuing to enjoy our music while also making a living from it - what could be better?
JACK: I'd just like to see the band still together in five years’ time! We all get on great so there is no reason for that not to happen. I think we all want the same thing and that is just to be doing Austin Gold and not have to worry about anything else.
MD: What are the band's musical influences outside of rock music?
RUSS: We have an eclectic mix of influences - everything from blues to pop. But we all appreciate good writing and exploring ways to make the music interesting.
CHRIS: Individually, we all listen to a huge variety of different music but, as a collective, we all love the same kind of stuff. Audioslave is a current favourite in the van, on the way to gigs.
JACK: Everyone has their separate influences, that’s what makes us sound like us. Chris comes from a pop background, Lee from a more metal background and everyone else floats around in all genres. Hell, one of my favorite albums is Dr. Dre 2001!
MD: What's the best venue you've played to date?
RUSS: Probably the Peterborough Beer Festival and Cambridge Junction 2, although we’ve had some great times at Charters and the Brewery Tap in our home town of Peterborough and at the Blues Bar in Harrogate. We’re looking forward to the King King support slots and the Key Theatre in Peterborough, as they will be sell out shows in cool venues.
CHRIS: We have a great local following in Peterborough and we were extremely humbled to sell out one of the best venues in town, the Key Theatre. We will be playing there on 28th July this year.
JACK: Best venue is tough one, as I enjoy most venues we play. I think Cambridge J2 is a great little venue.
MD: What venue would you most like to play?
RUSS: In terms of history, the Royal Albert Hall. But, for sheer enjoyment of rocking a big crowd, the O2 or Glasto.
CHRIS: The Royal Albert Hall would be a very special to play as a band.
MD: How did it feel getting airplay on stations such as Planet Rock?
DAVE: Absolutely fantastic! It’s cool to drive along then suddenly hear your music being played.
CHRIS: The support we have had from Planet Rock and other stations has been amazing. It's opened up our audience and meant that we're seeing new faces at our gigs - that's what it's all about.
JACK: Feels great! It's cool to get messages from people saying: "Hey, I just heard you on Planet Rock". There’s nothing like getting in the car, turning the key and hearing yourself coming out of the radio. That happened a couple of times and I loved it!
MD: With such airplay etc., does it feel like the momentum’s starting to pick up in terms of recognition for your band and music?
CHRIS: Definitely. We still have a long way to go and will continue to push ‘Before Dark Clouds’. With every bit of airplay, someone new listens to our tracks.
JACK: Of course. We still have some huge mountains to climb to really get our music heard but we feel like it’s pushing forward quite nicely.
MD: What's the music scene in Peterborough like? Are there any other up-and-coming bands to follow in your footsteps?
RUSS: It’s pretty healthy for cover bands but we could do with a few more venues supporting original music. I hear a local act Burning Codes are doing well.
CHRIS: The original music scene in Peterborough is fairly small but there's some great bands coming through. Idolising Nova are about to support The Vamps which is great and it’s cool to see Peterborough bands getting out there. Our guitarist, Jack, produced their record.
JACK: The music scene in Peterborough is a tough one. It is not a university town so we don't have the wealth of venues or young audiences that others do, but we have some very talented musicians.
MD: What’s the best album you've heard in the last year?
RUSS: ‘FEAR’ by Marillion - edgy, varied and very topical at the moment. Took me a while to get into it but it’s grown on me.
JACK: Toughy. I recently shared a cottage in Scotland with Xander & The Peace Pirates. Got listening to their stuff and am loving it. Keith has a killer voice and is a great player!
CHRIS: Foo Fighters, ‘Concrete and Gold’. The Foos are a massive influence to us and they continue to produce amazing records, time and time again.
MD: What musicians do you most admire?
RUSS: I admire musicians who are multi-instrumentalists - Geddy Lee, Dave Grohl etc. But also, those who are masters of their particular instrument. For keys, that’s Jordan Rudess, Rick Wakeman, and Lachy Doley on Hammond organ.
JACK: I admire so many musicians. John Mayer is a huge influence on me so let’s just go with him, for now.
CHRIS: I most admire musicians that get out there and play. Learning any instrument is hard but, if you really put in the time and effort, you will be rewarded. Anyone that is prepared to commit and put effort into their instrument, I massively admire.
DAVE: So many…the Beatles, Gerry Rafferty, Hendrix - I could be here all day! Love the music of the 70s!
MD: What figure from history do you most admire?
RUSS: Fish, Marillion. Unique voice and superb lyrics.
JACK: Freddy Mercury. Done.
MD: What decade would you have liked to have grown up in?
RUSS: The 1970s. I did. It was fantastic. You could say whatever you liked and no-one gave a toss!
JACK: I liked growing up in the 90s. That may not be a popular answer but, hey, it’s all I know and I enjoyed it.
DAVE: 70s. Nuff said!