With a plate full of touring and a debut full-length on the horizon, the summer looks mighty busy for the boys in Such Gold. I sat down with vocalist Ben Kotin and guitarist Nate Derby during their run with Comeback Kid, Foundation and Living with Lions to talk about working with Steve Evetts, how the past year has been for the band and what exactly this new record is going to sound like.
How’s touring been going so far?
Ben: Tour’s been great. Every band has been enjoyable to watch every night and the shows have been awesome.
Nate: I love these bands. We’ve had a great time so far meeting everyone. The shows have been fucking awesome and a lot of fun to be doing.
Such Gold is a bit of a bridge between the sound of Living with Lions and Comeback Kid. How do you think that fact helps your appeal to the new crowd members you guys are playing to on this tour?
Ben: It’s cool. We get to play to a lot of different people that could potentially be into our band. We definitely see a lot of new faces.
Nate: Plus its a diverse tour, but not so much really. You’ve got the different acts of pop-punk and hardcore going on. People that come out for Lions hear us and are probably into it, and people who come out for Comeback Kid like us because like you said, it fills that gap between those two.
About a year ago, you guys played your first show ‘back’ with Ben at Bledfest. Do you feel like that show was kind of a restart button considering everything that’s happened in the past year – signing to Razor and Tie, announcing a full-length and such?
Ben: I don’t it was a restart button really, because we didn’t really stop for that long. We only took like two months off. That show back at Bledfest was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever played in my life. Just been truckin’ still since.
Nate: I think Ben’s right, but it was kind of refreshing. So much had happened, and people were worried about the future of the band. It was nice to show everybody that after everything that happened that we were still fucking more than willing and capable to keep pounding out the road.
You guys have been playing some of the songs off the full-length on this tour. How excited to show everybody everything that you’ve been working on with this full-length since you started writing and recording it?
Ben: We’re really excited. All these songs, we’re really proud of ‘em. It’ll be fun to get to play some new jams while out on the road.
Nate: Kids seem to be digging them. Some kids already know “Storyteller”, a couple kids sing along here and there, which is cool. The record’s not going to be out for a bit, so it’s excited to see some kids are paying attention.
How would you say what you’ve done is a progression of the EPs and splits that you’ve put out?
Ben: I think we have aspects on the full-length from each of those records, but the musicianship level has stepped up and it sounds better in my opinion [laughs]. You might think it sounds like shit, but we’re proud of it.
Nate: I think it was a number of factors. Working with Steve Evetts as a producer helped a lot. Just trying to hone us down into like a fine machine I guess and pump out a good sounding record. After writing ten or twenty songs as a band, your level of proficiency is going to go up. We’re writing more complicated songs, and the songs are more fun for us to play. Adding a lot of different elements, stuff that we haven’t been able to try and now we did it.
If you guys were going to compare what you guys have done to any bands, not including your own band, how would you this mixture kind of fleshes out?
Ben: Somewhere in between Hinder and Three Days Grace.
Ben: Probably the bridge between the two.
Ben: Yup [laughs].
Like you said, you guys worked with Steve Evetts. How was he the right fit for how you guys are as songwriters, and how do you think he helped push you guys and into this full-length?
Ben: We were very confident going in and working with him because he’s done tons of bands that have influenced us over the years. He helped us go one step at a time and not worry about the whole thing at once, made it easy to work with him.
Nate: He was a fun guy, he was knowledgable and helped us a lot with our technique and getting the best sound out of us playing. He learned a lot I think. The recording process is always difficult too. We’ve done it a number of times, but for [guitarist] Skylar [Sarkis] it was his first time in a major studio setting like that. For some of us, it would be more comfortable going into a setting like that. For others it wasn’t necessarily and it kind of made for a difficult process. But Steve helped a lot and in any way that he needed to. Just having him made sense.
Was it ever really daunting at some point? You guys have recorded seven or eight track EPs, but putting together a whole full-length...
Ben: Definitely. It was intimidating. But like we’ve been writing songs for a year. We originally were trying to record them months and months before hand. So we had some nice extra time to fine tune everything on our end. We were as confident as we could be though for something like this.
Nate: It kind of feels like forever that we’ve been playing some of these songs and the record still isn’t even out. Like Ben said, we spent a good year on the record.
It reminds me of bands I’ve talked to before, like Protest the Hero. They put out three full-lengths over a really long span of time. At a point, they’ve said they get tired of playing certain songs. Do you feel like you’ve gotten to that point with any of the songs you’ve written?
Ben: To some extent. Like after playing some of the new songs, we might say we like playing the new songs more. But those [older] songs are special to us. Those are the songs that got us where we are.
Nate: I’ll definitely say, I’m sick of playing some of the older stuff. Just some of the stuff off of Stand Tall mostly. We’ve been fucking with that record for what seems like forever now. It just seems like we have such a small catalog, we’ve been playing those songs for hundreds and hundreds of shows, you know what I mean? We’ll play our favorites from all of our stuff, but we’re slowly going to move into playing more of our newer stuff as any band should do as they progress.
You’ve said in various interviews that this is a hardcore band at heart. How do you think that idea manifests itself in the musical and lyrical content of this new record?
Ben: The music is mostly fast. Some of it is heavy. Songs are short.
Nate: The record is under thirty minutes and it is eleven songs.
Ben: I guess you’ll just have to listen to it to find out [laughs].
Nate: The way we set up the sequencing, it’s a little lighter and then slowly it gets a bit heavier and darker. I think sonically I think of us as a hardcore band because of the gear we use and the tones we use. Ben’s vocals, especially on the new record, are an emphasized scream, if you will. A lot of it sounds like it could be on a hardcore record though.
The details of this full-length have been muddy as they’ve come out. Has there been any particular reason for that?
Ben: Not necessarily.
Nate: Things keep getting pushed back. It’s taken us forever to do this record. It’s been a slow process. We’re just getting everything together. Once we have artwork, we’ll make a formal announcement about it. We’re kind of keeping it under wraps and mysterious if you will.
So there’s legitimately no release date or anything like that at this time?
Ben: It’ll be out in the summer.
Nate: I know a lot of kids were thinking April 10 because that was what we had set. But in typical Such Gold fashion I think that’s not happening. We’re just gonna wait... [laughs]. Hopefully by August.
Ben: We’ll announce it soon. We’ve been slowly moving it five days at a time each week. It’s been a real slow process.