Bear Vs Shark were one of our favourites. So we were pretty heartbroken when they broke up. But now Bars of Gold have emerged from the ashes and are doing some serious easing of the pain. We caught up with drummer Brandon just after the release of their debut album ‘Of Gold’ to see where his head was at, how the album came into being and what’s next for this new outfit.
What were you up to in the years between the demise of Bear Vs Shark and the inception of Bars of Gold?
Speaking for myself, I was basically in Wildcatting the whole time between BVS & BOG. I was also involved in a whole bunch of projects that were fun. I learned to say “Yes” to as much as I could get myself involved in. It lead to some really cool things. Of course, Wildcatting morphed into Bars of Gold when Marc started showing up to practice. I should add that Wildcatting is not dead, it’s just that those batch of songs are the outcome of the four of us, whereas what we’re playing in Bars of Gold is slightly different. Because of time constraints, we’re focusing solely on Bars of Gold as much as we can.
Why did you decide to form Bars of Gold and what do you aim to achieve with the band?
Between all of us, we’ve been friends for years, so being in a band together was just a natural thing. Honestly our goals with the bands have been and hopefully will continue to be just writing (and recording) music. We achieved the release of our first record, so we’re already looking towards what’s next. Oh, and playing shows certainly is fun, too.
Will you be touring much? What have your shows been like so far?
As of now, No, we will not be touring much. Although, we will do what we can, but hard-core touring itself will be minimal. That isn’t to say that we’re not going to go out on excursions when the opportunity presents itself. Our shows have been quite amazing. We’ve been fortunate to play with some really great bands and have befriended some really good people. I guess it’s best to just go with the flow & see what happens.
Any plans to come to the UK specifically?
Truth is, we would love to come over as soon as we can. BVS never made it to the UK and that was something we really wanted to do. Hopefully we can get the gears rolling sometime in the near future.
What’s the story behind the name?
Like every band I’ve ever been, we’ve always picked names that tend to be kind of ridiculous. Bear vs. Shark, Pinkeye Orchestra, Wildcatting, Bars of Gold… all basically ridiculous, but I like them. I guess I would say that the best bands’ names have always come from some people who aren’t taking themselves too seriously.
How long did it take to get the album together? Did you work with any producers / engineers or was it entirely self-produced?
It didn’t take too long to write overall, but it seemed like it took a bit to put the whole record together. From the moment we started to record to the day it was out, it took a little less than a year. It slowed down when literally 4 out of 5 of us were moving & when our practice space shut down. I moved from Detroit to DC (9 hours away) which slowed things down a bit. Also, the release is vinyl, which is notoriously slow to produce.
Was it a smooth process?
A bit slow, but all in all, I’d say yes.
How does your outlook on the music scene / industry differ now, being in Bars of Gold, in comparison to how you felt as a part of Bear Vs Shark?
I would say my outlook is much better. The music industry tends to be an all-or-nothing/winner-takes-all type of economy and it’s not a game I feel we have to partake in. We all feel pretty comfortable just doing our thing. Hopefully people care enough to scope it out, but we’ll keep doing it nonetheless. Our expectations for ourselves, I’d say, are much more sound and focused on longevity for the project. We all see this as a long-term project/experiment that we can continue to grow into. Fun times will continue to be had for sure.
Is it a very different experience for you now or are you having certain feelings of déjà vu?
No déjà vu, or at least not for me. This is a different experience. I highly value what I did in the past with Wildcatting and Bear vs. Shark, but I think what’s going on now is really great. In many ways, we’re still in the process of trying to figure out what’s going on, which is a great process to be in the midst of. We don’t particularly have anything in mind when we write songs, we just kind of extrapolate from all these ideas that we kick around between us.
How did the release with Friction come about?
We’re old friends with Jeff, from Friction. He just asked if us if we’d be interested in having Friction put it out, and we were happy to say yes. Kind of simple actually.
There is relatively little information about the band out there on the world wide web at the moment. If you were to start your own Wikipedia page for the band, what 6 things would you tell everyone about yourselves (can be true or false, we’ll take our best guess as to which)?
This is funny to me because much of the BVS Wikipedia page is just wrong on so many parts.
1) The original name was going to be Volunteers
2) Wildcatting is still a band, we’re just busy right now, or something
3) Scotty makes & sells guitar pedals & other instruments
4) We make all of our t-shirts in our practice space.
5) Marc’s been brewing some mighty fine beer recently.
6) We enjoy playing more than one show a night.
Bars Of Gold debut album ‘Of Gold‘ is out now through Friction.