On The Road: An Interview With John Gold
John Gold, Florida native, has been making music since he was 17. Though a California-based counterpart of his has seen more “mainstream” successes, he’s persisted to become a very notable folk artist, in spite of trials, tribulations, and the weight that comes with believing your dreams can happen. As a touring musician, he’s seen much of North America and England, and has developed an intimate and personal connection with his fans. The two “rivals” are actually good friends, and reflect two sides of the same coin; great stories and moving tunes that define individuals and set a soundtrack for the lives of young people. What’s important to them, what inspires and drives them, are different on an individual basis. So we sat down with the Floridian to talk about what that means to him.
Fameless Quarterly: There are two really deep tracks that I found astoundingly personal – “Completely At Ease,” and “Thirty Kids A Year For Life.” Were those real stories from your life, or just something metaphorical to play on with the central theme?
John Gold: One evening in early 2011, I surprised my friends who were having a party a few miles from my house with a laptop and a USB mic. I cornered a few of them and asked them to speak about their most life changing realizations. I was not prepared for what they had to say. The entire album is a work that I hope individuals will feel extremely personal about– that is the reason I requested that they introduce themselves as John Gold. I wanted to make it clear to those who listen to this album that they have the full right to make themselves the main character; these are your songs, and your ideas, this is your album, and your pathway to follow.
FQ: Over the course of listening to this album, I felt like you have a real connection to young people, and that drive to inspire isn’t uncommon among musicians, but if there was one important thing you could tell your audience that they would take away from the whole span of your career, what would it be?
JG: You just have to keep going if you ever want to arrive at your destination, and some of the furthest points are often the most desirable to be at. You’re going to get overwhelmed though, I was freaking out about my career tonight, but my father gave me wise words. He told me that Amazon was founded in 1995 and remained in the red for eight years before they began to turn a profit. This really spoke to me, because as of this year I have been performing and working towards my dreams for seven years. I am going to walk this path with all of the strength and vigor I posses, and it will be worth all the time and effort I have put into it, if just one person’s life is changed irreparably for the better in the process. In the end, you must be satisfied with your life. Often you will by necessity have to take a detour, but perhaps it will lead you to an even better vantage point. Believe that you will receive it, and you will. It’s just that simple.
FQ: For the sake of argument, you could say you’re in the realm of folk music. That culture of road worn life is sort of inherent with that genre, would you say touring is a big part of what you do?
JG: The reason that I usually identify myself as a folk artist is because the definition of folk is as follows: ‘of or relating to the traditional art or culture of a community or nation.’ To me, my community or my nation is essentially just myself. Folk music is the songs of my heart, in my native tongue, brought about by my experiences. If I could place a genre unto myself I think I’d go with “nonfiction,” because that is what folk music is to me– truthful, raw, straightforward and expressive music. Last year I toured for 140 days covering both coasts, including over 20 states and two Canadian provinces. I traveled alone the entire time, and I can say that it was the most defining experience of my entire life. It felt like something I had been waiting to do since my birth. I decided to do the whole thing by myself, and when you are alone for hours and days, often not speaking to anyone for extended periods of time you begin to understand who you really are.
FQ: Having seen all you’ve seen since you started playing and touring, how do you feel about where the music industry, and by extension the bands who make up both the mainstream and the underground, are heading and how they’ve been faring?
JG: I would love to secure a record deal. Being able to provide for myself and my family through music has always been my goal, and I have nothing against those who have tried to do the same and have accomplished more than me. I do not however enjoy a lot of the mainstream music I hear because it propagates a mindset and lifestyle that is frankly detrimental to anyone who abides by it. These people are exalted and all they do with their power and influence is convince people to focus on and emulate all the things in life that don’t matter. It’s a shame.
FQ: What would you say, if you had to pick one, would be your favorite song off this album?
JG: “Bluebird (~670–610 THz)!” Arthur Unknown was recorded in two parts between May-November 2011 and May-November 2012, and is a piece about birth and death within a life. Each half of the record details a way of life in and of itself. “Bluebird” recounts much of what caused my old life to cease to exist, in the perspective of hindsight. I’m overall very pleased with how genuine and dynamically diverse the piece is. Also, it’s seven minutes long, and I’m sucker for taking my time.
FQ: Did the amount of energy and intensity you give on each track come easy to you, or was it something you sort of had to develop as time went on from your first album to this one?
JG: I’m glad you asked! Over the past couple of years my life has changed drastically, and I am no longer burdened by so many things that I once was. I used to be very discouraged, but as I eliminated the fear out of my life, my burden became lighter. I think that’s the chief reason for my energy and intensity. I’m not weighed down by this world any more, and I am so thankful for the life I live today that I will expend every amount of strength and vigor I posses for what gave it to me, you dig?
We dig, John. You can check out more of John Gold’s music at johngoldflorida.bigcartel.com, johngoldflorida.bandcamp.com, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/johngoldflorida. Or follow him on instagram and twitter: @johngoldflorida