All That Turns to Gold: The Post-Punk Alchemy of My Gold Mask!
Chicago's artfully embellished trio My Gold Mask deliver style, panache, and otherworldy grooves with eerie ease.
My Gold Mask, featuring demure guitarist Jack Armondo and nimble percussionist-cum-crooner Gretta Rochelle, now joined by drummer James Andrew, produce a rare breed of alchemical music that dumps the notion of simple genres. Behind the door of their soundscapes, they conjure a post-punk arthouse cabaret combining elements of popular and avant-garde traditions from Diamanda Galas and Jarboe to Glass Candy and Chromatics that revel in operatic surges and deconstructed cultural fare with flair. Their new album, Leave Me Midnight, released on February 19 on Goldy Tapes, is a richly woven, otherworldly sonic palette.
I know the band has worked with other locals like Psalm One and the Hood Internet, but I always wondered why the band has stuck close to its roots in Chicago and not been drawn to New York City or Portland.
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Tell me about your affinity for the city and it’s “discerning audiences”?
Gretta: Both Jack and I have lived here for about twelve years. I was going to move to Brooklyn early on, but the longer I waited, the more I ended up meeting a lot of amazing people. We have an intimate group of friends and there are so many talented artists here that we feel lucky to have played or worked with. Also, I think we have grown fond of writing here. We really utilize the long winters to flush out our emotions sonically. Environment is really inspirational to us. And lastly, we have a big ass practice space that I doubt we'd ever be able to swing in a place like New York.
Jack: I was actually born in Brooklyn, so I always feel like there is a part of me there, but we are happy to be in Chicago right now.
The saturated colors and psyche of '70s films from directors like Argento have shaped this record, as Gretta has admitted, and the album cover evokes it as well. Do you feel the new album is itself a nuanced cinematic concept of “alternate realities,” especially in songs like “In Our Babylon”?
Jack: We wanted an album that sounded almost otherworldly but was driven by emotions. A lot of film and art have that quality, and it can inspire us. Argento movies always have these really manic characters as well and we like that. There is admittedly a bit of drama in our music.
Gretta: Absolutely, we like to think of each song as living in it's own reality, it's own space. They are like little vignettes. Also, I do have a type of color blindness where many colors are muted, so color saturation is appealing to me!