Catching Up With Fool's Gold


By Courtney Nichols

Have you taught your band members Hebrew?
[Laughs] Sort of, in a minimal way! The whole band sings backup in Hebrew so I phonetically have to work it out for them and give them the meanings. They know what they are getting themselves into. Luckily I have another band mate, Amir Kenan, who I have again known since I was 10 years old, who is also an Israeli immigrant who speaks Hebrew (not as long as I have), so that makes it a lot less lonely for me on stage because he understands every single word. We can talk to each other in Hebrew on stage. It adds another layer to our friendship. He's had the same sort of evolution with Hebrew and his identity.

I know I am totally obsessing over this Hebrew thing, but I am also Jewish! What does your family think of your music?
They are really supportive. They are the kind of parents who would be into whatever I do so they are really into it but if I was playing polka they would also be enthusiastic. It's hard to say. They really haven't expressed so much about me singing in Hebrew. I haven't had any serious conversations with them about it. I think they are definitely stoked. It's not like I finally made my mother proud and married a Jewish girl!

During your live performance, do you just sing vocals or do you play live instruments? Are there graphics involved?
[Laughs] Graphics! That would be amazing! That's the next level. We have to get there. Actually, I play the bass and sing at the same time. There's that. There are not too many effects. We always request fog machines at the venues. We like a lot of fog.

Fog never hurts.
Exactly. Fog is always the answer.

What's your process of recording a track? Does the whole band collaborate or is it just you and Lewis?
Lewis and I start the process and sometimes we make sample demos of songs and take it to the band. The band sort of colors it in their way. We definitely write the song and create the mood. The band has never written something all together. But, for instance, the song 'Nadine' is just a bass line we would jam on (for lack of a better word) for half an hour or so and eventually it became a song. A song like 'Night Dancing' too was essentially a trance that everyone got into. But again, Lewis and I mapped it all out and wrote the horn arrangements and all that. With this next record we are totally open to having the guys be more involved. Again we are going to make demos for everyone but I am trying to encourage the drummers to come up with beats and materials for us to work with. At the end of the day, Lewis and I are the driving force because we are so obsessed with it.

I was just going to ask you about 'Nadine.' I interviewed Memory Tapes a couple months ago and he did an awesome remix of that track. Do you commission remixes or do artists come to you?
I think it's both. Mostly they come to us -- as far I know. We are really into someone playing with our music. That's one of my favorite remixes definitely. I think it's both. We've reached out.

And conversely, what you did with the Marina & the Diamonds song 'I Am Not A Robot' was also incredible. Do you consider yourself equally a DJ and a live musician?
I personally do a lot of DJ gigs on my own around town and mainly in California. I love playing with music and playing music for other people. I do a lot of DJ gigs with international pop and psychedelic and afro and it's funny to see the reaction that comes out from doing that. Let's just say I get heckled by the bunch.

People just don't get that seeing a DJ set of someone in a band does not mean you are seeing the band!
Totally. It's also shocking how much people want to hear the obvious hits or something new. Since when is complaining about music being old a factor? I've had mind-blowing hecklers in the last year during DJ sets.

They want you to be a radio DJ! So odd.
Some people will be totally into it and dance and another half will fight me every step of the way. I do have a reserve of '90s R&B and R. Kelly -- just in case.

When in doubt, R. Kelly.

Tags: Music