Gold Steps interview
By Bec Simpson || Photo from instagram.com/goldstepsatx
Gold Steps are a five piece pop-punk band from Austin, Texas who recently played at this year’s final Warped Tour (San Antonio). They also have a brand new album out - ‘Incandescent’ - and some big plans for the rest of the year. We put a few questions to lead vocalist Liz Mauritz and this is what she had to tell us...
You guys hail from Austin. What’s the music scene like there currently?
It's an incredibly talented and supportive community. There's a few bands that have been around for awhile, the anchors of the scene, but there are constantly new bands forming, and side projects with members from various bands. There's quite a few pop-punk, pop-rock and hardcore bands that have an immense amount of talent, but what sets the Austin scene apart is how close everyone is and supportive of each other. The genuine appreciation for each other's music is really cool; there isn't a lot of ego here, which is refreshing.
Could you recommend any local up and coming bands we should be looking out for?
Commons is a band we love to play with and watch; Steven has the most incredible range, and he writes from the heart. He appeared in our music video for "As Luck Would Have It," and shared some really raw, emotional moments with us. We also love our dudes in Nominee, Burning Years, and Dozer.
How did you all meet?
Zach and I played together in a band previously, and we left that band (along with previous bassist David) to form Gold Steps. Roger answered an ad the band posted looking for a drummer, which is also how we found our original rhythm guitarist. Elias stepped into the rhythm guitarist position last fall after being referred to us by a friend. We knew Raz from playing shows with his previous bands, and when David left the band to focus on his family, Raz moved from Houston to play bass for us.
How did you decide on the name Gold Steps and what does it mean to you?
Gold Steps is named after the Neck Deep song. It was chosen because the song represents the sound we wanted to go for when starting this project. Zach and I weren't happy with the direction our previous band was going, and were listening to Neck Deep in Zach's truck one day, and had a conversation about how that song perfectly matched the style of pop punk we wanted to play. We joked about starting a side project with the name, and it always kind of stuck in our minds. The moment we left our other band, Gold Steps was born.
How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard of it before?
Fast, loud, and circle-pit friendly with chuggy guitars, a tight rhythm section and emotionally raw, honest lyrics. I usually describe us as New Found Glory with a frontwoman; wishful thinking haha.
Your lyrics often deal with some strong issues such as mental health, depression, anxiety and so on. How important do you feel it is for bands to openly discuss such things through their music rather than just your standard love song type lyrics?
I think it's kind of interesting how I progressed as a songwriter from the first EP, because I had a couple relationship-based songs on "Louder Than Words," that are vastly different from the relationship-based songs on "Incandescent." For me, "standard love song" lyrics have a time and place, but they feel very surface-level; there's a depth that's missing. Relationships are present in all shapes and forms in each of our lives, but how do they influence us?
Growing up, I looked to my favorite artists to express or convey what I couldn't while dealing with my mental health issues. I bonded with their music because it resonated with what I felt in my gut, my heart, my head. It's incredibly important to provide that outlet and a voice for those who don't feel understood or accepted elsewhere. I found my place among the pop punk/Warped Tour/emo/whatever you want to call it crowd, because I could connect with people who understood the feelings, thoughts and experiences I had without judgement.
I've always found it interesting that the pop punk and hardcore scene tends to dig a little deeper and highlight topics that other genres leave in the shadows, without glorifying them. I've wondered many times regarding this community and subculture: Are we drawn to this style of music and each other because of our bonds over the struggles we experience, or does this genre naturally draw people who are more emotionally-aware and experience more mental health issues or trauma? Are we just more forward about our emotions? I don't feel that I could write about these topics as openly in another genre, so it would be interesting to explore why.
Your latest EP is called Incandescent. What’s the response been like to it so far?
We've received really great feedback regarding our growth in songwriting as a whole, which is really exciting. People have expressed that the production is awesome, which is thanks to Rick King at King Sound Studios. I've heard from a few people that they really love "Manic To Panic," the EP closer, which means a lot because that song really wraps up and explores the entirety of the EP in the medley at the end.
Do any of the songs on the EP have any kind of underlying theme or concept?
Nearly all of them. I strive to write lyrics that can be interpreted by and meaningful to any listener, but they have very personal meaning to me. I think the most blunt and straightforward song on the record is "Exit The Apologist," which is clearly about a cheating significant other. However, to me it's also about not holding guilt or shame within yourself for someone else's actions, and knowing when to say "I've given all I have, and enough is enough; I'm done with this person or situation, and I refuse to carry that pain with me anymore."
What inspires your songwriting as a band?
Anything and everything. We bring influences from across the board, but we're always inspired to write music that you can move to and feel in your core. For me, I've been inspired by visual imagery from moments that I felt something strong, or from moments that I simply recognized as poignant. Many times, we're inspired to write after going to a show and being stoked by the performance. Other times, we just feel it out. It can start from one drum fill, one guitar riff, one line of a melody, and develop into something we can work into a full song.
Have you guys ever played at Warped Tour before?
No, but it was a dream come true. We all thought our chance to check that off our bucket list was over, and when we got the email saying we'd been chosen, we freaked out. I called my parents right away, because I was so happy to share the news.
What was it like playing on the last ever Warped? Did you get a good response to your music?
It was one of the best days of our lives; we had the biggest smiles and were walking on air the whole day. We ordered fans that had our photo on it and wrote our set time on them as soon as we found out, then handed them out to people waiting in line.
What other bands would you most like to tour and play with?
Our wishlist definitely includes New Found Glory, Four Year Strong, Neck Deep, The Wonder Years and WSTR.
What’s next for Gold Steps? What have you got planned for the rest of 2018? Do you have a full length album in the works?
We have two tours coming up. The first runs through mid-September, and will take us through the Midwest and New England, to hit some spots we didn't make it on our tour earlier this summer. Then we're heading to Kentucky to record a couple new tracks at King Sound Studios, before hitting the road to California in October---we'll be announcing that second tour soon. After that, the focus will be on continuing to write new material. We're not sure if it'll be a full-length; we're keeping our minds open and seeing where the writing process leads us.
How do you see yourselves in five years time? What’s your long term goal for the band?
Five years is a lifetime in the music world. Who knows what people will be into then? Haha. We'd love to be touring internationally, continuing to grow as musicians and songwriters, and meeting as many people as we can. Our long-term goal is really the same as our short-term goal has been, to write music that resonates with people, and be part of a supportive, expressive, and caring community. We plan to continue working with HeartSupport, and would love to play Sophomore Slump, Riot Fest and Four Chords Music Festival.
Check out the EP, ‘Incandescent’, self-released and out now, available on your usual digital music platforms - 25 minutes of bouncy, energetic pop-punk - and look out for these guys at a venue near you soon.
Keep up with the band: