Edward Ginn talks to Gwilym Gold about his software ‘Bronze’ and his recent and upcoming projects.
Upon asking my first question to Gwilym Gold, former front man of Golden Silvers and now an innovative solo artist, a pigeon flew into the coffee shop stifling the customers and staff. A bird indoors normally signifies a death – I hoped the death wasn’t going to be this interview.
I asked Gwilym to explain the ideas behind his software ‘Bronze’, which ultimately creates a new version of a song every time it is played. “I was working on a new solo album with my producer Lexxx and we were trying to find new, interesting sounds. We came up with a software which was able to generate and regenerate sounds with an element of randomness. With the prototype ready we worked with Mick Grierson, who is head of the creative computing course at Goldsmiths, in order to build the final software. There are other generative softwares but we didn’t think they were powerful or flexible enough in order to create forms that weren’t defined by the process. The idea behind Bronze is that it constantly has life in it. I used to perform primarily improvisational jazz piano, whereby you are playing within parameters rather than just playing a song. With Bronze it brings that idea of a live aspect into a recorded piece as the track is always new and you are in the moment with it.”
Photo: Polly Brown
Gwilym’s most recent single ‘Muscle’ was the first track to be released by Eddie Peake’s label HYMN. In previous interviews, Gwilym had mentioned how some parts of this track were created at one of Eddie’s showcases. “Eddie puts on performance pieces in which live music is an integral part of it. It was a six week exhibition at the White Cube Gallery called ‘Infinite Disparity’, in which the devising of the show was the show. This constant devising was through naked dancers who would spontaneously perform and I would respond to it through playing. I was improvising from ten in the morning until six in the evening most days and over these long periods of performing sequences would occur. I started to build a chord progression through these performances which is the same progression that is used in ‘Muscle’.”
There seemed to be a focus in Gwilym’s work on releasing individual tracks rather than albums. “I feel that the template of releasing albums is sometimes tedious and feels a bit stale. I don’t think musicians should have to do things the way they are prescribed and work in order to fulfil a template, it is surprising that no one seems to be looking innovatively at this process. Although, having said that, I have just recorded an album but each track has its own place and will be released individually although not necessarily as ‘singles’.”
I was interested to find out whether Gwilym always had his solo career in mind, and how he had developed from his time with Golden Silvers. “I had been performing a lot of music before Golden Silvers, but that was definitely an important period in order to work on my song writing. I also realised that I had arrived at a place where I hadn’t thought about whether I liked what I was doing. I felt that what I was creating at the time wasn’t representative of what I actually wanted to write. I had always loved songs in terms of sound and production but I wasn’t really interested in the band dynamic. I was more interested in R&B and Hip-Hop from America and electronic music.” There is a prominent artistic concept in Gwilym’s projects, especially as his work shows signs of post-modernism. “I do think my work has an arresting quality and I’m glad people are interested in how my music works. However, my first aim is that my work has power, and I feel if art doesn’t have that, it doesn’t have much.”