Jeremy Gold may have just busted onto the local scene, but the jazz-sax-player-turned-electronic-pop-musician has been shaping his musical trajectory ever since his personal life hit a wall two years ago and he wound up spending six months at a working rehab facility out of state. Now, just 24 months later, he has released his first recording, is in the process of establishing a label and has plans to hit the road this summer.
“It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Gold of his time in rehab. “I was able to both work and make money, but also focus on my music and really hone my production skills. I had the time to sit down and just be away from everything else and be in a sober state; I even took an online course by Point Blank, a London-based music school, and really got my hands on mixing and creating EDM music. I now am able to produce and mix my own and other people’s music, which is something I always dreamed of doing. And, ever since then, I’ve been really busy.”
Prior to the six-month hiatus in 2014—a recovery mandated by doctors after his concerned parents had him admitted to the hospital following an argument that resulted in Gold impulsively jumping on a plane to London where he says he “tried desperately to hit rock bottom”—the 29-year-old from Niskayuna said he had been foundering ever since his first attempt at college in 2006 ended abruptly. At SUNY Purchase on scholarship for their jazz studies program, Gold said that he used to smoke marijuana with a fellow saxophone player who received large shipments of the drug on campus; unbeknownst to Gold however, those shipments were laced with the drug PCP. Over the course of about three months, he said he ingested a significant amount of the Schedule II “dissociative hallucinogen,” which has been known to cause schizophrenia-like symptoms in humans.
“It would cause my brain to hallucinate when not using it,” he said. “I had become paranoid and, overall, a different person than I was striving to become. I had to leave college and spent about six months on my parents couch, healing my mind and getting much-needed help from doctors and therapists.” A desire to understand what was going on with his own mind caused Gold to return to school at SUNY Albany and get a degree in psychology; and a subsequent desire to return to music caused him to feel unsatisfied in that profession after graduation. In 2011, a cousin aired an unreleased track—“Light of Day,” the first Gold ever produced—on his Myrtle Beach radio station, and Gold said that’s when he knew he wanted to pursue as a career but that it’s taken him the last five years to shape his musical style.
“I like to say it’s like a cross somewhere between Calvin Harris—just, like, very pop-oriented electronically-based music—but with a Thom Yorke kinda vibe,” he said. “I’m heavily influenced by his solo stuff. I mean, like that song Eraser: as a jazz musician, just the syncopated rhythm on that track. It just blew my mind. My song “Run” is sort of influenced by that.”
“Normally my creative process is kind of sporadic and it just kind of appears,” Gold explained. “It’s just like, oh, I have this melody and I better go write it down or record it.” He doesn’t play the saxophone on any of his recordings; he says the sound doesn’t fit, but that he’s looking at finding creative ways to incorporate the instrument in future endeavors. He works with a Casio keyboard and uses computer software in his home studio on Washington Park in Albany to write, record and master songs.
Gold released his debut EP in late January and will be celebrating the event this Friday night at an EP release party at The Van Dyck in Schenectady. “It’s super exciting and totally overwhelming all at once,” he said. “I held off putting out a formal release for quite a while. I was working on getting to the point where I felt comfortable representing my music.”
Now, he said, he’s filed a trademark application for Gold Records, has been doing production work for other local musicians and has begun hosting events. He’s been invited to play at Canadian Music Week in Toronto in early May and was also selected as a finalist to potentially join The Extreme Tour, a non-profit music and sports event aimed at reaching at-risk youth. Gold, who was recommended by a tour organizer who heard his music on the Sonicbids website, will be attending an invite-only event in Nashville in late May to meet with the tour’s selection panel and other potential tour musicians.
“The tour,” he said, “believes that popular, or ‘extreme,’ music and sports are usually promoted in a way that emphasizes alcoholism, drug abuse, and violence, and they want to use them to combat those things instead. Since I have my own personal history with drugs, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be involved.”
“It’s taken me a while to find my place,” said Gold. “My zone or whatever, where I’m sober but still doing what I love and being productive. I knew, after all my struggles, that I needed to reinvent myself. I am now on the other side of the tunnel I had to crawl through and I am proud that I am getting some major recognition. The title track on my EP, “Your Skin,” definitely refers to the fact that I have been striving to escape from my past and find the new me, while remaining true to myself and the reasons I fell in love with music in the first place.” Later this year, he said he hopes to release a longer album of 10-14 tracks. “I want to be sure they’re absolutely right before I share them with the world.”
His EP release party this weekend will be a solo performance, but Gold has found musicians he is excited to work with. “We haven’t had many chances to rehearse together yet and so there’s a lot of work to do, but they’re all really quality musicians.” Currently, his live shows consist of himself, a keyboard, a laptop, and a couple of machines through which he routes samples and synchronizes beats. “It all basically allows me to do an improvisational DJ set of my own music,” he explained.
“If there’s anything I’ve learned,” he said of the last ten years, “possibly the most important is to never give up. Patience is a virtue and means that good things come to those who wait, but more importantly, good things come to those who work hard and don’t give up.”
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