Educate Your Ears: Gold Celeste

Soaked in positivity, humour and honesty, slightly introverted Scandi-pysch rockers, Gold Celeste, have created music that seeks to explore human beings and the sentient mind. Having met in arts & music college in Trondheim, Norway, Simen Hallset, Petter Andersen and Eirik Fidjeland combined their shared musical influences to create a wonderful blend of melancholic grandeur, coupled with laid-back elegance and lyrics that delve into injustice, the increasing pacification and the ‘fast food culture’-ification of modern society where information is so readily available via social media. Their debut album, ‘The Glow’, is out this Friday on Riot Factory Records. While you wait, take a look at our interview with the Norwegian three-piece below.

KALTBLUT: Who are Gold Celeste? How did you all meet?
Gold Celeste: Gold Celeste consists of three guys named Simen Hallset, Eirik Fidjeland and Petter Andersen. We met in Trondheim, Norway, through studying music and music technology, and got in touch through shared views on music and common influences. Live, Petter started out playing bass when Simen played the piano, but now Simen’s back on the bass/vocal, Petter plays drums, and Eirik plays guitar/vocal.

KALTBLUT: Where are you all from originally? What is the creative community like there?
Gold Celeste: Simen is from Førde, in the mountainous and “fjord-ful” west of Norway. Eirik is from Kristiansand in the sunny south of Norway. Petter is from Toten, the middle-eastern farmlands of Norway. Since we met in Trondheim, that’s really where we’ve been part of a creative community. In Trondheim, there is a university teaching music technology and music knowledge, and a jazz conservatory spawning lots of great musicians, making Trondheim a natural place to form a band. In 2009 Simen and a friend started a recording studio hoping to become a focal point, and that’s where Gold Celeste really was born and where we have spent our last 5-6 years creating music.

KALTBLUT: Is this where you are based at the moment?
Gold Celeste: We just recently moved to Oslo, with the finished album in our baggage. Trondheim is pretty far up north in Norway, but in addition to Oslo being closer to the biggest Scandinavian cities and Europe in general, most of our friends live here. We had spent so much time in the studio, we needed some change of scenery to keep the spark alive really. We now share a rehearsal space with our good friends in Dråpe, and we’re ready to just play a lot of music.

KALTBLUT: Where do you find it best to record music?
Gold Celeste: So far, we’ve only been recording in Simen’s studio in Trondheim, so it’s impossible for us to say really. I think we’ll be spending more time ahead trying out different ways and places to record our music. The last 5-6 years have been a invaluable time getting the know-how to record and mix music ourselves, so i think we’ll do some self-produced stuff aside some material where we leave the technicalities to someone else so we can focus only on the music.

KALTBLUT: What is your preference – recording studio or live?
Gold Celeste: They’re both great. Since we’ve spent so much time in the studio, we’re now ready to spend more time playing for people directly. That’s when you get the honest reactions and the real feedback, and also where you (used to?) hear the real musicianship and interplay. We love to tweak and tinker, loop and play around with recordings in the studio shaping sounds the way we like, but we also respect and appreciate the old-school live-performance. So many artist rely on pre-made backing tracks, delivering this seamless production over and over again to the crowds imminent amazement. We’re more about keeping the live act live.

KALTBLUT: Do you find that you write to a certain theme, or is it spur of the moment?
Gold Celeste: All the lyrics stem from the immediate words and thoughts that come up when the music is made. Much of our music comes to life through jamming, and laying some improvised vocals during or after the jam. We’ve learnt to never underestimate the first go, the intuition and the “stream-of-consciousness” approach in songwriting. You can always flip the content, meaning and words later on if you feel like it.


KALTBLUT: You’ve been described as a “modern psych vision”, is this something you’d hoped for?
Gold Celeste: Well, we’re not really interested in replicating something already done, so in that regard being modern is good. Also, our lyrical themes often revolves around contemporary culture and society, so in that sense we are also modern. We’ve often heard that our music is kinda cinematic, so being a psych vision might make sense since we’re really influenced by the psychedelic music of the 60’s and 70’s. We’re not really hoping for anything else than being able to make and play our music and the chance of people enjoying it.

