Interview: Nicholas Golden of GLDN
GLDN dropped their sensational introductory First Blood EP just a few months ago and is already back with a new LP. The New York City punk fueled industrial act will unleash Hemophilia on October 7th. While the new album is largely comprised of remixes from the First Blood EP, there's plenty more to sink your teeth into on the eleven track affair. Start with the video for "Suicide Machine" below and read along as Getting It Out asks mastermind Nicholas Golden for more information on the project.
Any fan of abrasive music from any genre would do themselves service to take notice.
Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Nicholas Golden, and I am from juuust south of the sixth circle of Hell. Or from somewhere around Los Angeles, California, depending on who you ask. About ten years ago, I moved to Brooklyn.
When and how did you start making music?
Well, I've been pretty involved in music my entire life. When I was a kid, we had an old upright piano in our living room - it was completely out of tune, but I used to love playing it anyway. I've been singing since I was about 12, but I didn't start making my own music until 2017. At the time, I was working on stuff that was more synthesizer-based, somewhere in the vein of Depeche Mode. That wasn't really a choice though, it was more that I didn't really know how to start a band or find like-minded people to play music with. After a few years of that, I finally got a guitar, learned how to play, and started using that as my primary writing tool.
When did you start creating under the moniker GLDN?
I started using the moniker GLDN as soon as I started writing my own music. Honestly speaking, it was a pretty lazy choice for a name, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. When I got the first iteration of the band together, I talked to them about changing it, but they convinced me to keep it. It's been a couple of years, and now it just feels right.
Is GLDN a person, a band, or something else?
I wish that was an easier question to answer than it is. GLDN is kind of an enigma when it comes to that sort of definition. I've written all of the songs myself thus far (minus Parasite, which I worked on with my good friend and creative partner, Collin Cleaver), so it does feel very much like I am GLDN. Still, I do have wonderful band members who help me bring the songs to life, and I would never want to rob them of the credit they deserve for the work they do.
Have you assembled enough members or resources to bring GLDN to the stage?
Yes! We have been performing around the New York area for a while now. Since we just went through some line up changes, we are ramping up for some more performances with new members this fall/winter. After that, we hope to go on a small tour, but we'll see what happens.
What was the idea behind GLDN before you began and how has it evolved since you started?
When I first started GLDN, it was an outlet for the things I felt like I couldn't tell people or say out loud. In that sense, it's still very much the same. The sound has changed quite a bit, of course, but I think the biggest evolution was a personal one. I was always the type of person that wanted to avoid confrontation and avoid offending anyone. The music gave me a voice to air my grievances, both personal and with the world, and that mode of expression forced me into a new mindset - one where I'm not really afraid to say exactly what I think or feel.
What instruments do you play? Were you self taught?
I play guitar, keyboard, and bass. I'm not an expert at any of those, but I can play well enough to make the music I want to make. That's all that really matters to me. I was definitely self-taught. I did try to take guitar lessons, but in a way, I found it limiting. I know that might sound silly to some, but I'd almost rather approach instruments as a novice who isn't confined by the "rules".
You just released your debut EP, First Blood, a couple months ago and you’re already back with another album. How did you get here again so quickly?
It's insane that it was just two months ago - it feels like it's been an eternity already. I think I'm the type of person who just likes to keep moving forward, sometimes at breakneck speed and to my own detriment. I don't think the way I work is something I'd really recommend to most people; I doubt it's healthy. It works for me, though!
How was the response to First Blood?
The response was, overall, really positive. It's so surreal that it's out there in the world now. I worked on it for a long time, which is funny given that Hemophilia is being released just a few months later. I can't speak for other artists or bands, but I think just letting go and accepting that an album is finished, particularly your first, is the most difficult part about making music. But when you get a positive response, it makes all the time and effort worth it.
A lot of the tracks on Hemophilia are remixes of First Blood songs, what inspires you to do a remix instead of a new track?
Well, Hemophilia really was meant to just be a remix album. I spent a lot of the summer in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York, so I wanted to take that time and isolation to work on more music. After I released First Blood, I had this weird feeling that I wasn't finished with it, conceptually or musically. So, that feeling is what led to me making some remixes. The album was very much inspired by the NIN remix albums from the 90s, like Further Down The Spiral. I also liked the idea of continuing the story of the EP through a remix album. Still, being the perfectionist that I am, I couldn't just release some remixes without some form of new material. When I thought about it from the perspective of a music fan, I felt that I would be disappointed if a band I liked released an album full of remixes with no new songs at all. That's how "Suicide Machine" ended up on the album. I actually wrote that song before a lot of the other songs on First Blood, and I never intended to release it in any official capacity, let alone as a single. But once I had finished the remixes, it just seemed like it would be a good fit.
All of GLDN's material has been released digitally so far, will any of it end up getting a physical release?
I hope so - I love physical media, so it's always been a goal of mine. Before we officially released First Blood, we released it on cassette. I made them myself, and I only did about 10-12 of them. It's more of a demo tape, since most of the songs were mixed and mastered again before the official release. It also includes a bonus track that the EP doesn't have on it. If there's interest, I'd love to keep making cassettes for each of our releases. It's definitely a goal of mine to get the music onto as many physical mediums as possible, but it's difficult to do when you're independent. I would love to release First Blood and Hemophilia as a double vinyl one day. Guess we'll have to wait and see what happens!
You include covers of Anti-Nowhere League’s “Animal” and Garbage’s “#1 Crush.” What about each made you want to cover them?
The Garbage cover was an easy decision - I'm a big fan of Garbage, and "#1 Crush" is easily one of the best songs they've ever released, in my opinion. The lyrics are so creepy, and there's something really sexy about the production. Still, when I covered it, I wanted to convey even more desperation - and I was coming at it from the angle of a person that is struggling with becoming who they want to be. I think it's something most people can relate to: you know that there is this stronger, more confident person within you, but you can't seem to lean into it. Maybe you're scared of it or afraid to be judged. Maybe you know that becoming that person means leaving your old life behind. I really wanted to portray that desperation of being willing to do anything to become this person that you feel you are meant to be, even if it means completely destroying yourself and the world around you to do it.
The "Animal" cover was a last minute decision that happened to become my favorite song on the album. I had already sequenced the album, but I really wanted things to start off with a bang. As much as I like "New Face, Same Lies", it just didn't strike me as the right song to open the album. As soon as we (Collin Cleaver and I) recorded "Animal", I knew it was going to be the album opener. The vocals on that were recorded in one take, and I ended up with laryngitis. But it was worth it to capture a really raw and passionate performance. Conceptually, I also approached that a little bit differently than the original. Any fans of the original will notice a few extra lyrics, as well. When I listened to the song, I couldn't help but think about Jung's shadow concept. I thought it would be really interesting to portray it as the story of someone struggling with self-hatred because they aren't able to integrate this "darker" part of themself.
Once Hemophilia is officially released, what is next for GLDN?
Well, right now I'm just really excited for Hemophilia to be released because I can finally share the video for "Animal". That was meant to be the first single and video off of the album, but since it's a cover, we had some licensing issues to deal with. I've been working on new material for a while, so I imagine it won't be too long before we release something else. It's always hard to say exactly when, since I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, but I would love to release some more music before the end of the year.