Goldroom Interview – The Lake sets the Chicago Scene

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Watching the skyline fade away while soft waves rock all around the boat, smooth dance music reverberating, creating relaxing vibes is the best way to layer healthy habit formation and partake in some self-care. No better way than how Goldroom, an L.A. based songwriter/ producer, delivers the perfect dreamy backdrop full of dancing, enjoying nature and having a good time at his High Seas Boat Tour 2019. 

Sharing how he developed a passion for electronic music, his experiences on collaborating with other artists and DJing internationally, as well as his zest for boating, Goldroom’s personality shines through while talking with Splash Magazine: 

How did you get into being a DJ?

Goldroom: Sure, I’ve been in bands my whole life and I slowly got into electronic music maybe 10 years ago and I was in a band called ‘Nightwave’ and people around, promoters in LA started to ask us to come DJ so I kind of learned out of necessity but the time I was running [a] music blog I pretty quickly found that I loved DJing for a lot of the same reasons that I liked writing about music which was just finding up and coming artists that other people didn’t know about and exposing the music to more people.

What do you enjoy most about collaborating with other artists?

Goldroom: I think just that, I make a lot of music on my own, and so I don’t surprise myself very often if I am writing a song, I obviously know what I like, making music on my own but pretty rare when an idea shows up and it’s hard for me to understand where it came from or it’s completely unexpected but if I am working with other people, people have their own sensibilities and inspiration and there’s something really special about collaborating with somebody and having an idea pop up that you would never think of but that is better than anything you could come up with and it tends me better, to make the idea I come back with after that just even better. 

Yeah, it almost creates a kind of synergy of the sorts.

Goldroom: Yeah, definitely the sum is greater than the parts for sure.

 Since you’ve been DJing all over, which city would you say has the best crowd? 

Goldroom: That’s so hard to say because there are so many factors that play into whether or not a show is good you know I play internationally a lot and I have a pretty big fan base in Central and South America so the crowds especially in South America are so receptive and so excited and bring so much energy that I really get excited to travel down there and tour there but realistically you know it has so much more to do with the venue, what weekend it is, what kind of day it is, you know? I just played a really big venue here in LA called “Exchange” that you know is over a thousand people and it’s a big nightclub. The difference between that crowd and that feeling, and Djing one of the boat parties that I do for this boat tour every summer is so different and so great and you know very, very different ways, so yeah I don’t know it’s a tough question to answer just because they’re all, every crowd is different and I don’t, it doesn’t really matter to me if I’m playing in front of a thousand people at a festival or a small club show in Montreal or something where there is only a couple hundred people there.

You’ve mentioned that you’ve gone to different places, has there been a style that has caught your eye lately for women and men’s fashion or that you’ve been noticing?

Goldroom: That’s an interesting question. I’ve had my eye on fashion and seen what’s happening you know, I would hesitate to stick my nose out to say anything specifically although I’m happy to see the Sperry boat shoes are finally coming back into fashion a little bit so I can take them out of the closet and bring them out once in a while. 

(laughs) Right. How would you describe the vibe of your fan base?

Goldroom: My fans are definitely, I don’t know, I think they have the same, for me at least, I feel that we share a lot of mentality about life, you know, I’m finding more and more that there are people that come to the same party that I throw, every boat party that I throw every year, finding that there are people that come to four or five years in a row or they travel to the boat party. I think that there’s something that we share in common about having a love for dance music and having a good time,but feeling more comfortable doing that in an outdoor setting, or out in the water and having a love for nature and wanting to combine those passions. Sometimes club music fans can tend to be kind of like party demons and my fans tend to be a little bit more laid back, and a little bit more environmentally conscious and I like that about them. 

In terms of songs that you’re listening to currently, what kind of music are you listening to just stay in and chill?

Goldroom: Sure, I mean, gosh I listen to everything. I like a very narrow sliver of dance music, so dance music is generally not what I am focused on right now. I love the new Jai Paul single,  I love the new Bon Iver stuff that just came out, it’s great as well. Besides that, I mean right now actually I’ve been on a big Elliott Smith kick. I tend to listen to a lot of older music as well and I’ve fallen back in love with Elliott Smith over the last few months and really just digging into his songwriting, trying to think about what made him so great and how I can learn from that. 

