Such Gold

Rochester, New York pop punk band Such Gold are one of the fastest rising bands in the pop punk scene right now, and after recording a new six song EP last month, the band is only going to be on the rise. The whole band collectively answered some questions for us in between their busy schedule.

Let’s start off by stating who is in the band and what they play, and the album that gets played the most in the van?

Ben Kotin – Vocals
Nate Derby – Guitar
Devan Bentley – Drums

Devon Hubbard – Bass/Vocals

Tim Heald – Guitar/Vocals

We definitely don’t have just "one album" that gets played the most – I’d say the records we listen to most in the van are: The Swellers – ‘Ups and Downsizing’, Propagandhi – ‘Supporting Caste’/’Today’s Empires…’, Polar Bear Club – ‘The Redder The Better’/’Chasing Hamburg’, Young Jeezy – ‘Thug Motivation 101’, The Progress – ‘Merit’, Hot Water Music – ‘A Flight and A Crash’/’Caution’/’The New What Next’ and Attack In Black – ‘Marriage’.

Can you tell us a bit about how the band formed? Who the band’s main influences musically?

We formed officially at the end of 2008 after the breakup of Heavy Hearted, which Nate and Devon played guitar and bass in respectively. Nate and original Such Gold vocalist Kyle Chapman had some songs written and were ready to start the project up again once Nate had the time; Tim (Kyle’s cousin) and the Dev’s were excited about the songs and wanted to be a part of the project. Eventually we decided as a band that Kyle wasn’t quite our guy for vocals; Tim knew Ben through a band they had been in together (Blunt Force Trauma). We brought Ben in for one practice and instantly knew that he would be perfect.

Our main influences are bands like Saves The Day, Hot Water Music, The Progress, Propagandhi, A Wilhelm Scream, At The Drive In, Ambitions, Transit, and Damiera.

How would you describe the band’s sound to someone who has never heard the band before?

Fast, intense, passionate melodic pop-punk with elements of modern hardcore and modern indie rock. For us the sound is basically our attempt at re-creating some of the best moments and elements of our favorite bands.

Mightier Than Sword Records released the band’s latest release “Stand Tall” last year. Can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process of that EP?

The songwriting process for that record was very sporadic…two of the songs "You Always Know What’s Best" and "Four Superbowls, No Rings" were written by Nate and Kyle as early as 2006, but never came into full fruition until Such Gold was formed. We reworked them with Ben on vocals and finished writing "Greatest Comeback". Those three songs became our demo, which we recorded in March with Steve Sopchak at the Square Studio in Marcellus, NY. A week after the demo was put up on Myspace, we had an offer from MTS to do a full EP. We agreed, wrote two songs ("Stand Tall" and "What’s Left Of You) in the course of a weekend and went back to the Square Studio to finish up the EP.

Although all the songs are distinctively "Such Gold", we have three members that are great songwriters so we have a lot of different ideas to play around with when we sit down to write. To be honest we didn’t have to do too much racking our brains for ideas for any of the songs. Everything just kind-of "came out" naturally. We’d show up to practice, fool around with some riffs or rhythm ideas and with very little effort we managed to turn them into the songs we play today.

What was the reaction like to that EP? How well was it received?

The reaction has been extremely positive. People seem to have nothing but good things to say about ‘Stand Tall’. I think we’ve honestly seen maybe ONE poor review so far. And regardless of what the critics are saying, the kids love it. I think we’re past the point of counting on our hands the number of shows we’ve done in cities we’ve never played where we have no idea what to expect and it ends up being a huge show for us because there’s 15-30 kids singing the words and going off for us. We can’t even tell you how exciting that is for us. And the kids that don’t know us see that we’re getting a reaction and they say, "Wow, this band is awesome. I want to be a part of that." We hope that they buy the record or a t-shirt at the show but even if they went home and downloaded the record for free we’re still happy. We just want the music in the kids hands at any cost.

