In talks with | Fool’s Gold
Fool’s Gold are a regular appearance on the Mint playlists; So when good friend of Mint, John Bell, got an exclusive interview with the LA based collective at their live show at The Bodega in Nottingham we were super stoked. Go John!
So tell us about the African influence in your music. Where did that interest come from?
It came from the home; the household. Both Lewis (my song writing partner and co-founder of the band) and I grew up listening to all different kinds of music. I definitely had a lot of different stuff going on in my house and being from a split heritage, my mum was always drawn to mixed sounding things. Things from far away and things that reached out of their own environment.
When you first started out as a band, were you nervous as to how people would react to it? Were you surprised at all that it got such a great reaction?
You know, when we started it was really not meant to be a band. We didn’t really think of it like that, it was really an experiment; a project. Lewis and I would kind of front these big jam sessions with tons of musicians. I think with where we were in our lives and the kind of spatial possibilities of Los Angeles and the different kinds of places you could play and set up, it just felt natural and unforced and cathartic. We never thought about it too much or constructed it. That was the spark, and I guess we had the confidence to try something different and didn’t think too much about it.
In any case it’s fair to say you’ve got a distinct sound-
Why thank you.
Why is the album, then, called ‘Leave No Trace’? Can you tell us more about the record?
It’s funny, this experience of living with music. We’d been on tour for basically 2 years non-stop and then we came home and we wrote this record really quickly, so I think one of the general themes of the album is this idea of life being very fluid and things constantly in motion. This sentiment ‘Leave No Trace’ spoke about us and our band and about what we’re doing: not worrying too much about what’s happened and just kind of trying to live in the moment. I guess that’s another thing we’re striving to do, no matter what the venue, trying to create a moment. People don’t typically read my lyrics but the title song in particular is a different, more personal angle on what that phrase means.
Most of the lyrics were previously written in Hebrew, and now they’re in English. Can you explain that transition? How has it affected the other aspects of your music, like the performances?
If anything, we’ve got more confident, more aggressive and even more into it. After making an album and becoming something out of nothing, there is a history and then you build on that history and you grow and evolve and ideally the sound that you make is more refined. I think singing in English was a part of that process, and I felt really drawn to take it to the next place: to utilise the approach to singing that I found with Hebrew and applying it to English. And it felt right. We’re playing pretty much half and half right now and it seems pretty seamless. Maybe when we started playing the new songs it may have been a little sketchy, but it really feels like everything fits together really well now.
Last night you played with Red Hot Chilli Peppers. How was that?
It was incredible. We’re on their tour right now. It’s a ten date UK tour, but we’re doing some small shows in between, so it’s awesome to have both.
What are they like?
They’re like the coolest bunch of people, and they’re from Los Angeles, so there’s an immediate connection between the bands. They’re also massive Lakers fans, which we are too, so there’s lots to talk about. I guess I’ll think back on it later but right now it feels really good.
By the nature of your music you must need a lot of energy, so what do you do to prepare for your live performances? Do you get nervous?
Oh yeah. Well lately we’ve been running around in circles and bumping into each other, it’s kind of like a sports event. An hour before the show we have our own things that we do then right before we go on stage we get in a huddle and do some breathing together. We’re getting more and more used to it though. When we first arrived here the first show was in Dublin, at the 02, and when I saw the room my heart was racing. But it’s funny how quickly human beings adapt, like now the space isn’t as shocking. Which is… shocking to me, y’know?
Lastly, what direction do you expect your music will go? Do you want to experiment with new cultures?
Well I think that we utilise a lot of different things. Obviously African music’s a big part of it but if you dig a little into it you’ll be able to hear some other stuff. There’s Brazilian tropicália, and there’s also Western pop and rock in there. But yeah, the whole aim for the band is to use a lot of stuff and I feel that every song is different in that way, and that’s kind of how we started. We try to do a lot of things at once, and I think the more we do it the more seamless and the more of our own sound we’re getting. But I think as far as the next record goes, it could really be anything. I guess that’s kind of exciting for us as musicians; it’s awesome because we’re allowed to experiment a lot.
Words John Bell.
‘Leave No Trace’ is available now on IAMSOUND records.