Stories from the ‘Psyche’

“These dipshits from some other part of the country
or planet move into a culturally rich and awesome neighborhood and take away the heart of a place,
ruining people’s lives.”

GOLDEN VOID frontman ISAIAH MITCHELL talks new beginnings, the making of an ace new album, lemmings and mexican food

Golden Void - GVpromo1

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Hey Isaiah, Headwarmer here.  We’re excited to be chatting to ya.

I: thanks for getting in touch!

Congratulations on the new album, it sounds like you’ve picked up where you left off with the debut.  Are you happy with the outcome?

I: I am happy how the album turned out. I wish I would’ve done some things differently with the vocals and some other things but you only have so much time to finish the record. I’m kinda anal with that stuff and am willing to beat a dead horse so having someone like Tim Green there to tell you it “sounds good, no need to take another pass at it”, is really helpful. But that’s me over-thinking. I’m very happy with the record 🙂

golden void_berkana
How would you compare it to the debut?

I: It sounds very different to the debut I think tonally, but the songs are similar in vibe so I’d know it was the same band. All the songs on both records are 5 plus minutes. We like the longer song.

Was there anything done differently this time around, in writing or recording?

I: this record was was written and put together very late in the game and some of the songs were finished up in the studio. All of the lyrics were written in the studio pretty much before and during tracking. I had the vocal melodies together pretty much when the songs were written but I tend to write lyrics at the last minute because I’ll rewrite to no end, so having a cutoff point is good for me. Outside of that I’d say the recording process was very similar. Track live then overdubs. All to tape. Lovely time.

What’s behind the album title?
I: Berkana has to do with new beginnings. New record, new beginning.
Have you played any of the songs live yet?  How have they been received?
I: We’ve played Dervishing, Astral Plane and I’ve Been Down. People seem to dig them. They cheer and stuff. We’ll be introducing a few more here shortly.
isaiahmitchell_Live
Can we go back to when the band formed?  You’ve known each other a long time.  How has that helped your progression do you think?

I: I guess knowing Aaron and Justin for as long as I have there’s a certain level of comfort in the way we deal with things. There’s lots of honesty, love and respect. Makes the music come out easy I think. My wife being in the band adds more to the honesty and comfort in our dynamic. I feel like we’re a family.

Is your sound a reflection of your influences?  Tell us about who you grew up listening to.

I: man, everyone’s influences are all over the place. Aaron, Justin and myself grew up in San Diego so we were pretty into the local bands like Boilermaker, Clikatat Ikatowi, Heavy Vegetable, Three Mike Pilot, Man is the Bastard…….

…we listened to bands on Thrill Jockey, Dischord, Vermiform, Gravity, Touch and Go, Matador……..we knew what we were getting into when you see who’s putting out the record. Back in the days where there was no Spotify etc. Was hardly ever disappointed. I think there’s a little San Diego in the Golden Void’s sound.

 

There seems to be more emphasis on your guitar playing on Berkana.  Is that a reflection of the band, you as a musician or the scene you’re in right now?

I: I dunno. We had more time in the studio so we took advantage of the time and the space that was available to fill. Also Tim Green’s a lot of fun to work with because he’s a guitar player too and loves Thin Lizzy and the way the guitars gel, so he likes guitars. If someone could’ve played violin I’m sure we would’ve added that as well. Just trying to put the right ingredients in each meal.

You’ve a distinctively warm psychedelic sound goin’ on, that feels more traditional than most.  How important do you think it is for a band to have a differentiator like that?

I: you know I can’t really tell. I just hope people find the album interesting and enjoyable to listen to. Psychedelia is a vast musical movement. I know we can get lumped into it, but not sure exactly where and were not trying terribly hard. With some more intention we could’ve gone over the edge.

Does yours come naturally, or have you had to work it at?

I: I’d say that everything on the record came pretty naturally. There were tracks that didn’t come super naturally and they didn’t make the album, though one of the absent tracks will find a home somewhere else. If it’s too forced I’m personally not into going through with it.

You’re from the Bay Area.  What was it like growing up there and how do you think its local music scene has changed?

Camilla is from the Bay Area. The other two and myself are from San Diego but have been in the Bay Area for a long while. The whole “.com” is kicking out a lot of the artists in the area and they’re moving to cheaper cities like Los Angeles or Portland. This tech boom is definitely fucking up artists and people who have been here forever and can’t afford to pay these new high prices of living.

