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Gold Motel speaks on album, artistic processes

“I’ve [thought] about this before… about how there is so much material in the world. How it’s almost impossible to choose what you want to sound like. Kind of like someone who’s never sang before can just choose. ‘Well, what style of singer do I want to be?’ I can just start out of nothing; I can create whatever I want…,” says Gold Motel front woman, Greta Morgan.

With so many options and opportunities laid out on the table, it may seem overwhelming to choose a new path. Greta Morgan broke things off with her old band The Hush Sound where she played keyboards and sang joint vocals, to reinvent herself for the better. Many critics in the music community are glad that she did. “It wasn’t a decision to go solo, as much as a decision that I wanted something else,” says Morgan.

“[The name] Gold Motel was actually pulled out of a hat when I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico with friends recording some songs that went on the Gold Motel EP. That was when I was trying to figure it all out. I didn’t know if I wanted to go by my name or if I wanted it to be more of a band,” she says. “So we pulled all these names out of a hat, and that one stuck.”

Accumulating a group of close friends for her band including Eric Hehr on guitar, Matt Minx playing bass, Adam Coldhouse on drums, and Dan D. singing backup and playing guitar, Morgan began touring the United States after recording their debut, the self-released Summer House.

“I [decided that] I wanted a full time band. It’s so much more fun to be able to play music when you can share it with other people who are there. I think that the music is so much better because of it as well, when it’s a full band and not just one person out there alone.” Case Western Reserve University is just one of the stops on Gold Motel’s tour throughout the Midwest this fall.

The album is highly polished and full of the energy Morgan was known to bring to her old outfit The Hush Sound, yet Summer House has distinct differences from her roots. “We listen to tons of stuff from electronica, to pop, to country,” Morgan reveals about Gold Motel. “We all at the heart of it love pop music. I think collectively as a band, we all decided that this album would reflect Southern California pop and rock ’n’ roll. What I imagined with this record, is that friends will want to drive around together with their windows down.”

There are countless songs on the record that seem to encapsulate that top-of-the-world feeling of youth in summertime. The vintage tinged videos for singles “Safe in L.A.”, “Perfect in My Mind”, and “We’re On the Run” capture feelings that every listener would want to reference as timeless memories. The heavy nostalgia that the band’s name suggests drenches the melodies and rhythms of the album’s best tracks with nods to past musical legends.

“Specifically I remember when we were working on the song ‘Safe in L.A.’ Smokey Robinson was an artist we brought up that we used as kind of a reference point,” says Gold Motel guitarist, Eric Hehr. “Another song on the album, called ‘We’re on the Run’, has certain production and things we did with texturizing in guitar parts where we were referencing Fleetwood Mac. We just recorded our 7” ‘Talking Fiction’, where we definitely referenced some of Blondie’s material a good amount. We’re kind of going all over the grid, because pop is such a vague word to describe music. I think we take a little bit of everything to achieve what we want to do.”

“Somehow we’ve fooled people into thinking that the album was made in California,” Morgan jokes. “It’s funny and totally ironic! We actually recorded in the dead of winter, at a house in the suburbs of Chicago, and our bass player Matt joked that we should call the album ‘Winter Lodge’ instead of ‘Summer House’. It just kind of shows that you can write a sad song if you’re not sad, you can write a happy song if you’re not happy, or you can write a summer song in the dead of winter.”

Blending together the popularity of pop, country-tinged female vocals, and that Californian lo-fi production Gold Motel picks apart the sweet of many different bands today and blends it with the successes of the past to create an all around fantastic sound. It seems that Morgan and the band picked the perfect time to try and branch out.

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