The label pressed the EP on vinyl as well as CD. Do you think vinyl still has a purpose in today’s music scene?

Nate and Devan are big into vinyl collecting (Nate easily has the biggest collection of anyone), so it was very important to us to have the record pressed onto vinyl. Vinyl is a huge part of the music market these days. Nate nine times out of ten will not buy a band’s album unless he can get a copy on vinyl.

We put a lot of effort and money into the packaging of both the CD and 7" to make it worth picking up a physical copy. We feel like the physical format is an extension of the band. When kids buy the CD or 7" at a show, we want them to feel like they’re taking a piece of Such Gold home with them. Regardless I think it’s pretty much been decided that every release we do absolutely HAS to be on vinyl, so expect much more wax from us in the future.

You have just recently announced that you have signed with 6131 Records. How did this deal fall into place?

The deal fell pretty much into place the same way as the Mightier Than Sword deal. We released ‘Stand Tall’ in August ’09, started touring a bunch to support the record, the hype built up, and 6131 took notice. 6131 has only put out hardcore bands and he was very interested in working with a pop-punk band, as he is a huge fan of the genre, so he contacted us about doing another record. We agreed that we wanted to do another EP before we went all out with a full-length; 6131 Records will be handling all formats of the record: CD, 7" vinyl, and digital.

What made the band decide that 6131 was the label to go with?

6131 just felt right. We love working with hardcore labels. We still consider Mightier Than Sword to be a hardcore label. Even though most people would probably consider us a pop-punk band first, we think of ourselves as a hardcore band at heart. I think this is why we’ve more attached ourselves to the "melodic hardcore" genre, as it encompasses a good mix of both hardcore, pop-punk and other genres.

Genre’s aside – we’re super excited about working with 6131 Records. Joey, who runs the label, is a great, hardworking dude with lots of friends in the scene. He’s holding it down hard on the west coast. He’s going to do our new EP right. We knew that from the start and that’s why we decided to work with him.

You will be heading into the studio next week to record a new EP. Can you tell us a bit about the new EP?

The EP is 6 songs of our brand of melodic hardcore/pop-punk and will be titled ‘Pedestals’. We spent 10 days in Woodstock, MD (outside of Baltimore) at "The Mansion House" – a studio built by head engineer Nik Tyler in the home he lives in with his girlfriend, Kate. The home was given to them by Kate’s parents, and it is the perfect setting for recording bands. We’re typing up this interview from the couch in the sun room, overlooking a huge kitchen and living-room setup. We have a whole wing of the house to ourselves to sleep and shower, and there’s a bar and movie theatre in the basement, down the hall from the main control room. Our producer Greg Altman and engineers Nik and Josh are our new best friends. We had the time of our lives recording here.

We’re on tour right now (with We Are The Union) and stopped at the studio on our day off to relax and rejuvenate and do some touch-ups on the recording, which is exactly what we needed after spending our days and nights crammed into our tiny van.

Has the band’s sound progressed much since “Stand Tall”?

There is a huge progression in our sound. We’ve all experienced a lot and grown a lot as musicians since ‘Stand Tall’ was wrote and recorded, and it shows in our new music. The songs reflect the experiences we’ve had as a band, both good and bad. We feel that the new EP is definitely is going to stand out above the hordes of mediocre pop-punk/hardcore bands out there today, and is going to blow everyone away. We love it, we think it’s amazing, and now it’s almost time to unleash it on the world. There are two guest vocalists on the record that should definitely turn heads as well, but we’re keeping those to ourselves for the time being.

When can we expect this EP to be released?

Well the plan is to have it out by the end of July, preferably before our tour out to Sound & Fury Festival in Santa Barbara, California. Anything can happen between now and then, but we’re putting in the work to get it out before August.

You have covers of the classic Movielife songs “I Hope You Die Soon” and “10 Seconds Too Late” up on your MySpace page. What is the go with these covers? Are they going to be given a proper release?