What do you like about Elliott Smith? 

Goldroom: He was just so…his writing was so personal and specific and I think, the difference between being broad and being really narrow with lyrics is something I find really interesting because the more narrow you are the harder it is for people to sort of identify with things. Somebody like Tom Petty was so incredible about bringing these specific moments to life and yet millions and millions of people could find themselves in the song, and I think what Elliott Smith always did was he just found this really remarkable way to always tell really narrow stories and to be really specific and yet the songs always felt like they were mine, so. I sort of hesitate to even understand much more about that but something special about his voice and the way that he sang his words. 

Right, it’s like a connection that you get to it.

Goldroom: Definitely. 

For someone who’s never been to one of these boat parties, how would you describe what one should expect?

Goldroom: I think a lot of people when they think they are going to see a DJ on a boat, they are kind of expecting like an EDM party and lots of bros fist pumping and that it’s going to be sort of a traditional DJ show and the thing that I love about the boat parties so much is that I can really stretch my legs as a DJ and play exactly what I want because I make music for this setting so it’s going to be so much groovier than you might expect. A lot of real dance music and a lot of slower disco. From my perspective, how it affects the party, is just that everybody gets to lay back and enjoy the scope as a whole. I’m not throwing a party so that everyone can get in front of me and watch me DJ or something like that. I don’t like DJ’ing like that, I want to lay the mood for a party, so I love these boat parties so much because that becomes my job, just to lay the groundwork for the party and help the party flow. The thing that’s so wonderful about it is you get to listen to cool music and meet a bunch of people that are similarly minded and at the same time you’re moving, you’re going around, depending on where it is, you know Chicago would be out in the lake and you just see the beautiful scenery, and enjoy a show in a place and in a situation that you don’t normally get to see, that’s what’s exciting to me about it. I think because it’s such a unique situation and it feels like people that go to shows or a nightclub once a week or once a month, or many times a year, this is a once in a year kind of experience, so everybody lets loose in a different way and everybody enjoys themselves in a bit more of a unique way which I think you can feel that vibe and that energy through the whole party and it feels like anything can happen. 

Goldroom: I’ve done two boat parties in Chicago before and it rained during one and last year was just perfect. So keep my fingers crossed for this one. 

 According to research, you chose the name ‘Goldroom’ after one of your favorite bars in L.A., what is the best drink to get at Goldroom? 

Well, I wish I could tell you that I had a good suggestion for that but the bar has changed management so many times it’s a place I would never go anymore. They brought in investors and now they have turned it into a hipster craft brewery, and a sports bar and it’s just not my place anymore. But, I will say, they were famous for, and the reason why I started going there just after college was that they had a Tecate and a shot of tequila for three dollars and that was probably the best drink deal in the city at the time, so I still think of that as the Goldroom, a shot of tequila and a Tecate. That would be a pretty good way to start the boat party off, I think. Sometimes people want me to craft like a special cocktail for a party or something like that, like  a twist on a dark and stormy, something like that, I always feel like this is a better call, everyone a shot of tequila and grab a beer and off we go. 

What else would you like readers to know?

Goldroom: I grew up sailing, I’ve always made music. Not necessarily purposefully for this purpose, but a lot of my music is definitely based around and very inspired by the ocean and by boats. I grew up on boats and I spent a lot of my adult life competitively sailing and so this party isn’t just an interesting thing to try, it’s really my whole life and I’ve put a lot into it. I’m excited to keep up with it. 

Speaking more about competitive sailing, what’s a lesson that you’ve learned through that experience?

Goldroom: Some of the smaller boat stuff but I’ve done a lot of off-shore sailing, longer, multiple night journeys out at sea and there’s almost no quicker way to understand the power of the weather and how big and powerful the ocean is than to be out there in that situation, it’s given me a really healthy dose of respect for the planet and I think that’s a big reason why I try to devote some of my time and resources to give back towards organizations that help preserve the ocean and the environment in general and also to prevent climate change. 

Climate change is real, we have to make little efforts, every step counts.

Goldroom: 100%. Even for me, you know these boat parties, there’s no way that they are good for the environment so we do everything there is to do to minimize our impact on the ocean or lakes or whatever body of water that we are on. Every little bit counts. 

Photo credit: Jasmine Safaeian

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