With a handful of singles revealing a unique, moving sound that is hard to pin down, Watford alt band Gold Key are anything but predictable.
Latest offering Creep in Slowly is an eerie, pulsator of a track with falsetto vocals that could easily be straight from the throat of Matt Bellamy. But dig a little deeper into their singles, and you’ll find distorted Pixies guitars and heavy, screamo-led choruses juxtaposed with tinkling xylophones and heartfelt outpourings. It’s this dichotomy of sounds that make the band such an intriguing promise.
Comprising of members from Gallows, Sikth, Nervus and Spycatcher, the supergroup draw on progressive influences ranging from David Bowie to Pink Floyd, wrapped up in a a more contemporary and cutting package with overtones of Queens of the Stone Age and Radiohead.
Since bursting into our ears with Mess and Sneaker, they’ve received strong support from the likes of BBC Radio 1 Rock Show and Kerrang! Radio and are exciting fans with their brooding epics.
Listeners won’t have to wait long to devour the tunes in full, with debut album Hello Phantom set for release on 6 October via guitarist Laurent Barnard’s own label, Venn Records.
With all that going on, plus an upcoming tour with Arcane Roots, we caught up with Laurent for a quick-fire round of questions…
What was the first song you developed an obsession for?
My best friend at school had MTV and our early teens were spent soaking in all the newest alternative music videos. We both became obsessed with Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun video and I bought the cassette single. When Chris Cornell died recently, my parents even said to me, ‘we remember when you used to play Black Hole Sun on repeat.’ I still consider it one of the tracks that shaped my youth.
What’s the first gig you went to?
My first gig was Sleeper at Watford Colosseum. I think I had a bit of a teenage crush on lead singer Louise Wener. I actually ended up becoming bigger fans of the support acts Mansun and Silver Sun.
What’s the first instrument you ever got hold of?
When I was about seven, my parents made me get piano lessons. At the time I wasn’t too keen but I definitely got more into it in my later years. I always thought guitars were cooler.
What is your worst musical habit?
Not knowing enough about the technical aspects of my gear. I’m one of those, ‘I know what I like and I like what I know’ kinda guitarists. I couldn’t tell you what makes certain amps sound the way they do.
What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?
Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.
Where do you discover new music?
My friends feed me new music all the time. I run a label called Venn Records so I’m constantly being sent bands to check out.
What’s your favourite venue?
I love seeing gigs at the Old Blue Last in east London. I think it’s an exciting venue to be at, whether playing or watching. Anything goes there and to me that’s what’s important about live music.
Who is your current favourite band/artist?
I’m always listening to Mogwai. I feel they’re perfect whatever my mood.
What inspirations outside of music impact your songwriting?
Film and TV really inspire me. I create visuals in my head to the music I write. I love the combination of sound and vision, especially in film. Whenever I get the chance to work on short scores I jump at it!
What track of yours best represents your sound?
I think Hello, Phantom, the title track of the record, best represents Gold Key. It’s dark and slightly progressive but within the shadowy textures there’s a real beauty.
What’s next for you?
We’ve already started sharing demos of new songs for record number two. We always have ideas for new music and Gold Key is perfect as we’re keen to try new things all the time.
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Upcoming tour dates with Arcane Roots:
5 Oct – London, Scala
6 Oct – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
7 Oct – Manchester, Academy 3
8 Oct – Glasgow, King Tuts
13 Oct – Liverpool, Arts Club
14 Oct – Brighton, The Haunt
15 Oct – Bristol, The Fleece