Ethereal duo Holy Golden chat to us about a nomadic life on the road, recording and writing music against a backdrop of ever-changing scenery.
Holy Golden is Los Angeles-based experimental duo Leslie Schott and Andrew Valenti - the two met on the island of Martha’s Vineyard during a lunar eclipse, when Schott, an actress visiting from Los Angeles wandered into a record store where Valenti was working. Valenti's band happened to be playing a show that evening, so he wrote down his band’s email address on a business card and gave it to Schott, inviting her to see his band that night - the rest is history. The pair began collaborating by sending music, photographs and videos back and forth between Martha’s Vineyard and Los Angeles, eventually, Valenti upped sticks and made the move to join Schott in the sprawling city, where the band officially began.
Since 2016, the duo's nomadic tendencies along with touring have kept them on the road and wandering, often they record onto a portable 8-track whilst travelling - the ever-changing landscape imprinting the music. Their debut LP Wax Castlewas released to critical acclaim and put out via Wallflower Records. Earlier this year following on from 2017's The Licking River EP, the pair released their second, Steve Rizzo (Belly, Kristen Hirsch) produced, LP Otherworld - a concept album inspired by a recurring childhood daydream of Schott's - recorded in a historic ballroom in Newport, Rhode Island.
Holy Golden have just released a new dreamy, tarot themed EP Sleepwalkers In The Milky Way - read our chat with them below.
GigList: We love the story of how you met on Martha’s Vineyard. Andrew, you’ve since moved to LA to join Leslie, via Brooklyn and back, do you miss small island life and peace or was it time for a change? Holy Golden: I definitely felt ready for a change. I'd always dreamed of living in big cities and having access to seeing shows, eating culturally diverse foods, and just feeling the energetic buzz you can only find in city life. I do miss quiet time with my garden and growing vegetables.
GL: Do you find being slightly nomadic and moving to new places inspiring? How much does location influence the music? Holy Golden: Traveling constantly shifts your perspective on the world and your role within it. We're almost addicted to travel at this point. The stories we gather become a big part of our music. Some of the visuals from the new EP were inspired by Renaissance history and architecture in Italy and France.
GL: Tell us a bit about the recording of your recent EP Sleepwalkers In The Milky Way, what was your favourite piece of studio equipment whilst making this record? Holy Golden: We actually recorded most of the album ourselves at a home in Cape Cod, MA on an 8-track recorder. The vocals, drums, and the acoustic title track were done at Machines with Magnets, as well as all the mixing. We found an Omnichord on craigslist that we had a lot of fun incorporating into a couple songs.
GL: Dream piece of equipment/gear, that you don’t already own? Holy Golden: Would love to play around on an original Roland TR-808.
GL: What were the themes running through this record? Holy Golden: Strength is the big one - not muscle strength but personal empowerment through accepting the different parts of yourself as a whole. Animal symbolism is also a huge theme. Animals can teach us a lot but it's not as revered as it was in ancient cultures, so we wanted to bring that to life. Every song on the album is based on a tarot card. Six of swords, Strength, Seven of Pentacles, The Sun, The Moon, Wheel of Fortune, and The World.
GL: We’ve really enjoyed the videos accompanying the tracks on the EP. Tell us about the feature-length film you hope to make? Holy Golden: We are building a film around our personal mythology that's set in a world of its own. Films like Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and Valerie and her Week of Wonders are inspirations. We like to marry beauty and fantasy with the shadow world.
GL: Fave place to hang out in Martha’s Vineyard, LA and Brooklyn? Holy Golden: Martha's Vineyard fave place to hang out is in the ocean swimming. Fave place in LA is for Leslie, the Korean day spa or at houses up in the hills. Brooklyn fave place was the porch outside our old apartment window in the morning which looked over a big backyard in Clinton Hill.
GL: Is there a music scene in Martha’s Vineyard? What’s it like? Holy Golden: It ebbs and flows and I honestly haven't been a part of it for a few years now. Growing up I felt very lucky to work at a record shop that brought a lot of interesting acts to the island. There are a lot of talented people living there who will always be making music and playing shows.
GL: What live acts with a great live show are you enjoying right now? Holy Golden: We saw Amen Dunes in Brooklyn this summer and he put on a really captivating show - also had the bonus of Delicate Steve on guitar in his band.
GL: Holy Golden dream support slot? Holy Golden: Lana Del Rey and Holy Golden tour would be supercharged and super dreamy!
GL: One album or track that the both of you would agree on? Holy Golden: Slide by the Goo Goo Dolls!