NY Rockers “In Bloom”
Shawn Fogel may be the prime mover-and-shaker behind New York-based up-and-comers Golden Bloom, but he’s no glory hog. After years of playing solo, Fogel recently teamed up with a group of musicians who helped provide the layered instrumental textures his folk-pop is known for. Last June, after playing a release show for his recent EP “One Day in the Desert,” Fogel and his cohorts decided to make it official.
“Various members of the band and myself have been playing together since the fall of 2007,” he says. “I'd been playing solo for years, and after that show I knew that I wanted to keep playing with these guys.”
Just a few short months after their release of “One Day,” Golden Bloom were crowned as one of Spin’s “8 Undiscovered Bands Worth a Listen.” They’re set to release their first LP this spring; until then, you can check outits first track, “Fight at the End of the Tunnel,” on their site www.goldenbloom.net. I recently spoke with Fogel via e-mail to discuss his favorite memories on tour, the production of Golden Bloom’s new LP, and his plans for the future.
Steph Freitag: Who are your biggest influences?
Golden Bloom: From the generation before me, big ones will always be The Beatles and Neil Young. †From the years when I was too young to really appreciate the music being made you've got R.E.M. and The Pixies. †By the time I was in high school it was Luna, Pavement, and Neutral Milk Hotel.
SF: Recently you were on Spin's List of "8 Undiscovered Bands Worth a Listen,” where they compared you to Wilco circa “Summerteeth.” Do you agree with this comparison?
GB: Summerteeth was definitely a seminal album for me. †I never really heard the Wilco influence in the song "Doomsday Devices," which SPIN likened to a great b-side from the “Summerteeth” era, until a friend of mine complimented the song by saying "I love the Wilco vibe." †Jeff Tweedy and company have been so successful in pushing themselves to be a better band with each album they make. Itt might be hard to find an artist out there who wouldn't be flattered by a Wilco comparison.
SF: What is your best memory of your time on tour?
GB: I was on a solo tour of the Midwest during February of last year. †I was going to a high school outside of Indianapolis to tape an in-studio session and do an interview for local radio station WEEM. †As the date approached, I found out they had also booked David Bazan (Pedro The Lion, Headphones) for a session and interview that same day. †I got to sit in the classroom while David taped his few songs, and it felt like it was a private concert just for me. †He was also nice enough to stick around to hear one of my songs and afterward told me that it was obvious the song really came from my heart and made him miss his wife and daughter back home.
Later that night I attended David's show in Indianapolis. †He's become well known for breaking up his set with some Q&A time with the audience. †Someone asked "What are you currently listening to?" †David responded with Elliott Smith and Nick Drake. Then he paused, and said "Oh yea, and this dude Shawn Fogel who's here tonight; I listened to his CD a few times in the car today". †As an artist who's trying to get his music out there, having someone acknowledge my CD to their fans was probably the biggest compliment I could be paid.
SF: Your new LP comes out this year. How would you describe its sound? Does it have any recurring themes?
GB: I'm very proud of how varied this album is going to be. †I really don't think any two songs sound alike, and that's something I very consciously strive for. †
As for recurring themes, there is a lot of frustrated optimism and optimistic frustration. Many of the songs were written during the Bush administration and are kind of like "fight songs" for me (particularly "The Fight at the End of the Tunnel").
†SF: If you could play with any musician/ band, who would it be?
GB: If we're talking about a walk-on, play, walk-off situation without being thrown into the interpersonal dynamics of the band I'd have to say the Ramones. †Playing those songs with such raw energy, blistering speed and deafening volume would be such a rush!
SF: If you were stuck on an island and could only bring one CD, what would it be?
GB: Right now I'm going to go with the soundtrack from The Harder They Come.†Almost every song on that album brings a smile to my face and is so uplifting. I think it would be the best way for me to deal with being stranded on a desert island. †No matter what, I'll have Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker and The Maytals to keep me company!
SF: Ten years from now, where do you imagine Golden Bloom will be?
GB: In ten years I'd love to be making music that's still new and exciting to us, touring and making new fans. †I think there's something to be said for bowing out gracefully rather than forcing out music when you're past your peak. I'd like to think in ten years time the world will be a very different place, and without the fear of war and crushing debt there will be room for music in everyone's life.