By Lindsey Anderson
Tom Tom is thrilled to premiere Gold Dime’s video for ‘All We Have To Be Thankful For.’ Check out the video at the end of the interview we did with Gold Dime’s Andrya Ambro!
TT:What moved you to start Gold Dime?
AA: I think I just wanted to write songs. Specifically I wanted to write songs where I composed on guitar in addition to bass, drums and vocals. It felt like new terrain to me. In the past when I composed songs, I usually went to my synths for the melody. Although for all the songs I composed in the past and now, most melodies (whether they end up being played by the guitar, voice or other), start with my voice.
That said, Gold Dime did start off with me writing all the songs although I do not consider GD to be a solo project — it is a band that most often I lead. I was always 100% open to collaboration, and had hoped for that, but it was never right I suppose. I still remain open to it but as the project continues, the routine starts to thicken and is harder to break.
TT: Congrats on ‘Nerves’! What are some pieces of music, art, etc. that influenced the record?
AA: Thank you.
Music: Francis Bebey, The Velvet Underground, Orchestral Maneouvres in the Dark, Cymande, Laurie Anderson, Anne Clark, Faust & Nina Simone
Movies: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Art :Ralph Lemon’s performance works & Martin Creed’s performance works
TT: How long did it take to get to the final product of ‘Nerves’? What are some themes, aesthetics and/or sounds you knew you wanted to include when you first started making the album?
AA: It took me a very long time to finish ‘Nerves.’ I’d say a year and a half? I had been playing a good while with Adam Markiewicz (The Dreebs) and Lazar Bozic (The Sediment Club). Adam played bass and vocals and Lazar played guitar, both live and on the album. Aside — I also play guitar on the album. The songs felt tight so we decided to record.
I’d say it was the production that took quite a long time, which obviously plays into my sound aesthetics. Basically everything is double tracked on the album, like two separate takes (if not more), at least for guitar and vocals. I also manipulate everything a lot in Logic. So it’s a multitude of layering many, many tracks and sounds to create one guitar sound or one vocal sound. Drums too. Like the kick drum sound is probably the original recording of my kick drum while recorded in a live context with the band (recorded by Justin Frye) + overdubs of my floor tom + maybe the impact of throwing a chair, all combined for one moment of kick drum. And each separate facet of that one layer of kick drum is heavily affected. Sometimes it’s a pain staking process but I fucking love it. For bass, I generally leave it more natural. Think I’m still not sure what to do with those frequencies, or where they should sit.
A lot of these production ideas were initially inspired during the demo process as well. And the demo production process in Logic very much informs the arrangement and the overall sound of the song in general. And even though I love doing all these overdubs, the core of the recording is done live. This is essential.
Once recorded, it took me months to collect and make all the overdubs, sum parts down into stems and basically pre-mix everything before I brought the tracks to Jonny Schenke to mix. Despite the fact that I summed most tracks down, there were still a shit ton of tracks. All of which Jonny eventually was able to tuck into the mix quite nicely. Sarah Register then mastered the album (although her role went way beyond mastering).
Beyond production aesthetics and/or sounds, in general I’d say I usually like to make things feel minimal and maximal all at the same time. I love walking the line between aggression and intimacy. I love beats that drive for the whole song. I like bass lines that ground and dance. I do have a distaste for conventional guitar chords, of course there are exceptions. I guess whenever I play them they just sound sterile? Often I use diads. It’s simpler and feels less like a regimented box of notes. I like confrontational lyrics. I think I just want to make you feel something. Don’t we all?
TT: Did you have to balance your Gold Dime work with your Talk Normal work? If yes, how’d you go about doing that?
AA: No, I can’t say there was too much overlap between Talk Normal and Gold Dime. Here’s how it went down. In 2013, Talk Normal, my previous project with Sarah Register, was feeling like it could use a long needed breather (which we are still taking). I continued to write songs in the same way I always had, only I started to attempt to compose on the guitar and bass in addition to the drums and voice. Two of the songs on Nerves were actually written while Talk Normal was still active. I tried one out with Sarah but it didn’t feel right.
I think I just want to make you feel something. Don’t we all?
TT: If you were to describe Gold Dime to a new listener using colors, what color(s) would you choose and why?
AA: Black and White, and sometimes gray. If I had to pick a color color, maybe red… although I’m not sure why red feels cheesy in this scenario. I think I’d chose B&W because I like to think of this music as very direct. Not necessarily stark, but no bullshit. Red gives an intense inner lair vibe. That feels fitting for Gold Dime.
TT: Outside of studios, where are your favorite places to create music? Are there parks and/or coffeeshops you love to create in?
AA: Man, I wish I could create amongst nature. Like I respect nature, but I do not seek it out. I think inevitably I prefer the focus my studio brings. Four walls can be rewarding in that regard. Coffeeshops usually make me not like people (I say that nicely). Although I do like people watching. So if I have my headphones, and can get a seat on the subway, somehow that puts my brain in a malleable place.
TT: The video for your track ‘All we have to be thankful for’ is visually stunning. What’s the story behind the video concept? Out of all the tracks on ‘Nerves’ why did you decide to make a video for this particular track?
AA: Thank you. I love it too. Kameron Neal is responsible for the video in its entirety. The video totally captures the song. So, success! Kameron chose the song, as well as directed, shot and edited the video, and side note — also makes a guest appearance. I went to Kameron because I liked his videos. They are playful yet pointed. Before I toss this answer over to Kameron, it’s worth noting that the song, “All We Have To Be Thankful For” is a cover of the brooding spoken word artist and songwriter Anne Clark, of whom I am a big fan. Clark’s stark but dramatic words create a world-weariness to which I have long been attracted.
And now Kameron — “”All We Have To Be Thankful For” is the track I kept returning to while listening to Nerves. The way the somewhat pessimistic lyrics are reflected by the weight and texture of the instrumentation perfectly captured my mood at the time. I started to visualize that mood by creating textures in response to the grit of the track. From there, I used paint, foil, light and cellophane to build and distort an environment that’s influenced by the bleak but intimate world described in the song.” Check out Kameron Neal’s other work here
Post album release, what are your plans for Gold Dime for the rest of the year?
After our album release show this Saturday, June 3rd, we plan to do a “Tiny Nerves Tour” in a couple weeks + some other NYC shows this summer (all listed below). We will tour more extensively in September. Beyond that, play more shows, write new songs. Btw — the current Gold Dime line up has Jessica Ackerley on guitar and Ian Douglas-Moore on bass & vox. They’re both pretty sick.
Album Release Show!!!
6/3 — Alphaville w/ Hubble, Ritual Humor & Junkyard
Tiny Nerves Tour
6/15 — Baltimore, MD @ House Laser Fag (Rose, Paige & Lorenzo’s House) w/ Wume and Sweepstakes (solo set)
6/16 — NYC, C’mon Everybody w/ Multa Nox (Tape Release) & Wren Kitz + DJ Guerilla Toss
6/17 — Providence, RI, Machines with Magnets w/ Suicide Magnet + others
6/18 — Boston, MA, Studio 550 w/ Larkin Grimm, Aisha Burns & Solei
Summer 2017 Shows
6/10 — Fire Talk Northside Showcase @ Alphaville (daytime) w/ Weeping Icon, Media Jewelry & The Spookfish
8/12 — Union Pool Summer Thunder Series w/ Pill & Running
more to be confirmed…..
Be sure follow the Gold Dime Facebook page for more updates!