Earlier this year, masked producer Golden Features released his self-titled debut EP. The four glittering electronic tracks on the release were enough to allow the Sydney artist to lock in festival sets and a debut headline tour of Australia, which will take him through to the end of the year.
While touring the east coast, Golden Features took some time out to discuss the tremendous amount of hype which has surrounded his rise to prominence, the serendipitous story behind his golden mask and the disadvantages of being rushed away to tour when you’re in your creative element.
Music Feeds also asked the producer what his musical future holds. Aside from some juicy collaborations, Golden Features is preparing a follow-up EP which he’s already super proud of. He’s not working on a debut album just yet, though; Golden Features is still developing a core voice and a thematic base for his dark electronica.
We can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
Music Feeds: Even though you’re still in the early stages of your career, you’ve had a lot of buzz surrounding you. How do you feel about hype building around you so early?
Golden Features: I try really hard to just keep my head down and ignore it all, so the only time I ever really experience it is at shows. It’s good and it’s bad I think; On the one hand it’s fantastic that people are feeling you and get excited about your music, but on the other your subconscious has a way of bringing those thoughts up in the studio and when you start to consider what’s expected of you in that creative environment you start going in circles.
MF: Did you ever imagine yourself in this position? If so, how does the reality differ from the fantasy?
GF: I don’t think I’ve ever really known what I wanted, all I know is I need to be able to create things or I go stir crazy and can be really hard to deal with. I always thought the more music you make, the better you get and the happier you are with it. But the reality of it all is that as you get better, your standards get highers and you’re forever chasing a piece of pizza on a string attached to your head by a stick that’s just out of arms reach.
MF: Why have you chosen to wear a mask? Do you think the mask will ever come off?
GF: The mask was an accident. The origin of it all is that I couldn’t afford a photographer for press shots so I drew my own. I wasn’t happy with the face I had drawn so I left it blank and it was initially filled in with some spacey stuff, like stars and dust clouds. It looked cool but was really dark and hard to distinguish so I switched it over to the gold print. The name came from the image and then the mask followed.
The mask is always off for interviews, I took it off briefly at the Sydney leg of my tour as well. It’s not an identity thing, for me is just another piece of clothing. Some people flex with chains and watches, I’ve got a gold mask.
Watch: Golden Features – Tell Me Ft. Nicole Millar
MF: You’re touring the country throughout November and December, with a quick stopoff in Fiji as well! What’s been the scariest thing about embarking on your debut headline tour?
GF: Being away from my studio. I was on a really good roll with it all and the tour has made it really hard to work consistently on starting and finishing any new music. In saying that it’s also been really positive because I’ve been trying out new music, seeing what works and getting ideas for future tracks. It’s a double edged sword I guess.
MF: Your live show has been called a “visual showpiece”. What does your visual art allow you to do in a live capacity? Have you always been focused on both music and visuals?
GF: A “visual showpiece”? I had no idea it had been called that. The visual aspect of the shows for me are equally important to the music. I’m a visual person, I grew up doing graffiti where the person was irrelevant and all that mattered was the mark they left behind. I can still picture pieces people painted on the train lines 10 years ago when I was brand new to that world. Imagery is really powerful so to exclude that from a show seems crazy to me.
MF: You played at Splendour In The Grass, ListenOut and Stranded Festival earlier this year, and will soon perform at Field Day and Beyond The Valley. Do you think your live show suits festival shows or solo headline shows better?
GF: I like both for different reasons. Festivals are great because you get to travel with a whole group of artists, make friends and party. There’s also an energy in festival crowds that you don’t get anywhere else; It’s a really playful and crazy attitude which dissolves as the sun goes down into a really weird lay on the grass listening to music with your head in somebody’s lap kind of vibe. Headline shows are different, it’s more geared towards you as the headliner and you generally end up drinking a lot and jumping around in a crammed sweat box.
MF: Your self-titled debut EP was very well received, and you’ve now got a followup EP in the pipeline. How does the unreleased material compare to the debut EP? Were the tracks on the forthcoming EP all recorded after your first one?
GF: I’m a lot happier with this EP. It’s taken a lot more work than the previous one and I’ve learnt so much in making it. It feels a lot more cohesive and refined. Every track on the new EP was made after the old one. The first 4 tracks I ever put out where the first I’d ever made in this style so my first EP was kind of the learning curve, the new one feels like I’m much more comfortable.
MF: Is a debut album on the horizon? How do you think the album format stands up against the EP format in the electronic music world?
GF: At this point an album is possible but I won’t do it unless I have something to say first. I don’t want to drop an album of straight up club tracks. The albums I love are ones like Cross by Justice. For me, that album was a statement, like, “We are Justice, this is what we represent.” Once I have a cohesive sound and concept locked down for a complete album, that’s when I’ll take that step.
The album format works, but it feels like a lot of people use it as an opportunity to drop a compilation of club tracks with a radio formatted tune or two in there for good measure, which is fine for a few tracks but over a whole album it gets pretty tiring. The best album I’ve heard in ages is Porter Robinson’s Worlds because it’s just so clear creatively.
MF: Have other artists been asking you to collaborate?
GF: Yeah there’s been a few. To be honest I don’t particularly like collaborating with other people unless I know I get along with them. To collaborate you have to spend so much time in the studio with somebody and unless you’re both completely comfortable to tell each other what you like and don’t like, you won’t end up with a final track that you’re happy with.
MF: Are there any exciting collaborations you’d be keen to line up with other artists? If so, who?
GF: I just got approached to do a collaboration with some guys who I respect beyond words and that’s the first one I’ve actually said yes to. So I can’t announce who at the moment, but it should be under way early next year. If you had have asked me this question like two weeks ago, I would have been able to name them.
Golden Features’ self-titled EP is available now, and free to stream below.
Listen: Golden Features – Golden Features EP
Golden Features Tour Dates
Friday, 5th December 2014 – SOLD OUT
The Garden, Wollongong
Saturday, 6th December 2014
Toucan Club, Mandurah
Sunday, 7th December 2014
Sets On The Beach Festival, Perth
Tickets: Sets On the Beach
Saturday, 13th December 2014
Trinity Bar, Canberra
Tickets: Trinity Bar