Venues are being shut down left and right because new money comes in, either buys the venue to rip it down and build high priced apartments or the person who built the condo next to a venue complains about the noise and gets a petition signed by other newcomer locals and gets the place shut down.

“These dipshits from some other part of the country or planet move into a culturally rich and awesome neighborhood and take away the heart of a place, ruining people’s lives. Bunch of lemmings. It’s happening everywhere as I’m sure you know.”

Were you a good kid?

I: yeah I was a good kid. Always thought my parents were awesome. Always had a great relationship with them. Did well in school, but loved to not go when I could. Being bad was also fun.

What’s your first musical memory?

I: watching my dad have band practice in our garage and at friends’ house. I was hooked.

Did you imagine you’d be doing what your doing today when you were at school?

I: I hoped I would be doing what I am now doing when I was in high school. Little me would be ok with this.

A lot of us had an alternate plan.  What was yours?

I: I started working in a guitar shop when I was 16. I started be a music teacher around 18. Playing in bands non stop since 12. Music is where I’m happiest. I’d be miserable doing something contact unrelated to music. I’ve done that but I’d much rather do what I love. It’s a very tough business to be successful in, so you have to be creative.

And your take on the current scene – who do you see is leading the charge these days?

I: well I love a lot of the bands in the “psyche” scene. “Even though the new Tame Impala album is a little more keyboard/dance oriented, I still think it’s a very psychedelic record. Moon Duo have a big hand in things these days I feel.

I think there’s a ton of sub genres in the style of music called psyche that people are inventing everyday. It gives me a headache. It seems like every band can have that psyche element of you look for it. I’m starting to not know what psychedelic means anymore. If you take mushrooms every kind of music is psychedelic.

Is it as strong a scene as it was when you started out?

I: I think it’s becoming more popular. There’s a ton of new bands popping up everyday. That 60’s/70’s look is back in full force. I think it’s stronger.

What’s your take on the whole streaming thing; the Spotify revolution, impact on independent stores, traditional formats like vinyl etc etc, good or bad?
I: I dunno. I’m glad that vinyl is making a big comeback I still think it’s the absolute best way to listen to music. You’re more involved because you have to flip the record so it definitely keeps my attention. It sounds way better than any digital format. I don’t care what anyone says. It sounds better. As for all the steaming companies I’d have to say good and bad.
‘Good’ in the way you can check as many albums out as much as you want for your low monthly fee and if you like something you go and buy the record instead of not knowing what to expect.  Then you end up disappointed at the $20 you just wasted and then you lose more than 50% when you go to return it at a used record store. Also your music does reach a wider audience.
The ‘Bad’ is the pay sucks. It’s almost pointless. Artists getting screwed over again. We’re the entertainment for your life and we don’t get paid for all the work that we put into making this piece of music for you’re enjoyment. And you know what, I’m just as guilty as the people I’m bitching about. I’ve illegally downloaded music before, honestly not that much, but I’ve done it. Burned CDs before. It’s the way things are now.
But pretty much all of my music purchasing is done at a record store buying the actual physical album or cd. I enjoy the physical object of records and CDs more than a download code.
Record stores are dropping like flies. How many great bands were started by people meeting at record stores and guitar stores?! That ain’t gonna happen on the inter webs.
Do you think it would be easier to be in a band back in the 90s, when none of that online stuff was around?

I: I think that if you were able to get your name out there it would be good. But if you’re not a big time touring band, like Golden Void, it would be kinda hard. The Internet is a good thing for reaching a wide audience and it also rakes bands over the coals. Double edged sword. We’re not a very popular band, but I guarantee we would be much less so if not for the Internet. But if we were doing this in the 90’s we’d probably have a different attitude about the way having a band works and might get in the van and travel more.

I think of bands like Shellac and Fugazi and how they toured and pumped out records. They worked their butts off and deserve the praise because of their work ethic. No internet.

Thanks for talking to us dude.  One final Q – what do you think Golden Void can do that no one else can?

I: it’s a pleasure to answer the questions for you 🙂 I think Golden Void could eat Mexican food 3 times a day for 3 months without eating any other type of food. And no, a hamburgesa does not count.

Having worked the ‘psyche’ craft for some time now, Isaiah has grown up with the band he now fronts.  There’s a unique family vibe carrying them forward built on original musical traditions and homegrown values.  Who can argue with such sentimentality when the music’s this good.  Dive in:

Golden Void – Berkana

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