Six Questions for My Gold Mask
The local goth-pop group talks about its new LP, released just in time for South by Southwest
Last year, Chicago indie duo Wild Belle killed at Austin’s March music fest South by Southwest, leading to a major record deal and tour. Now another local female-fronted band is heading to Texas, hoping to replicate that success.
My Gold Mask, formed in 2008 by Wicker Park couple Gretta Rochelle and Jack Armondo (drummer James Andrew joined last year), has a goth-pop sound that Pitchfork calls “a period homage that avoids sounding dated thanks to the band’s raw primordial stomp.” Check them out on their first full-length album, Leave Me Midnight, released February 19—or in person at Schubas Tavern.
Who are your inspirations?
JA: Gretta is a lifelong Cure, Bikini Kill, and Iron Maiden fan. I have always gravitated towards female vocalists like Kate Bush or Siouxsie Sioux, which is one reason why I love working with Gretta. Gretta’s voice causes me to write in ways I wouldn’t otherwise.
How did you come up with your group’s sound?
JA: The sounds we create start as a product of our limitations. The dance beat started because Gretta could play it and sing at the same time. My guitar has a lot of octaves because there is no bass player. It sounded interesting to us.
What did you want to accomplish when recording this album?
GR: We really wanted to make sure we could re-create it live. I was starting to feel splintered onstage, hindered behind a drum kit. Bringing James on drums has helped me focus more on the vocals.
Leave Me Midnight is your first LP, right?
GR: The last one was a cassette. It was the first thing we released.
JA: We used to think we should release shorter things quicker in order to constantly put music out. Now we decided to take the time to make an album—a solid piece of art thematically linked.
What is the link?
GR: A lot of conflict of emotions.
JA: The song “Never Go Home” is about leaving and never wanting to look back, but at the same time a homesickness that follows.
So are you leaving Chicago?
JA: We do want to travel more. We’ll finally get to the West Coast on tour this year. . . . But we have to focus on what’s in front of us in the moment—otherwise, we’ll get caught up in daydreaming.
1. “Further It Gets” Rochelle channels Siouxsie Sioux in this cavernous dance track, the first single off the new album.
2. “Violet Eyes” Haunting vocals join stripped-down guitar chords for an eerie synth-based wall of sound.
3. “All Up in the Air” The Karen O.-worthy breakup rant was one of three MGM songs featured on Gossip Girl.
GO My Gold Mask plays Mar. 9 at Schubas Tavern. For info, schubas.com.
Photograph: Brian Guido