Your guess is as good as ours. Mightier Than Sword paid for us to record those songs at The Square Studio with the purpose of them being released on a Movielife cover compilation to be put out by Little Heart Records. Last I heard it was going to be out by Christmas. So that comp is probably not happening. MTS owns the rights to the recordings so I’m sure they will see some kind of release.

What is your favourite tour the band has been a part of so far?

I think we all can agree that this tour (Wonder Years, We Are The Union) has been our best tour yet. We met a lot of amazing people, played a lot of great shows, and a lot has happened for the band since we left home. We’ve made countless new memories. We’re officially working with Black Iris Booking now so there are many more great tours in the works, including our next tour with Latin For Truth which meets up with our tour with A Loss For Words and Transit, two of the best and most hard-working pop-punk bands out today.

What is the best show you’ve played so far this year? And the best show you’ve attended this year?

This is definitely an easy one. El Paso, TX. Wonder Years, We Are The Union, Such Gold locals at the Naylair. 90 kids packed into a punk house living room. It was hot as fuck, kids were doing circle pits and huge pile-ons in the room while we were playing, and there’s at least 20 singing along in a city we’ve never played, in a state we’d never been in. Totally unreal experience.

Nate: Devan and I went and saw H20 and the Swellers in Buffalo recently – that was a pretty awesome show. Got to see one of my new favorite bands (the Swellers), and hardcore legends H20 in the same night. I’m also looking forward to Snapcase in Buffalo on May 8th if I can scrounge up the cash.

Do any of you play in any bands besides Such Gold?

Nah, this is all we have time or money for. However, Ben has been writing a lot of solo material. He has a song coming out on a compilation soon, but we don’t have any solid details on that yet.

Who are some of the best new bands you have seen lately that we should be checking out?

There’s a few really solid bands that we’re stoked on right now….the Swellers, Heartsounds, The Flatliners, Into It. Over It., Polar Bear Club, Like Wolves, Soul Control, Daylight, Transit, We Are The Union, A Loss For Words, Latin For Truth, Go Rydell, The Story So Far, Touche Amore, Bike Tuff, Maker, Late Nite Wars…the list goes on.

Does the band currently have any plans to come to Australia?

We would love to – I know a company called DPB Touring contacted us about coming to Australia. I think they are the company that did Daylight’s Australian tour. The main issue is money, really. We can’t afford to buy a legit van to tour in, let alone fly across the fucking world to Australia, ya know? Hahaha…

It will happen. Hopefully we can come out as part of a package within the next year so that we can actually afford to do it and we make sure we can get as many kids out to the shows as possible.

What are the band’s plans for the rest of 2010?

Touring, touring, anddddddd more touring. We’re on tour right now and plan to pretty much be doing this for the rest of the year. We have about 40 days off between May and June then we tour out to Colorado with Latin For Truth to meet up with A Loss For Words and Transit. That tour runs until July 4th – we’ll be home for about a week and then we’ll be touring out to California and back for Sound & Fury Festival and to support the new EP. We’re hoping by the time the AL4W tour hits and S&F Fest is done we’ll be confirming our tours for the Fall. I think we’ll be taking December off to write (unless we get a huge tour offer, haha), and the plan is to record a full-length in Jan/Feb and spend Summer 2011 supporting it on the road.

Nate: This is our lives now. We’ve sacrificed so much in the last year (mostly in the last 6 months) to get to where we are and there’s no point in stopping now. We know we have a lot of incredible things in store for us and the thought of those potential opportunities are what keeps us going through all the tough times. I have "Stand Tall" tattooed on my ankles for a reason. The only thing that can stop us is death.

Thanks’ for doing the interview, any last words or shout outs?

Thank you! We want to thank everyone that has supported us this tour, come out to the shows, sang along, gave us a place to stay, brought us food, etc. Shout-outs to The Wonder Years, We Are The Union, and RJ and Joey from MTS Records and 6131 Records respectively. Peace!

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