For the past few weeks, The Macbeth in Hoxton has been playing host to some pretty special live music events from bands big and small, as well as workshops and Q&A’s. In the intimate venue, Jack Daniels, in association with Spotify and NME, has been taking over, and this Monday it was turn for the next ‘one-to watch’ Iris Gold to take to the stage. With her collaboration with The Libertines drummer Gary Powell and promises of a unique hippy-meets hip hop sound, we were excited to discover what it was all about. We managed to have a bit of a chat to Iris Gold herself before her set, in the girls loo’s of course, to find out all about this new sound and how she and The Libertines legend have ended up together.
Hi Iris, so how would you introduce yourself and your sound to those who maybe just discovering you as an artist?
Hi, well I am Iris Gold. I would say my music is a mixture, of 70’s hippy vibes, with some old school 80’s hip hop flows, with I guess a few modern sounds thrown on in there too. I’m originally from and still commute to Copenhagen from my base here in London.
So what sort of sounds did you grow up listening to and how have they influenced your sound now?
Where I grew up in Copenhagen, I was with my mother, who really was a full out hippy. We used to travel around all the time, always moving and living in these different squats within hippy communities. So when I was younger I used to have this alter ego for myself, a pirate called Sally with an invisible friend; a giraffe. I used to pretend that the mattress that I had with me was my boat, and that everywhere I went, my invisible giraffe and my mattress boat came with me too. Even though I was constantly moving, that bit stayed the same. I’ve actually written a song about that, called Goldmine. So when I was doing all of this I was listening to Mammas and Pappas and Jefferson Aeroplane. I used to listen to all of the old records that even my own mum started to think I was a bit weird, because I didn’t want to listen to new music that was out there at the time like the other kids. I just wanted to be on my mattress boat and listen to 70’s music.
So then I was introduced to some of my mums really cool DJ friends, who basically said, “look Iris we need to educate you on a bit of Hip Hop”. So along came all of the classics, you know, like Beastie Boys and Salt N Peppa. At first I just thought “this is really boring”, and then the whole sound just came into my body and my soul and it just felt natural. The first time I wrote a rap, it automatically came out in an 80’s flow.
So how did the collaboration with Gary Powell come about, is he now solidly a member of the Iris Gold band?
Well we introduced by our management and we went for a drink, and we just had a vibe. We hit it off straight away, and had the same sort of passions and influence in music. Then it went from there. Yes he’s a part of our team, and its really exciting.
What’s next for Iris Gold then, more records, more live gigs?
Well we’re actually supporting Erasure in December, and there is hopefully some pretty big acts that we’re doing some new shows with next year too, but I don’t want to jinx them just yet. And my new track Goldmine, will be released before Christmas, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
And with her sparkly catsuit and big smile, Iris rushed off to go for a few photo opportunities before she took to the stage. So we took our places in the pretty quiet bar, ready to hear a song about a mattress boat.
Iris gold opened her set with a vivacious, catchy pop number, encouraging the smaller crowds that were there to join in and clap their hands as her band, made up of bassist, DJ, Powell on drums and support singer, set the upbeat tone for the rest of the night. The singer followed up the opener with a deeper, bass filled track that showcased the sounds of the band as she warbled ’Shake that money maker’ repetitively whilst dancing around the stage all long legs and hip movements. The track took an anthemic crescendo, as the band saluted whilst dancing, keeping in to the steady rhythmic beats of the ever talented Powell.
Goldmine was the third track of the night, the one that Iris had already promised was headed to be her debut single. With an old school feel, and spoken word parts, the track was easily the catchiest of the night, and really was a promising pop record that has all the potential for crowd dancing action. The artist quickly followed with ‘My Momma was a Hippy’, a mellower track with just as an infectious chorus, showcasing her range of vocal and rap abilities.
Last song of the night came in the form of track ‘Polka Dots’ which ended the five song set on a complete high, with the audience and the band all chanting ‘One love’ with fingers pointed towards the air. It was relaxed, upbeat and if we were to complain, just a little too short for our liking. The band all seems to be at one with their sound, and that sound just so happened to be really good, decent pop music.
Catch Iris Gold at Birthdays in Stoke Newington 12th Nov