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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Blue & Gold Rock From Their Heart And Their ‘Head’
Thursday, January 22, 2015

NYC rockers Blue & Gold’s full length debut, In My Head, is a result of tension, but according to guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Chloe Raynes, it was a “good tension,” as the band was crafting their sound, while figuring out what they’d do next.

The first step for the foursome, which consists for Raynes, fellow guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Alex Kapelman, drummer GG Gonzalez, and bassist Derek Cabrera, was to find a way to fully incorporate having both a male and female vocalist.

Raynes notes that on the band’s first effort, a self-titled EP, “You’ll notice we didn’t sing a lot together. We would do some harmonies on the other person’s songs from time to time, but it was kind of like I would sing the songs that I wrote, and Alex would sing the songs that he wrote.”

The music sounded good, but as a band, they wanted to do more. “We made a conscious decision after the EP,” Raynes explains, “that yeah, we do have this really cool thing where we have two singers, we like how our voices sound together, let’s see if we can find a way to write for each other, or think more about each other when we are writing, and see if we can bring the voices together.”

On In My Head, which was released earlier this month, the voices of Raynes and Kapelman are together more than ever.

“We’re really excited with how it turned out,” she says of the album, “it is something that’s unique, and it’s interesting because in a song where you have two vocalists like that, you’re kind of providing two different perspectives in addition to just the voices being together.”

When it comes to the songs she wrote for In My Head, Raynes says they’re, “a lot about love, and a lot about heartbreak, and frustration with relationships,” adding, “I’ve just, in the past few years, dealt with some relationships that were more difficult to navigate, and the music was a really great way to express the frustrations, and the feelings, and everything that was going on.”

Musically, Cabrera notes Blue & Gold’s sound, although decidedly rock, has a number of other influences that are evident when one listens to their work. “Alex contributes a lot of pop, and soul, and Motown stuff,” he explains, “and Chloe definitely has a rock thing. I think me and GG also come from more of a rock background.”

In addition to sharing a rock background, he and Gonzalez also originally hail from Connecticut. This is why during the early stages of Blue & Gold there was many a weekend when Raynes and Kapelman would head to CT so the foursome could work on music together.

While honing their sound there, they also netted themselves some interesting show bookings.

Gonzalez remembers an early Blue & Gold gig that took place at a friend’s birthday party in the off campus apartments at UConn. “He had a basement, and had kind of a punk show, and we were probably the least punk band playing the show. It was very sweaty, and DIYish, and it was fun.”

This was actually the second time that particular friend had booked at least part of Blue & Gold for a show, and it went far better than the first time.

“Derek and I were in a pop punk band a little while ago,” Gonzalez explains, “and our guitarist, the same guy we played in his basement show as Blue & Gold, he got us a show in Massachusetts through some mutual friend. It was in Worcester.”

After being told the place would be filled with people, Gonzalez and Cabrera showed up to find that was not the case. “It was literally maybe like three punk kids renting out one floor in this otherwise vacant three floor house, and they were putting on shows in the basement.”

The conditions were not optimal. Gonzalez remembers, “The basement had huge holes in the wall. There was a mosh pit that started and a kid went straight into a hole, so we’re like OK, that makes total sense why that’s there. It was very dirty, and there was also a terrible thunderstorm warning where your phones beep. It was very interesting.”

Raynes had some interesting musical experiences before Blue & Gold, as well. “I was playing in this ridiculous cover band in college,” she remembers, “before Alex was in the band. We were hired to play the college debate team’s open bar party at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston, Maine. I don’t really need to describe it beyond that. That’s it. That’s all you need to know.”

As Blue & Gold the foursome have graduated from such venues, to playing Brooklyn hot spots such as Brooklyn Bowl, and Rough Trade.

Their show at Brooklyn Bowl, which took place last year, was an especially big moment for the band. “We opened for The London Souls,” Raynes says of the memorable night, “it was awesome because we reached out to them, and they were really excited to have us open. They selected us. I’m sure they could have gone with a million other bands to open for them, but they chose us, and we played for a huge crowd, because they have a great audience.”

Raynes continued, adding, “People came up to us after, complimenting us, saying, ‘We’d never heard of you. This is great,’ so that was a really awesome night, and a great moment for the band, just knowing that when people do hear our music they really like it.”

With that in mind, it’s easy to imagine In My Head will get stuck in listeners heads as soon as they hear it.

Interview originally ran on Arena.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 1:00 PM  
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