Gold Star is the solo project of Austrian born, now Los Angeles based musician/songwriter, Marlon Rabenreither, former member of The Sister Ruby Band. With a 2015 debut album entitled Dark Days already under his belt, we recently stumbled on his newest album, Big Blue, a well crafted and soulful collection of songs oozing with stories and personal accounts delivered in true country/folk manner, and subsequently played the album around our place perhaps more than a few times.
We spoke with Marlon and got a feel for what he's into, what he's up and all things Big Blue.
"The songs are pretty biographical, and there are a lot of references to street names and cities as well as people's names."
What attracted you to form Gold Star and are you generally taking a different direction from your previous band?
The Sister Ruby Band was a project that was in constant flux, and tended to change radically as different players revolved in and out of the band. I started Gold Star when SRB ended. The members of C.G. Roxanne actually played in both projects. There are a lot of threads that connect these different bands but they are all rather distinct.
You studied fine arts, did that have some sort of impact on your musical projects to some extent? Do you do your own band artwork or usually leave it in the hands of someone else?
Yeah, I was a Cooper Union drop out and studied at Goldsmiths in London- I met a lot of interesting people and my experiences in New York City and in the UK certainly influenced my song writing. I usually do the artwork for my records, though I’m lucky to have a lot of friends that are very talented photographers.
So you recently released the album entitled "Big Blue" which we loved - it does come off sounding more intimate than maybe some other things you've done..
I set out with the intention of making “Big Blue” a record that was intimate, as well as personal; both in the way the songs were written and also how they were eventually arranged and recorded. The songs are pretty biographical, and there are a lot of specific references to street names and cities as well as people's names.
How do you go about recording an album, did you step in having a good idea of what you wanted to do or preferred a more spontaneous approach to the rec sessions?
For “Big Blue” I had made demo recordings of all the songs with me playing drums and piano etc. Sometimes several demos were made before I took the songs into the studio, so in this case I had a very good idea of what I wanted to create. Though it was equally important for the record to embrace spontaneity in the performances. All of the tracks were cut live and we tried to do as few takes as possible with no edits and minor overdubs, so it really is a bit of both.
Having discovered your album on the internet, it's fair to say the web's brought upon a much easier mean to promote and distribute music nowadays, what's your take on that?
The good news is that because of technology musicians have more power and freedom to create and release work themselves than ever before. The bad news is that the very same technology has also made it really easy for that work to be washed away- with so much content these days and no quality control it can be rather challenging.
You appeared alongside Julia Jacklin for a few dates, how did that come about?
We are on the road with Julia Jacklin doing dates along the coast from Los Angeles to Vancouver, BC. She is an incredible artist and the shows have been a blast, I plan on touring more and am looking forward to playing Europe soon.
We always ask everyone if it's the Beatles or the Stones but you've already declared yourself a big Beatles/Lennon fan so is there any other artists that played a significant role in your life?
I’ll always take The Beatles over The Rolling Stones though most of my friends disagree with me very strongly about this. I think The Beatles and The Velvet Underground are the most important bands of all time, largely because they opened the doors for everything that came after.
And is there any album or contemporary artist you're really into lately?
There is so much great music out there these days, I’m really into this band Crush, which is basically a Black Lips side project and my friend Korey Dane has a record coming out called Chamber Girls that has been on rotation.