Meet Gold Key, the new band from Steve Sears, Laurent Barnard (Gallows), Jack Kenny (Nervus / Blackhole) and James Leach (Sikth).
Hey Laurent, how’s it going?
I would normally be feeling great, but this morning I woke up scared to death by a nightmare involving Donald Trump chasing me with giant snakes. Dream experts I await your interpretations.
How was your tour with Arcane Roots, are you guys best buds now?
The tour with Arcane Roots has been amazing. They’re definitely the most professional DIY band I’ve ever played with. They’ve programmed an amazing light show which they set up and pack down themselves, every night of tour. It’s made their live show look epic and if you’ve seen them on this run then you know exactly what I mean. I’ve actually known singer Andrew Groves for a while but the whole band and their crew are a bunch of beautiful souls.
So how did you guys start making music together, then?
Gold Key’s singer Steve Sears runs his own recording studio called Titan and he produced the last two Gallows records. It was during the making of ‘Desolation Sounds’ we realised Steve and I should start writing music together. Drummer Jack Kenny works at Steve’s studio and he also used to live at my house. He was always around when demos were shared and Jack liked what he heard. He was in. For a while we didn’t have a bass player but we decided to ask our close friend James Leach if he could maybe just play on the recordings. We knew he might have commitments with his other band, tech metal giants Sikth. As it turns out he was really into it and joined as a permanent member.
What’ve been your highlights from being in the band so far?
We’ve only been doing the band thing for about a year now but our third ever live performance was at a festival in Tenerife. We spent that particular weekend soaking up the sun and sinking a few Doradas. Sandy beaches aside, I actually think releasing our album ‘Hello, Phantom’ has been the main highlight for the band. It’s a record we’re all so proud of and it showcases a very different side to our individual personalities. It’s had such a positive response so far and I can’t wait for it to really start connecting with music fans.
Was it always your intention to make an album?
We talked about releasing an EP but we were writing songs at such a rate we had more than enough to fill an album. Admittedly making your first release a full length is a pretty bold move for any band but we really wanted to land with a bang. I feel singles and EPs often slip under the radar. An album shows we’re serious about our art and at the end of the day, we really are.
Does Gold Key allow you to explore anything that your previous projects haven’t?
I guess I’ve always had a progressive side when it comes to music. Like the time I convinced the rest of Gallows to get a full orchestra to play on ‘Grey Britain’. Gold Key is like a clean slate for all of us as musicians. Anything we record with our other bands has to follow a theme or keep within a genre. The glitchy electronic beats on the Gold Key song ‘Explode’ would never fit on a Gallows record but it just works on ‘Hello, Phantom’.
What do you most enjoy writing about these days? What are you influenced by?
With our combined band experience it feels we’ve finally found a project that allows complete freedom in our writing. If I record a demo that has weird synth sounds and a dance beat I know the rest of the guys will still take the time to check it out. That’s pretty much how it was when I wrote the music for Gold Key track ‘Crab Traps’. There’s a real ‘anything is possible’ mindset within the band that allows our influences to stretch from Bowie to FKA Twigs.
You’ve said elsewhere you’re already working on new material, what can you tell us about it?
As of now, we have enough ideas for an EP, but we’re hoping that by late 2018 there will be enough songs for album number two. There are some heavier ideas thrown into the mix but nothing I would consider to be out of place on ‘Hello, Phantom’.
How do you feel about the musical landscape of 2017, was it a good year for bands and new albums?
There have been some great releases in 2017. Leed’s band Higher Power are really putting UKHC on the map with their release ‘Soul Structure’. Also Muskets have written an amazing record called ‘Chew’ that you need to check out. Arcane Roots ‘Melancholia Hymns’ is by far my favourite record of theirs, the track ‘Curtains’ sends shivers down my spine.
What are you guys up to over Christmas?
What I do every Christmas, listen to Bathory, Darkthrone and Emperor on repeat.
Do you have any plans in place for 2018 yet?
Hopefully we still have time to squeeze onto some festivals in the Summer. It’s hard being a new band as it takes a while to get noticed but we’re confident we can lock in some more tours in the new year.