By contributor Jennifer Garceau
There’s some chatter on the horizon about a night out at the Port Theatre featuring up-and-coming BC bands We Are The City, The Wild Romantics, and Gold & Shadow. We wanted to get a sneak peek at what’s in store for May 14 and sat down with Nanaimo’s own Gold & Shadow.
Navigator: Do you have a good story behind getting together as a band?
Dane Letourneau: We met at church. We were a bunch of church boys rehearsing in the basement. After rehearsal we would get a little wild—shirts would come off and amps would go up. Some of us really wanted to make the same kind of music as each other, atmospheric and beautiful music.
Jesse Janzen: Primarily, I was really into metal, and Dane was into U2 and Radiohead. Dane introduced me to so much music. He really spearheaded the whole thing.
D: What’s cool about that environment is there are so many mentors around. I would never have had the courage to get up and play the electric guitar in front of people if it weren’t for the guidance and mentorship.
You have a new album, TORCH, just out. Tell us about the creative process.
D: Well it’s finished, but it isn’t out yet. It will not be officially released until the fall. People in Nanaimo might have some early access to it though.
J: Some of the songs are new, one is a re-recording of a single already released. Gold & Shadow is really dynamic. We write songs that aren’t as easily definable. We wait until we get songs that sound good as a package. It’s not a concept album—each song comes about naturally on its own.
D: It’s hard to narrow some of our stuff down, to narrow the focus in. When our drummer Wes came into the picture, that’s when it all started to come together.
Why is it called TORCH?
D: TORCH has a two-fold meaning. It is the light of the world and redeeming fire. There’s a quote from Jeff Buckley that’s going to be on the jacket: “You’re just the torch to put the flame to all our guilt and shame.” A big part of our sound is influenced by Jeff Buckley.
How has Jeff Buckley’s music inspired you as a band?
D: He’s dynamic. He can go from whisper quiet to screaming in a blink of an eye. We love that energy and that dynamic, that beauty.
Where did you find inspiration?
D: Vancouver Island. Where we live is big to us. Gold & Shadow was always very instrumental. When I started to write lyrics they were about things that were personal. A huge thing is my relationship with God, suffering. There’s a tune about the impact of a mother’s suicide on the whole family, and another one about the impact of colonialism on First Nations people—things that weigh heavily on the heart. I find I’m really drawn to stories. If it affects me I want to write about it.
Do you have a ritual you do before rehearsals and shows?
J: Well there’s a ritual before rehearsal. We throw a recorder on and just jam. A lot of our ideas for future songs come from that.
D: We’re big on hugs. Pre-show hugs happen.
You very often pick Buzz Café as your venue. What is it about that space that attracts you so much?
D: Its aesthetics, and getting people into a space that’s positive, where people feel good. It’s an inspiring space.
J: The space music is played in can lend dignity and splendour. Where you play music can make or break you as a musician, and Buzz Café definitely hosts our music well. It’s also our birth place—the basement of the original Buzz Café is where we used to rehearse in the beginning.
How do you feel about performing at the Port Theatre with The Wild Romantics and We Are The City?
D: We are ecstatic. We Are The City is incredible. We feel a kinship with them musically speaking. It’s super exciting to be a part of this show.
What are your wildest expectations of the show?
D: Play more shows with We Are The City. In general, it’s exciting to see bands getting attention for experimental music. We hope to make a good connection that will open up more opportunities.
What’s next for you?
D: Along with the record we’re doing a tour in Western Canada in the fall. Our music video is coming out before the Port Theatre show.
Who made your video? Tell us about that process.
D: Matt Lineker, a young aspiring photographer and videographer who’s doing incredible things. His brother is our guitarist. They’re both really great artists.
If you’d like to keep up-to-date with Gold & Shadow, they are active on all their social media. Check them out on their website, which has links to their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Bandcamp.
Tickets for the show on May 14 are $15 and can be purchased from the Port Theatre either online or in person.