Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

New Album: Gold Medal Famous

‘New Album’ is where a band or artist answers some questions about their latest release. Up next is Gold Medal Famous, whose new album ‘Activity’ came out last month via Powertool Records in Auckland.

When/where was the new album recorded?
“Activity” was recorded between March 2016 and March 2017. It was recorded at Vorn’s (one of the members of Gold Medal Famous) flat in Mount Pleasant, Wellington.

Who produced/engineered the album? How did the tracks come together in the studio, or at home?
Gold Medal Famous recorded and engineered the album “Activity”. It was mastered by Daniel Mañetto in April 2017, at 0 Studios in New Lynn, Auckland. The tracks came together in Vorn’s home studio with Tamsin, Vorn and Chris working together. We used the “firing squad methodology” which is explained below in this quote from the liner notes:
“We created the sounds on this album on electronic devices that we each took turns to generate sounds then passed on the device to another member of the group. This generated a sound file library that we used as source material for the album. The sounds were then arranged into the songs you hear on this album. We do not which one of us originally generated the sounds that we arranged into the songs on this recording. Just as members of a firing squad do not know which one of them fired the fatal bullet.”

How did the songwriting happen? Are there any overall themes within the songs/album?
The songwriting was mostly done at same time as tracks were recorded. The album’s overall concept is about doing things – all kinds of things e.g. like buying a house, thinking and having a sick day.

Were you going for a different sound/approach on this album?
We limited ourselves to using only sounds captured in the “firing squad methodology”. We had about two and half hours of sounds in our sound library. I have a bunch of electronic instruments that we sampled as well as some instruments we borrowed from the Wellington Electronic Music Library.

Was there any specific gear you used to capture that?
We used quite unusual instruments. Here they are listed:
“Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator Arcade and Pocket Operator Rhythm, Stylophone Beatbox, Drone Lab*, Nebulophone*, ‘Rollz-5’ Percussion Synthesiser* (built by Pat Kraus) Thingamakit*, Moon Cake Noise Synthesizer* (built by Pat Kraus), Rucci Electronics 8-Bit Synthesizer, Rucci Electronics Drone Jar, Pickletech Mega Berkatron Pedal, M.A.S.F Ma.s Model OSC03, Electro-Harmonix RTG Random Tone Generator, Critter and Guitari Pocket Piano, Synthrotek Chaos NAND, TC Helicon voicelive, cell phone message of crowd noise recorded at the launch of Hit and Run by Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson published by Potton and Burton, 21 March 2017 at Unity Books, Wellington, human voice, music stand.”
*Instruments borrowed from the Wellington Musical Electronics Library.

Is there a particular single/track that you feel captures the essence of the album?
“We bought a house” because it’s about the now “newsworthy”(irony marks) activity of buying a house. New Zealand is definitely on the wrong track with newspapers full of “miracle” property stories about 25 year olds that bought a house because their parents gave them lots of money or they bought before the current housing crisis cranked up.

Is there a physical copy available? If not which digital platforms is it available on?
Yes the album is available on CD. It has a sweet cover image drawn by our friend Dr Geoffrey Roche and the album layout is by our friend Aaron Mackle. You’ll also be able to see the rear cover photo by Kalee Jackson and the CD tray photo by Dr Roche. The physical copy also contains notes about the songs, an album bibliography, a rider request and a stationary request. You can purchase a physical album here from our label Powertool Records.

Are you working on a video/videos for any of the songs?
We’re keen to do a couple of videos this year, starting with “We bought a house”.

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