The Golden Filter, comprised of Stephen Hindman and Penelope Trappes, has built up a reputation for being mysterious, and their new record titled Voluspa certainly holds up to that label. I took the liberty of asking them some semi-normal questions and some not-at-all-normal questions in an attempt to chisel away at the mystery. Whether or not that goal was accomplished I can’t be sure, but we DID manage to finally put an end to the heated (albeit delicious) debate over the origins of the Pavlova. You have Penelope to thank for that one. So without further ado, I give you weirdness with The Golden Filter:
BYT: So first and foremost, how/where/when did you guys meet?
As strangers/neighbors across an NYC Street a few years ago.
BYT: Was it magical?
Everything is magical.
BYT: Did you realize straight away that you’d become The Golden Filter, or did that part come later?
Later. However sometimes when these things present themselves, the mind has a strange defense mechanism that tells you something else quite opposite.
BYT: Tell me a little bit about “Solid Gold”. In my brain, it registers as very King Midas-inspired, like a few months after Dionysus takes away the golden touch and the horrifying truth really starts to sink in that he’s super poor. But that’s probably not what you were going for, so I’m curious to know what inspired you in writing that song?
Solid Gold was musical desperation. It was written about that very point where you decide to give up something you absolutely love forever. The fox and the path is the confusing past that led us to that point.
BYT: And more importantly, or perhaps I should say more timely, what can you tell me about Voluspa? I’ve been listening to it in my car for the past week and a half, and for me at least, the whole record gives off this really interesting sonic balance between darkness and lightness that I can’t get over. So what were you going for with this album?
We were going for something that isn’t just a Dance record. We are aware that most people don’t seem to have the capacity to listen to a full album the whole way through, no matter how good it is. And we also had no desire to make a “banging” dance record as those are some of the most boring records out there. We were also toying with sonically describing in some faint secret way, our struggle that no matter how dark or light, will never end. Hard beats, soft vocals. Strange atmosphere. Like acupuncture.
BYT: What’ve you been listening to lately? Any guilty pleasures?
The Flirts, The Radio Dept, The Gentle Waves. Guiltless.
BYT: What was the first concert you went to? How about the last show you’ve been to see?
Stephen: First: some random punk show in Pittsburgh. The last show I went to where we didn’t play, I think it was The XX.
Penelope: First: Violent Femmes Last: The Specials
BYT: Okay here come the weird(er) questions. If you could change the colors of the American and/or Australian flags (same colors, convenient), would you do it? If you said yes, what would the new colors be? If you said no, you are more patriotic than I am.
Stephen: America’s flag would be black and white.
Penelope: Australian flag should be green (for the land) and gold (for the sun). No more reference to the Union Jack/colonialism.
BYT: Are you guys happy/satisfied with your middle names? I’m not with mine, hence I refuse to disclose it at this time.
Stephen: I am perfectly fine with mine
Penelope: I love it now but hated it when I was little.
BYT: So let’s say you’re walking down the street one day, and all of a sudden the unreal becomes the real deal. What magical and/or mystical creature would you be most pleasantly surprised to find out was actually for real? And which would you be most distressed about? For me the former would be unicorns, the latter would be zombies.
Penelope: Would love to know that the Bunyips (Aboriginal) were real and would be terrified by the reality of vicious fire-breathing dragons.
BYT: Speaking of unreal becoming the real deal (I apologize, I have a mildly unhealthy obsession with the supernatural), what do you think you’d be doing presently if the Y2K scare had been a reality? I’d be dead for sure.
Penelope: I would be in a cave deep in the rainforest living off of nuts and fruit.
BYT: BONUS: Okay Penelope, seeing as you’re Australian this one is for you. Can you tell us once and for all whether it was New Zealanders or Australians who invented the Pavlova? I view you as a neutral candidate because I read in another interview (IM // UR to be exact) that you are (or were) hanging with more Kiwis than Aussies in the US, which I assume creates balancing effect on this most controversial of dessert debates. Slash you really don’t have to answer this one, I just happen to be a big fan of Pavlovas.
Penelope: Pavlovas are amazing!! I grew being led to believe they are an Aussie invention but I think they sadly are Kiwi. I can accept that as my mother was born in NZ and yes I am not into the silly inter-country rivalry.
Want more? Check out The Golden Filter live this Friday at DC9. Open bar (rail cocktails only) from 9-10:30PM, tickets still available for just $8. The show is 18+, and if you’re under 21 get there BEFORE 10:30 or it’s a no-go. In the meantime, check out their amazing tumblr for visual inspiration. And if you were wondering what the eff a bunyip is, the National Library of Australia has dedicated a whole animated website to learning about and appreciating these mythical creatures. The sound effects really make the experience worth your time, so enter the lair of the bunyip if you dare! (don’t worry, I entered it and I’m still alive.)