Interview: Born Gold to perform at The Bay Brewed 2012
November 28, 2012
Written by Tim Draut
Born Gold is all set to perform at The Bay Brewed 2012 this Saturday as part of a California mini-tour, and we couldn’t be more excited. Although the Edmonton-born experimental pop act is constantly evolving, project mastermind Cecil Frena is always behind the controls.
Formerly known as GOBBLE GOBBLE, the project’s first singles “Lawn Knives” and “Wrinklecarver” quickly caught the attention of the Internet in 2010 as the catchy, glitchy hyper-pop anthems burrowed deep beneath the skin and galvanized the bloodstream. As former band members ventured off to form projects such as Purity Ring and Kuhrye-oo, Frena embraced his creative rebirth and adopted the new Born Gold moniker, releasing the Bodysongs singles collection on Crash Symbols last year.
We recently caught up with Frena via email to discuss the current state of Born Gold, what to expect in the near future, and the reception of the act’s sophomore album Little Sleepwalker, which was released on audraglint in October (listen to the album cut “Sky Bicycle” below).
Hey Cecil, we’re very excited to have you back in San Francisco for The Bay Brewed. Can you describe your history with the Bay Area and how it feels to be returning?
Yeah absolutely! I lived on the Peninsula for just under a year right before I decided to do music full-time. At the time I had no friends at all in the area and it was kind of difficult. But the solitude was also really nice in its own way — I just drove up to Baker Beach a lot and wrote. Or I’d go to somewhere like Mighty by myself and dance alone. I eventually befriended the dudes from Weekend, Kites Sail High, Melted Toys, Old Arc and a few other artists towards the end of my stay. The very first singles that would eventually form Bodysongs were written in the Bay, and I still think San Francisco is one of the most beautiful places in the world – a little magic dust has settled everywhere.
You have described your second Born Gold album, Little Sleepwalker, as the inversion of its predecessor Bodysongs. Can you explain the amount of risk involved in giving the album a completely different tone?
I’m glad I took the risk! I knew the record would be divisive and the reasons someone might not like it are kind of obvious. But I also think my music has always been polarizing and will continue to be. A change of aesthetic from album-to-album is a drop in the pond.
(Listen to two more tracks off Little Sleepwalker, “Ferocious Body” and “Against Silence”, below.)
Since the project’s earliest incarnations as GOBBLE GOBBLE, the stage dynamic has been constantly evolving. Previous lineups have included the members of Purity Ring and Kuhrye-oo. Who will be accompanying you on tour this time around?
This is just a set of three California shows we’re doing (SF, Santa Cruz and LA), so it will be a pared-down lineup – it will be myself and Eric Cheng, who was with me on the tour we did supporting Grimes. We’ll be back again in the New Year with an expanded three-person show and some new tunes.
How has your live aesthetic shifted from your first San Francisco performance in 2010 to your current setup?
That very first performance would have been our “orgiastic dance carnival” phase. These three shows we are playing in California will be the last in our “disorienting cyberpunk controllerist performance art” phase. 2013 will bring something new.
One of the most exciting aspects of your shows is often the unique integration of costuming and instrumentation. Will you be wearing a special jacket to trigger samples using body movement, as you did during your Noise Pop performance earlier this year?
Yep, motion-detected midi manipulation will be front and center at this show. As front and center as something can be in the dark, anyway.
You have mentioned in past interviews that you are currently working on a third album. What’s in store for the future of Born Gold?
I started working on it during my stay in Arizona this summer. Production on the new record is now done, and right after the shows in California I’m heading to New York to mix it. It will come out sometime in 2013, so I’ll be talking about it then, but it is the most immediate stuff I’ve done: no Little Sleepwalker-style exploration on this one.
And finally, are any plans brewing to tour or collaborate with members from your crew of Canadian peers such as Grimes, Braids, or Elite Gymnastics?
Not at the moment. Everybody’s busy on their own grinds right now, plus a lot of us don’t play well with others.
(Listen to Born Gold’s debut album Bodysongs in its entirety below.)
Purchase your tickets now to catch Born Gold, along with Bear In Heaven, Sonny & The Sunsets, Blasted Canyons, James & Evander, and Trails and Ways, and unlimited beer tasting from 13 SF Brewers Guild breweries at The Bay Brewed 2012!