KALTBLUT: Does this reflect in ‘The Glow’?
Gold Celeste: ‘The Glow’ is the result of several years hiding in our studio, and we’ve always been kind of visionary in what we wanted to create. When we were outside the studio we spent more time observing culture and society than actually participating. It was actually a pretty alienating time and we really went into the depths of ourselves and got detached from the striving of the modern life, the distraction of the self.

KALTBLUT: Did you produce the album yourself?
Gold Celeste: We’ve spent the last two years writing, producing, recording and mixing this album, completely on our own, in Simen’s studio. Doing everything ourselves is both extremely rewarding and extremely exhausting. It’s hard to stay motivated for such a long time listening to your own music and recordings over and over again, and every step of the way you’re so self critical, and getting closer and closer to feeling doubt and being too opinionated… that shit can tear you apart. But then again it was the only way for us to create this exact album.Being kind of socially isolated during this period in our life we’ve had plenty of time to really dig inside ourselves revealing what kind of music really transcends and stands out. Which music stayed with you since your first musical experience, and what sticks right now. In that manner this album has a touch of introvert melancholy in its spine. This hasn’t stopped us from making an album soaked in hope, positivity, honesty, disgust, confusion, humour and lots of love though

KALTBLUT: What is “the glow” referring to?
Gold Celeste: The title comes from the glow every human being is carrying, whether they’re aware of it or not. There is no doubt, what so ever, when looking at the history of mankind that we’re able to do the most atrocious and evil acts, and these acts changes and redefines the norms and values of both people and societies as a whole. Even though these acts, through the people exposed and those performing them, often are reproduced and strengthened through generations, this does not change human nature. What beings we are, and what we’re capable of. Our potential is of both being infinitely hateful and infinitely loving.

KALTBLUT: Is this where you adopted the name Gold Celeste from too?
Gold Celeste: Gold Celeste is a name inspired by the beautiful play of colours and lights in the sky during the golden hour, right after sunrise or just before sunset. In a way that phenomenon reflects what we hope to achieve with our music; tempting people to pause for a while, relax in whatever manner they see fit, focus and simply indulge. Also, it’s a good stripper name.

KALTBLUT: What scenario best fits listening to your music?
Gold Celeste: That’s really up to each individuals listening preferences, but i’d imagine you’d get more out of it if listening was the main objective.

KALTBLUT: What made you take the DIY approach to recording your ‘Is This What You Could Not Do?’ video?
Gold Celeste: The songs theme is about the struggle of trying to cut through in today’s overflooded landscape of bands and artists. After spending so much time and energy on this, it better be worth it! But you know, it’s all about having fun following your own path, not reaching some unattainable goal. The film is a compilation of footage filmed by us and our friends. It captures the hours and hours of making/writing, recording and mixing ‘The Glow’, live footage from two gigs we arranged in our studio and from a tour through Norway along with our friends in Dråpe. It’s simply a glimpse into our lives for the last couple of years!

KALTBLUT: If you could travel back to a time period, where would you go? Who would you hang out with?
Gold Celeste: We would like to go back to 1967 and hang out with The Beatles in Abbey Road. What a cliche! Imagine being there while Paul tracks the Lowrey organ intro for ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’.

KALTBLUT: Who would be the ultimate collaboration, dead or alive?
Gold Celeste: Kevin Parker (guitar), Jonny Greenwood (string arrangements), Ray Davies (vocals), Mitch Mitchell (drums) and James Jamerson (bass). Melancholic, funky and psychedelic!

KALTBLUT: Where do you want to take your music?
Gold Celeste: I think we’re more wondering where the music will take us. That’s at least how it was back in the day, and how it should be. We’re currently working on a very special live video, and that’s an exciting format we want to take our music to. Doing some kind of mixed media thing with different interesting collaborators is also something we want to do. And, of course, we want to take our music out to all the great festivals all around the world playing for as many people as possible!

KALTBLUT: What is next?
Gold Celeste: After the release of “The Glow” we’re first going to play some shows in the biggest cities in Norway, and then we’re doing some shows here and there in the UK, Belgium, Denmark and Germany. We also have a couple of video projects we want to follow up the album with this fall, and we’ll most likely continue to record some new material as well.

The Glow is out this Friday on Riot Factory Records
gold album