Ivy Gold, is back with a stunning new album, “Broken Silence,” out on May 26th this year.
“Ivy Gold’s ‘Broken Silence’ is a muscular rock album with funk, blues, and gospel influences. File under breakthrough contemporary rock of the highest order.”
This is their second album, “Six Dusty Winds” was released in March 2021, a great start for this independent outfit, and 2022 saw the acclaimed “Live at the Jovel.” We have the download links for both of these connected here.
When a down-to-earth fairy named Manou meets four thoroughbred musicians, something special emerges, like “Broken Silence.” The creators of this long player, the quintet called Ivy Gold (website link here), are bursting with energy. They consist of the already-mentioned front woman, Manou; Sebastian Eder (guitarist and musical director); Tal Bergman (drums); Kevin Moore (bass); and Anders Olinder (keyboards).
We were joined in the interview by Manou and Sebastian Eder in a talk that is quite wide-ranging, as you will see. We hope, as always, that you enjoy reading, and this is a great indie band to get behind and check out the music for. The new album is really great, and we will have the review out in late May. So the first question was about how the music for this one is so personal, how the lyrics seem to draw on personal experience. There is a comment we read from Manou in the press release that said:
The recording sessions this time were sometimes painful to the limit,” recalls Manou, who is responsible for the lyrics. “Which is because their content is much more intimate, personal. Writing like this can be very painful. But, a powerful warrior like me can take it.”
It made us think of Shirley King’s (BB King’s daughter) remark to the magazine about how you have to have lived to sing the blues. We wondered about how Ivy Gold saw things.
Manou- I very much agree. For me personally, when I come up with lyrics, they are based on experiences I have had at some point in my life, and I like to dig into those issues, whatever they are. We all have weaknesses and strengths. For me, writing about those things gives me the internal feed that I need to be able to get the message across. Sometimes we dig deep, but that is the thing that your audience wants to feel, they like to sense that it is real. Writing about your own experiences is the salt in the soup for me.
We asked about the songwriting process, how they worked in the studio. Was Manou the lyricist and Sebastian the musician, and how much was added to the idea in the studio?
Sebastian- In the studio, we just let it flow, we have no set plan to write a ballad, or make it bluesy or whatever. I try to slip into a creative world, no barriers or borders…
Manou- or expectations
Sebastian- true, no expectations. We try to let the music talk. I may have an idea, and Manou may add to it, and we will compose and record as a collaboration.
There are a wide variety of approaches to songwriting. If songwriting is like a cooking program, some songwriters will be perfectionists and weigh up every ingredient and word to the last degree, while others will throw the ingredients they choose into the pot and see what happens. Which of these versions would fit Ivy Gold?
Sebastian- The basic plan is laid out before the studio. In the studio, I will try to get 100% out of the song. I will try it in another key, for example.
Manou-But that is the second process of the song. The basic idea is in place quickly; first comes the theme, the introduction. Sebastian will have a form of riff, and then I will come in and try to work with the melody perhaps. In the process of harmony and melody, the lyrics will begin to develop. I will be reminded of something.
Sebastian- Then comes the fine tuning. In that stage, no one will really hear what I do in the fine tuning; it may be touching the rhythm or solos. It gets to a stage where it cannot be improved.
Manou: At some point, you have to let it go. Maybe two years down the road you will feel you could have done better, but you have to let it go. A song is a bit like a baby; it grows and then is in the world.
We have a poet in the magazine, and they describe writing as something similar. Sometimes, when writing the poems, they find it cathartic. They will throw the emotion down and then work later on the technical bits, putting in the metaphor or whatever. Listening to Ivy Gold, a favourite track of ours was “Retribution” which is a highly emotional track, a rock n’ blues number full of angst.
Manou- You are right, it has a lot of anger, but in a positive way. When you look at the world at large, Now, we wrote that one three or four years ago, before the pandemic and the Ukraine war. But we had the feeling that the environment needed to be protected, and we had to do something to help our children have a better world—to pass the baton intact to the next generation, so to speak. Once we are not here, then what will the world look like? That is this song, it is about our responsibility to take care of things for our children.
Sebastian- Our songs will always have a positive ending. We are not in the business of saying everything out there is sh*t. The positive message in the songs is important to us.
Are they a political band?
Manou- I don’t think so. No.I am not into politics at all and never have been. It is not part of our music. As a motto, our music would be never give up and make the best of every day.
Ivy Gold is an independent band without a label, which makes their accomplishments all the more impressive. We moved on to talking about being independent today and how they are fighting in a very competitive business.
Sebastian- Before the first album, we did talk to a few record labels and try to get a deal, I guess a band is always looking for a label and the support that can give a partner to do the marketing. As a musician, you want to concentrate on the creative side. We did actually get a couple of deals on the table; we had offers from a bigger label or two. But we passed on all the offers. This is because, as a musician these days, you must give away all merchandising rights, all publishing rights, everything. And do we get enough in return? So I knew I didn’t want to give away my freedom with no guarantee of getting money back. But you have to have some financial stability to be able to remain independent.
Manou- Being independent means we can make decisions about what is best for us, we can control the sound, and you get our material as we want it.
Sebastian- Sometimes a label may try to influence the music, to try to make the song a bit more radio friendly, more commercial. But I don’t like that.
Moving onto the album. We will have a review up later. But, having had the privilege of a pre-listen, they have brought in a gospel influence. There is a choir on one number! (“I Am That I Am”)
Sebastian- That just happened. Personally, I love gospel and that sound, that authentic US gospel sound. On this song, it was just there, there was no plan! There was an idea to do a gospel style number. We recorded with the choir in pre-production, but it kept getting bigger! That song is so good, one of the highlights, and we are glad you liked it.
Manou- It’s something different.
We actually loved it! And the cover for “Broken Silence,” that is a great cover.
Manou- We have this great guy, a Belgian graphic artist called Eric Philippe. I love it, very pleased with it.
Sebastian- He has done a lot of art for bands, whether blues, hard rock, or whatever. He did the design, and we are very happy with it. It is great what you can do now with a computer in terms of graphic design.
Manou- There is the album, obviously. There are also other projects we are working on. We are looking at an acoustic show, and there are some promotions coming up in May. But exciting things are in the pipeline.
Sebastian- It’s important to say that we want to take our new music out there live, get feedback from the audience, and see how they react to the new material.
The fact that Ivy Gold, although they are at home in the most diverse places on this planet and have not known each other for too long, still come across as a sound-technical bulwark is due to a true value: that of unbreakable friendship. “This close soulmate relationship we have, is sometimes a bit frightening,” Manou says, rubbing her eyes again and again, amazed at so much sincere togetherness. “Our music may not be perfect. But thanks to the unusual circumstances of our cohesion, it is always authentic through and through.”
Now is the time to take this powerful “message of honesty” to the world. “We will do everything for it,” Manou is inspired. “Because “Broken Silence” is a huge step in the necessary direction. And that’s probably why it’s so immensely satisfying.”
So check out the tracks below, grab the last album and get excited about May everybody!
By Benny (the Ball) Benson
Mark C. Chambers
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