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Exploring the Golden Isles

by Archives September 29, 2009

After two name changes, countless shows, and one appearance at Pop Montreal last year, Montreal’s Golden Isles lie just on the horizon, waiting to be discovered.
The self-described “golden brothers” that make up Golden Isles are Kyle Salhany, Richard Wenger, Jonny Knowles, Matthew Salaciak, Emmanuel Thibau, and Adam Feingold.
The Golden Isles mix the soulful crooning vocals of Feingold with enjoyable pop compositions and a dash of psychedelia.
Knowles, Salhany, and Salaciac are studying at the John Molson School of Business. Feingold, a humanistic studies student at McGill, talks about the creation of Golden Isles, and how they are a part of the Montreal scene.

Q: Bring me back to the beginning, how did Golden Isles start?

A: We started in the first year of CEGEP. I knew Thibau. He was involved with this band called The Repeats and the other guys were involved with this band called Rock Paper Scissors. Those were the local high school scene bands. I met Thibau from going to one of their shows and became friends with him. Thibau was friends with Richard who played keyboard for Rock Paper Scissors. Richard had booked this show at Club Lambi for this new project he wanted to start called Data Beta. It was this electropop kind of thing and he needed people to jam with before the show. So a week before the show Thibau brought me in to jam with Richard and a few other people. We played the show and it was cool, a lot of people were there. We played instrumental, kind of nonsense, shoegaze kind of shit. We had these huge crescendos that built up to nothing. That was really fun.

Q: How did Data Beta become the Golden Isles?

A: We played a bunch of shows as Data Beta, then we felt that name was stupid. So we changed our name to Crystal Moustache and kept playing. We started playing more popular songs with formal structures and wanted to start singing verses and choruses. I said ‘I’ll try it out’ and as it turned out it worked pretty well, for what we were doing at the time and it still works. That was for a year and a half. Recently we changed our name to Golden Isles and still playing shows.

Q: What inspired the band to use the name Golden Isles?

A: We were really struggling to find a band name to mark this new direction we were heading. “Crystal” was way overplayed. I thought it was a stupid name anyway. Richard was in Florida on vacation. I think he drove by this sign that said, ‘Welcome to Golden Isles Beach.’ He came home and asked what we thought about the name ‘Golden Isles.’ We had a whole bunch of names that were much lamer. Golden Isles was good and we could definitely live with that.

Q: You played Pop Montreal last year, what was that like?
A: Yeah we played last year as Crystal Moustache at Saphir. I think, at the time, it was the best show our band had played. Before that we played some good Friendship Cove shows. The sound was all messed up and there was like a buzz the whole night – some sort of feedback. We ended up playing a pretty good show even though it was pretty chaotic and we fucked up. I ended up rapping and taking my shirt off, but it was really fun. My parents were there and they were with all their friends, it was just really a wild show.

Q: How do you feel about the current music scene here in Montreal?
A: There are a lot of younger bands coming up right now that might change the landscape of Montreal music and maybe even Canadian music. People have a really rigid conception of what Montreal music might sound like. I think my band and the bands that I’m affiliated with and my friends who are in the music scene, they are a new wave coming. It’s the beginning of a new decade.

Golden Isles will be playing at the Green Room (5386 St-Laurent) on Oct. 2 at 11p.m .as part of Pop Montreal.

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