#11 Goldheart Assembly
Goldheart Assembly is a 5-piece pop-experimental band from London. Originally formed with 6 members in 2007, they wrote their first album Wolves & Thieves behind the famous independent label Fierce Panda. The Assembly then decided to settle with their recurrent members including James Dale (singing, bass), John Herbert (singing, guitar), Jake Bowser (keys) plus Kyle Hall (lead guitar) who succeded to fulfill the expectations of the band. They released their second album Long Distance Song Effects last year, proving their obvious talent and delighting the critics and music lovers.
A word from Goldheart Assembly to Coldplay fans!
How do you manage to let the place to everyone to express his talent properly in the band ?
John : Well they don't really, Jim & me have really big egos. We try to press these guys as much as possible
Nicky : We all fight back.
Jim : They try to fight back but we're very very crude [laughter].
John : I think the band doesn't really have a leader necessarily, we're kind of a collective of people with different personnalities and musical tastes to a certain degree. And I think that speaks in the music.
Jim : And the main thing is that we can't do what each other do. We respect what each others do. For example, John and I can play a bit of piano but we can't play like Jake so we can trust him to do it and that's his job so he can excel in his own way.
Jake : That's nice of you. [laughter]
John : [To Kyle] I think you might be the best in the band.
Do you take time to develop it ant to learn even more ?
Jake : Yeah, doing it is the best way to learn. I think, with the last album, when we went recording and had a whole month in the
studio, in there every day, all day... I think you learn often doing that, we developed a lot at that point.
Jim : Nick is learning all the time. Nick forgets and re-learns. [laughter] Every day is a new learning experience.
Jim & John ; are the main vocals done by the one who has written the lyrics ?
Jim : Yeah, usually the lyrics, not always the melodies. We co-write but yeah, usually the person who has written the lyrics will sing his own. But we'll do now more singing duets as well, which we stopped for a while.
John : On the first record there's lots of duets, we like singing together in harmony. With this album we didn't do so much of that but actually we like it, it sounds good. So I think with the next album we want to do more duets. [To Jim] Be close …
Jim : Be close together on stage.
Do you want it to be equal between the two of you ?
Jim : Yeah, we do, we're aware of it. When we do the tracklist we do take in consideration who has written which song. We split up into lead vocals or duets. But I think if someone was to write 20 great songs and that would fill the record, we'd allow one person to dominate over the record. I don't know, see what happens.
Jake : I can't see that happen.
Are you rather perfectionist ? Would you stay months on a song to find the missing thing ?
John : I wouldn't say I'm a perfectionnist. I think the first idea is offer the best. I get bored of songs quite quickly, I like when it's just done and then get on another and move on. Otherwise Jim will spend a lot of time to perfect it.
Jim : Yeah, all the initial ideas, for some like Stephanie & The Ferris Wheel on our new album, I didn't like it. And then the more we worked on it … There was a long section at the end that was a key change and then I decided I didn't like that. Jake played something that I thought would be good with maybe something more orchestral over. Then we worked and worked and worked … and it took probably to 2 years from start to finish, to get it right.
With some of John's songs, the best stuff we did was the first thing we did.
John : Once the idea is down, that's it. That moment of conception is the most important thing. The rest is just noise. [laughter]
How are the ideas coming for the experimental things in your music ?
Jim : Yeah, like we said everyone can do very different things. So a lot of the different rythmms come from Nicky who likes to build up lots of complicated rythms. The rythms on the new album often start with Nicky doing this and we work out other things. Then for all the orchestral stuff, on this album, we just decided that we wanted things to be more complicated. I think we could have spent 3 or 4 years on this record but we had to stop ourselves cause we realised we spent far too long on it. So it was going to be a double album with 25 songs, but now it's only 12.
John : 11 and a half.
Jim you can be quite anxious about a song ; for instance Sad Sad Stage, which took you 8 years to finish.
Jim : hat took me 8 years, yeah. That's also because I'm not very confident. So it took me a long time to think it was a good song. I always thought it was one of the worst things ever written. And people say things about the song and then you start to think that maybe it's the best ever written. It's very confusing.
John : [To Jim] I think it's the best.
Jim : Thank you.
What did your experience with the label Fierce Panda - which was also Coldplay's first label – bring to you ?
John : We were really excited to sign to Fierce Panda. It's an institution, a great British little label and we were very proud to be on it. But I think came in a tough time for music industry where there was very little money around.
Jim : I think Fierce Panda were really hoping that we would break through like Coldplay did. But unfortunately, industry was changing, there was just trouble to make any money at first really. So we decided, for the next record, to move on and do ourselves through New Music Club and some other friends. But we're really fond of Fierce Panda, we like them a lot. It wouldn't rule our world to work with them again sometimes. It is different now because we're a bit more in control I think. But FP were really supportive.
Long Distance Song Effects was recorded in Switzerland – with Tobi Gmür ; what did it bring to your music ?
John : A lot of the album was written/conceived in Switzerland, about our relationship with Switzerland. I think that made a difference to the way it sounded. At the time we were getting into that sort of European aspect of culture, with books and music and that could had a slide effect on it.
Jim : And being around the Alps and all the snow and the different weathers, for me it's so different to being in Britain. It did add a sense of grandness to the production. I wanted things to sound big and kind of represent where we were. But at the same time, just spending a lot of time there, we also fell into some bad period of depression which also found their way onto the record as well.
And Tobi was great, very supportive. He allowed us to live with him and use his studio for free for a very long time. So we wouldn't have been able to make an album as ambitious without him cause we would have had to go into a recording studio for a set period of time and get it done quick.
John : There wasn't really a period of time, we just stay there indefinitely, for as long as we wanted and that was crucial.
Jim, you mixed 7 of the songs on the last album; was it a personal choice ? How did it happen ?
Jim : I just like mixing stuff so I have got a recording studio set up at home. I started on the first album, I did a lot of the mixing with some help from the guys but we weren't that confident cause we had never done it before. So we got someone else in to help in the end, to finish it. With this record, after working with Tobi, I felt confident that I could go home and do most of it. But then some songs as Sad Stage were too hard to mix. I wanted the drumkit to be the biggest thing I'd ever heard and it was actually too big, we couldn't control it. So we had to get a professionnal to sort it out.
John : I think we like keeping things within the team as well. We're happy if Jim can do some mixing. It's more personal and it kind of gets the result we want more.
Jim : Yeah, I spent so much time with John working on his songs so I knew what he wanted when he wanted things to be really distorted. And if you send it out to someone you need to start that all dialogue again.
John : and I can't really express musical ideas. [laughs]
Jim : It's easier to just do it ourselves.
Talking about Coldplay, what do you personaly think about them ?
John : The world needs big bands and I think they do it well, with a certain amount of grace and modesty. I think Coldplay is that kind of modesty and 'every man', normal.
I remember being a big fan of the first 2 records, kind of lost them a bit on the third. But Parachutes was great.
Jim : Yeah, we bought Prachutes since it came out. We went to see Coldplay during the X&Y Tour, at Crystal Palace and they were very good, it was a great gig. I think they've always been a really great band. But I agree with John, the best thing about Coldplay at the moment is the way they conduct themselves with the pressure of being such a big band.
A song you like in particular ?
John : Spies.
Kyle : Fix You. I really loved that song when I was younger.
John : Did someone fix you ? [laughter]
What do you think about our Push Zone project ?
John : I think it's pretty important. In different countries it's very difficult to get heard.
We've actually played in Paris a couple of times. The first time I don't think we had much Press over there but the gig was great and the crowd was really good.
Jim : Yeah, we love Paris.
John : I think you do a good work, carry on ! You have our blessing.