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As I was scouring the internet for an awesome band to interview, I stumbled upon Gold Steps. What initially grabbed my attention was a female lead singer. Let’s face it, the pop punk scene is very male heavy and any time I can support and listen to a band with a female lead singer, I’m going to do it.
And my goodness, I am happy that I did. For whatever reason, their first song I checked out was Gatsby and it’s been in my head ever since. Their song Empty Space has over 185K streams on Spotify and I know you’ll enjoy them!
Ian: I’m excited to chat and thanks for letting me feature you in the newsletter! Before we get into the questions, please tell everyone who you are and where you’re from.
Band: Liz, vocalist, from Milwaukee, WI, Zach, lead guitar and backup vocals, from El Paso, TX, Alex, rhythm guitar and backup vocals, from San Antonio, TX. Ryan, bass, from Milwaukee, WI. Mikey, drums, from Muskego, WI
Ian: How did you all meet and how long have you been playing together? How did you come up with the name Gold Steps?
Liz: The band started in 2016, when Zach and I left our former group to start Gold Steps. We had been writing and playing together for a few months, and wanted to move things in a more pop and less punk direction than our first project together. We had the name Gold Steps picked out before we started, kind of set aside as a side project name. We were huge fans of Neck Deep’s album Life’s Not Out To Get You, and their song “Gold Steps” had all the elements we wanted to incorporate into the music we were writing together: huge choruses, inspiring lyrics, high-energy drums and guitars. We actually met Neck Deep at Warped Tour in 2017, and they gave us their blessing and signed one of our first Gold Steps shirts.
Ian: I love the pop punk feel of your sound. If YOU had to describe your sound, how would you describe it? Are there any bands that you listen to for inspiration when writing?
Liz: I’d describe our sound as heavy power pop, with an emphasis on strong vocals, fierce yet relatable lyrics, hooky distorted guitars and driving rhythms.
Ian: Having a female lead vocalist, I can imagine that people enjoy comparing you to Paramore/Haley Williams. I think it kind of stinks that this often seems to be the case for many female vocalists in the genre. If you could give advice to any aspiring, female pop punk vocalists about finding their voice, what would it be?
Liz: Be your authentic self, both aesthetically and vocally, and the rest of it will follow. Don’t set out with the intent to emulate someone else, or you’ll box yourself in. Find inspiration in all different kinds of artists! Play around with singing different genres and songs in different keys, and then you’ll start to naturally craft your own range and style. One thing that I always notice is women feel like they have to belt and hit these insane notes, or they’re not considered a talented vocalist. Find the range that works for you; if you have a sultry, velvety low register, or a breathy, ultra femme head voice, utilize that! I’ve always wanted to do insane runs like Ariana Grande, but that just doesn’t work for my voice. So instead, I use it as a way to practice and expand on what already sounds good with my voice.
Ian: So you’re from Milwaukee, WI. What’s the scene like up there? Do you have a favorite local place to play? Are there any other Milwaukee bands that we should check out?
Liz: The scene up here is really cool, and definitely pretty varied. There’s definitely a bigger scene in the hardcore, punk, indie and metal crowds than pop punk, but it’s starting to find a foothold again. We end up playing with more indie rock and indie pop bands than straight pop punk, but that’s been really helpful in opening us up to new audiences. We love playing with any bands that have high energy performances and catchy songs. We’re big fans of the staff and management at both X-Ray Arcade and The Cooperage; they’re very different styles of venues, but both make the artist and audience experience incredible for the shows they put on.
Ian: Your most streamed song at the time of this interview is Empty Space, with over 185K streams. When you were starting out, did you over think you’d have a song streamed this many times?
Liz: I’d always hoped for it! I’m a big dreamer. I think because I’m always looking for the next big milestone, sometimes I don’t always appreciate how far we’ve come. I have friends in bands at home that would kill to have that many plays on a song, and that brings perspective. At one time, 10k listens on a song would have made me scream with joy. Now, we’re shooting for that first song to hit 250k, 500k, 1 million. We’re always pushing ourselves to write better songs with each release.
Ian: You released That Ain’t It in October 2022 and I have to say, I’m a big fan. My favorite song is Gatsby. The lyrics mention a relationship ending and then the regret of it being over. What was the inspiration for this song? Is this what the song is about, or am I way off? (don’t feel like you have to go into too much personal detail, if that applies)
Liz: I always struggle with how much to reveal about a song, because I think what makes a song so special is how the listener relates and identifies with it, regardless of what the artist was writing about. However, I’m also a digger who wants to know everything about my favorite songs, so I feel you there!
In regards to Gatsby, I’ll say this: sometimes, we have a dream or goal that takes over every fiber of your being, every thought in your head, and every move you make is to reach this goal, the green light. There’s a similar theme in The Great Gatsby, which is one of my favorite stories of all-time, so I was stoked to draw parallels in the lyrics and symbolism. In real life, my dream took over so much in my life that I started to lose the person closest to me. Luckily I had a moment of clarity where I realized that the dream was nothing without him beside me, and that meant putting the dream aside to focus on what really mattered. The video does a really good job of showcasing a love that was nearly lost, but saved because the two people realized that nothing was worth losing each other over. True love won. Clichéd, but my story really did have a happier ending!
Ian: What are you most proud of from last year (2022) and what big plans do you have for 2023? (Touring, studio or maybe both?!)
Liz: I’m most proud of finally completing our EP That Ain’t It and having it released with Revival Recordings. It was more than four years in the making, and it feels great to finally have the collection of songs out in the world, especially since we’d been playing most of them live for a really long time. I’m proud of the different styles of songs on it, and the range of emotions and topics we covered. Each song is different and special in its own way.
Next year, we already have studio time booked, so there will be new music! We’re ready to get back into writing mode after such a road-heavy year. We expect to perform and hit the road much less next year; our focus will be on writing and recording, and sticking close to home. But, that means you’ll see more of us online in more intimate settings like the studio, our practice space, and our homes.
Ian: Other than your hometown, what's your favorite city (or cities) to play?
Liz: Chicago! We’ve got some awesome fans and friends down there. We consider it our second home as a band.
Support Gold Steps
Ian: It’s been great to get to know you more and hear about all the exciting things you have going on. Where can readers find you so that they stay up to date with all the great stuff you're doing?
Liz: We’re most active on Instagram, but our handle is the same everywhere: @goldstepsmke. You can find us on TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Otherwise, the all-important LinkTree is: https://linktr.ee/goldsteps
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