Having profiled Chicago’s Gold Motel as our Artist of the Week, it’s safe to say this is one of our favorite new bands out there. Though their album isn’t as poppy as their debut, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. We caught up with singer Greta Morgan and guitarist Eric Hehr who answered a smorgasbord of questions ranging from the genesis of the album to what Chicago neighborhood is cooler. Roll tape.
Greta, Why did you decide to leave Southern California for Chicago?
Greta Morgan: I moved there because I really didn’t want to spend another winter in Chicago, so it wasn’t a permanent leave. The specific reason I came back as related to our musical career is that I reconnected with my friend Dan Duzsynski, our guitar player and is an engineer at the studio where we record. So I moved back to make the songs that ended up being on the EP. It made sense to keep the band in Chicago since this is where our lives are.
What was it like joining the band that an established sound?
Eric Hehr: When I joined, half of the material was already written and the other half wasn’t there, and what wasn’t ready. We worked together to try to get that Southern California sound and get the vision that we had of the songs.
How does this upcoming album compare to your earlier material? Is it still sunny and poppy or a bit darker?
GM: It’s not all one character. We’ve been able to explore the upbeat pop stuff and this a bit more melancholy. I think we’re able to explore those territories better. It’s not entirely darker or sadder or happier. But I think we put our foot in the door of these different types of songs and express it better. It’s definitely still pop music.
EH: The first album was something you’d listen to when you going somewhere in your car and roll down the windows, while this one is what you listen to on the ride home after the party’s over. It’s more reflective and introspective.
What was the impetus for that?
GM: I think it’s pretty a natural progression. It’s not a darker album as much a fuller spectrum.
EH: Summer House was received that we were a one-trick pony. It was like we were really happy and we were this Southern California pop band and sunshine. We talk about seasons a lot, we have an album called Summer House and we’re from Chicago, so it affects a lot of things. I agree with Greta, I don’t think it’s a dark, menacing album by any means, but we explore a broader spectrum of territory of bittersweet feelings that the first album shied away from.
The recording process was obviously different this time around. But in what regard was it?
EH: There was an actual band going into it this time as opposed to before when the band came together as it was being recorded. This time around, everything was in place when were entered the studio as a band, knowing what the band was. It was like this is the band’s first album, even though it wasn’t because we’re more of a unit this time. We entered the sessions as Gold Motel and it ended up working as an album title.
Any tour dates in the works?
GM: We’re not at the level right now where it would make sense to headline the U.S. We have a couple of dates set up around the album release. We don’t have big plans yet to tour, but we’re trying to get something arranged.
Cubs or White Sox?
EH: I lived next to Wrigley Field for a few years so I have a love/hate relationship with the Cubs. I think I’d go with them still because they’re the national underdog. They’ve been losing for so many years that the attitude is if we win we’ll go out and drink and if they’ll lose we’ll do the same.
GM: Cubs. I never lived by Wrigley but I like the fans better.
Which Chicago neighborhood is better: Lincoln Park or Wrigleyville?
GM: Lincoln Park!
EH: Wrigleyville is definitely not one of my favorite areas.
What’s the most exciting aspect of the new album finally being released?
GM: It’s really just that. The fact that it’s coming out is so exciting. It’s always a long interim between recording and release that if you let it go too long, you’re not excited about the songs anymore. But it’s coming out at the right moment.