Inquiring Minds: Golden Cities' Marcus Gausepohl on Krautrock, Space-Rock and His Ambient-Drone Buddies

Houston's own Golden Cities headline the Mink tonight with Boston droners Great Hopes and St. Louis post-punk duo Spelling Bee. Rocks Off sat down with GC guitarist, Esotype Records staffer and fellow Pearland expat Marcus Gausepohl to talk about his band, his record label, and some of the groups that helped shape his sound.

Rocks Off: How did this show come about with two bands from such far-flung places like Boston and St. Louis?

Marcus Gausepohl: The show is something we put together for our friends in from out of town. Great Hopes is this great ambient drone project that Nathan Heiskia, who was previously in Golden Cities, does in Boston. Spelling Bee is an awesome band from St. Louis who has helped out a lot of bands from our area actually. They are a truly crazy DIY duo hailing from the "city of the arch."

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esotyperecords.com

RO: How did Golden Cities come about? We have seen you guys a few times but never got the full creation tale.

MG: The Walls You've Built played a good amount of shows with Lance Higdon's Tambersauro, so after we broke up it was kind of a natural progression that I started hanging out with those guys. Lance and I wanted to do some type of side project during the summer. So we got together with Nathan, who I had played recently in this shoegaze project with, and threw down on a practice room.

We jammed for hours and hours in the dark for some reason or another. I hadn't really experienced improvisation until this point, but it just worked. Nathan had to leave for school in Boston at the end of the summer, so we started putting this concept record together. We recorded with Jeff Price from Tambersauro at the Esotype Studio. The record was half improvised and half written material.

At the end of the summer everyone went back to their lives, and I finished up the record [GC's self-titled 2007 LP debut] with Jeff in just a few months. When it was all said and done we had a strong friendship and I started working with the label. Esotype Records just celebrated its tenth anniversary.

RO: What bands influenced you and Lance to go in this direction. Obviously you came from TWYB, which was epically strong emo stuff, but how do we get Golden Cities?

MG: You can break up Golden Cities' influences in three parts, really. There is the '90s space-rock bands like Landing, Yume Bitsu, Surface of Eceon. A lot of what Chicago-based Kranky records did in the late '90s. I am also a huge Krautrock fan, stuff like Neu, Can, La Düsseldorf and Cluster.

Pretty much anything in Germany during the '70s from that group of musicians works for me. The stuff that Dutch free-jazz drummer Han Bennink put out also helped shape our sound as well. I also can't forget the last John Coltrane album ever, Interstellar Space, either.


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