In mathematics, two sets of parallel lines of equal length can join at four points to make a square. If only people and circumstances were similar – orderly, symmetrical, conjured up with a pen and a ruler. Life is messy, though. It’s skinned knees and ex-boyfriends, stray threads on sweaters and abrupt life-endings. Gold are their own four-point shape drawn in dream-pop, post-punk and the jagged nature of loss.
In early 2011, Rena Kozak and Kaelen Ohm first traced Gold in the image of fledgling pop project the Yukas, the product of a summer spent in a basement writing songs over bottles of wine, according to Ohm.
After tiring of the many mispronunciations that their name inevitably attracted, the Yukas christened themselves Gold. Kozak, who plays guitar and bass, and Ohm, who plays guitar and drums, recorded all rhythm section parts themselves initially before adding two more instrumentalists to the group’s shape.
“The process of finding people to play with us was initially challenging,” says Kozak. “Eventually we settled into a really comfortable band dynamic when Chris Reimer, my boyfriend at the time, stepped in to play drums and Matt Swann volunteered to play bass.”
Soon after completing recording work on four demos, however, Reimer passed away in February. “Putting out an EP of those four songs was an obvious decision for us,” says Ohm. “The tracks sounded good enough to release, they went together in a sequence that made sense and we felt we needed to share with everyone what Chris had done.”
Reimer’s creative legacy reverberates for Kozak. “He gave us this spirit of creating music and sound and art out of what is inside you… for totally honest reasons and I think we all intend to live the rest of our lives this way,” she explains. “Releasing these tracks is very much an exercise in that.”
Mammoth Cave released Losing Your Hairin March. “It all came together really effortlessly and everyone involved in the process knew and loved Chris, so it felt really good,” Ohm remembers.
All members have previously played Sled Island as parts of other bands, but Gold choose to view their first collective festival slot as a point of light on an otherwise dark plane.
“I think it will be a combination of strange and right,” Kozak says of performing without Reimer. “For me, I am afraid of experiencing the festival as a whole without him, [but] my hope for Sled Island is to really gather all the encouragement he gave me and play with as much joy for him as I can.”
Gold will continue on with Lab Coast and Bug Incision’s Chris Dadge on drums, a change that both Ohm and Kozak believe is fitting as Reimer himself admired Dadge.
Ohm recalls, “I will always remember the last show we played with Chris Reimer at Local 510 with Lab Coast. After the show, Dadge came up to Reimer and complimented him on his drumming. Reimer just looked at him and said, ‘Wow, thank you so much. Coming from you, that means a lot.’
“Chris always looked up to Dadge and I’m sure he’s pretty happy that’s who has taken his place,” she remarks.
On Dadge filling Reimer’s percussive space, Kozak explains that “stylistically, as drummers, they are very similar, so the songs have really maintained their original integrity.”
Over the past few months, the path paved in Gold has been more seismic than linear, but Kozak is okay with that. “I want my music to sound exactly the way I feel right now: lost, sad, hopeful, beautiful, elegant, clumsy, all at the same time,” she says. “Lately, since Chris passed away, I have been feeling music and sound as the closest element to energy or the mind itself. It is the purest way to explain, feel and translate emotion.”
Catch Gold at Broken City on June 21.
by Andréa Rojas