Solid Gold likes to apply personality to everything it touches.Solid Gold likes to apply personality to everything it touches. Whether it's hand-making album art or crafting projections for its live show, the group embraces the do-it-yourself ethic to an extreme degree, debt be damned, the "traditional model" bucked, competition . . . well, look out.
Solid Gold entered the WeSC/Vice Let's Get Physical online contest last year, in which voters could either cast ballots for or against bands. Instead of spending time drumming up peer votes against other acts, the members pooled their fans, "some computer-savvy friends," and rigged the voting in their favor. More than anything, they just wanted to grab the attention of the judging panel, which selected Solid Gold from the other finalists to fly to London and perform at the WeSC/Vice party at Old Blue Last.
"Artists are required to hustle, schmooze, sacrifice and sometimes exaggerate to gain attention among the masses, but in the end the music needs to speak for itself and is what will be remembered," vocalist Zach Coulter says.
The electronica/dance troupe has spent six years selling out venues in cities like its native Minneapolis, Chicago, New York and Madison, Wis. It has also released three EPs, the most recent—"Who You Gonna Run To?"—in February. It was one of the few American bands selected to play last year's Iceland Airwaves music festival in Reykjavik and has garnered airplay at such stations as noncommercial WBAI New York, nonprofit KEXP Seattle, alternative KDLD/KDLE Los Angeles and triple A WXRT Chicago, as well as Billy Zero's podcast at XM Satellite Radio.
When finances for an upcoming full-length didn't allow Solid Gold to yet again record at Butch Vig's Smart Studios in Madison or Master Mix in Minneapolis, the band set up shop in "apartments, cabins, farmhouses and basements" to cull its synth- and guitar-based tunes. The band has sold or given away more than 1,000 hand-screened, self-designed, one-of-a-kind T-shirts, which have also sold at clothing boutiques like Oak in New York. Solid Gold—which comprises core members Coulter, Matt Locher and Adam Hurlburt, all of whom can play guitar, bass, keys and program beats—crafts its records in limited-edition runs, with handmade or design-intensive packaging.
With the full-length due late this summer and tracks on par with acts like Junior Boys and the Knife, Solid Gold is seeking a creative way to roll out its sale and dissemination. "We'll likely release the record through digital download for an affordable price and offer a premium physical copy that we hand-make ourselves for an appropriate price. This is the direction that we see music distribution heading, and we're going to ride it," Locher says. "The way we're looking at it is, like, 'Fuck it, we have no money, nothing to lose and a killer record' . . . If anyone out there has a better idea, we're open to suggestions."