Les Gold is a Portland-based indie-rock collective bringing a homegrown Northwest indie aura and blending it a folk-rock sensibility. Founded by frontmen Jenson Tuomi and Travis Ezell, the two have been friends for a lifetime. Other members of Les Gold include lead guitarist Tim Kaye, bassist Nick Wright, and drummer Walter Stern, together the 5-piece have released their debut EP “More Silver” and two singles titled “Out at Sea” and “No Time”. They plan to release a wave of singles over the next year and are currently preparing the to take off on tour this November with major city dates in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles.
Gorgeously cinematic guitar tones meet with folk-like story-telling and stunning harmonies on this latest release from Les Gold. Fusing poetry and genuine emotion in an intimate and authentic setting, “No Time” is a stunning song, pure and beautifully crafted, a superb way to introduce yourself to Les Gold if you're a first-time listener. Where music leads, the instrumental work is perfectly impressive and calming all at once. Where lyricism leads, Les Gold paints thoughtful and reflective scenes before you that are quickly relatable and easy to connect with. Les Gold sound incredible as a band, they work together undeniably well and there’s a natural flow to the music, to both guitar parts and to the vocals. “No Time” rains down in a decidedly immersive and memorable way.
Listen to “No Time” here
Hey there Les Gold! Welcome to BuzzMusic! We’re really happy to be featuring your song “No Time”. It’s very catchy, but also incorporates an integral message within. Can you explain to our readers the truth that is embedded within the track?
Following up on our more shimmery/summery release 'Out at Sea' in July, 'No Time' is oriented more toward the shift from summer to autumn, which becomes kind of an introspective period for most people, certainly for us. While we're all out of school, in general, we still associate the time with going back to work and planning for a new year, and the gloom and confusion implicit in this time definitely comes through in the instrumentation. In general, the song is kind of prodding and poking at whatever assumptions you've carried forward this far. We all like to believe we don't really need to grow up and that we can keep pushing toward dreams without falling into the ennui of the rat race most of us are doomed to live - hence lines like "you scream into your pillow, shaking at the thought. Stuck to live inside a life I didn't want" and "there's no time for growing up yet, tell me who's telling you we're pretending?". It's sort of a dark lullaby from the perspective of singing to someone else, but also singing to yourself - and with a mantra attached to it, one that you repeat both because you want to affirm it, but also because you're kind of desperate for it to become reality. Similar to the process of repeating the mantra, the song kind of spins out and gets more intense at the end of the song, allowing the mantra to turn more into madness as Tim's lead guitar line kicks in, where the more you say it, the more you question it. With the focus on the line "we're pretending" at the end too, it almost feels like your pivoting and accepting that you may actually have been pretending all along. Regardless, we'll pretend until it's true - for music and everything else in life.
We’re always curious to learn more about how bands form! How did Les Gold officially come to fruition?
Other then Jensen and Travis, did you know the other band members prior to creating the band? So actually all of us went to high school together and had played together at one point or another (except Nick, our bassist). Jenson and Travis definitely lead the charge in writing music together and just in general always singing or goofing off, but Walter and Tim were right there to screw around a lot of the time too. Once we had our first EP mostly written, we brought it to Tim to add his lead guitar since he and Travis were previously in a band called Yahtzee together, and Walter is a skilled drummer and a good friend of ours was a no-brainer to add. Nick was another story, where and Jenson were actually in the same fraternity (Sigma Phi Epsilon) at Oregon State University for a year before Jenson transferred to southern California and attended Claremont McKenna College (funny aside, Tim actually went to Pomona College which was right across the street from Claremont, so he and Jenson had a lot of time to work on music and hang out during the college years as well). It was only after the original EP was released that we realized how badly we needed a top-notch bass player. Nick had been playing in a lot of bands, a couple of which were seriously next level (e.g. Bitches of the Sun) on the Portland scene. We actually got super lucky when we met with him over beers and asked us to come play a couple of shows with us - thankfully he's stuck around and has added so much depth, soul, and complexity to our sound. Plus, to keep it all sort of in the family really means a lot to us.
Who has had the biggest influence on your life musically thus far? Can you describe the impact this particular individual has had in terms of your new song “No Time”?
As far as influences, it's pretty hard to pinpoint any one individual. I think all of us have our sort of icons that we model after. For me (Jenson), I'd say that James Mercer from The Shins has had the most profound impact as far as lyricism, harmony structure, and some elements of storytelling/underlying themes in songs. We could rattle off a long list of names that also come through pretty clearly in some of our songs too like Bowie, Julian Casablancas, Dan Auerbach, Conner Oberst, Jack White, Bon Iver, James Hamilton Leithauser, etc. but only a couple of them play a big role in the construction of this song. I'd say as far as lyricism, chilled indie vibes, use of bass line interplaying with fingerpicking, and some elements of the harmony, a lot of No Time can be attributed to influences like James Mercer, Bon Iver, and a little pinch of Band of Horses/Radiohead mixed in.
What are some of your ultimate goals as a group? Are any of these goals currently being put into place/being worked on?
We have some ultimate goals like playing major festivals (Coachella, Lollapalooza, etc.), getting signed to a top indie label like Sub Pop, Matador, Secretly Canadian, or Kill Rockstars (to name a few), touring internationally to Europe and Japan, and opening/co-headlining with a lot of the bands that influenced us - dreams would be The Shins, The Strokes, The Black Keys, Bon Iver, among many others. As far as working toward those goals, we're currently in talks to play some smaller festivals this spring, which will be a leg up to the bigger ones. We're also looking at a tentative tour to the UK as an opener in late March/early April, but we haven't confirmed that yet so I don't want to jump the gun by talking about it too much. As far as getting signed, we're starting to attract some interest from some smaller indie labels, which is very welcomed! Our biggest song currently, 'Silver Platters', still gets hype and we're hoping these next couples generate enough interest to either get an early signing or maybe a P&D deal for some of our newer music. And on opening, we've probably still got some ground to cover before we get brought on tour with The Black Keys haha, but we're really thrilled to have the opportunity to open for people like Grammy Award winner Jesse Harris in November (a lot of his work both on his own and behind the scenes with other artists has been super influential), and Horse Feathers in January (they're local folk legends from Portland, OR, and we owe a lot to them as well). All good things take time, but we're thankful to be where we are only 11 months since our More Silver EP first released.
It was great having you here on BuzzMusic! Tell us more about what's next for you after this song release? What city are you most looking forward to on your upcoming tour?
After this song, we've got another single set to debut in late November/early December, and then the first week of December we'll be back in the studio finishing 3 more songs that will last us into the spring. Outside of that, we're really doubling down on opening for some bigger acts, playing more outside of Portland, and ideally hitting some of the festival circuits as well as playing in the UK. As far as this upcoming tour, it's tough to say, each city has a lot of sentimental value to us. San Francisco will definitely bring out a crowd, which we're very excited for. But if I were to pick one, I'd say our Los Angeles date is going to be the real one to remember. We'll be playing in full force in warm weather, in front of a lot of people that have been inspirational for us thus far in the journey - and do be right on top of the pulse of the music industry in LA is a sort of rejuvenating and inspiring experience all to itself. Also, really looking forward to getting a double-double after the show - it's been too damn long since I've had In N Out.