HOLY GOLDEN CHAT NEW ALBUM ‘OTHERWORLD’ AND TOUR PLANS 123

Currently building up to the release of their album Otherworld on February 16th, dream-pop duo Holy Golden, AKA Leslie and Andrew, have big plans for 2018, especially given the exciting journey, that included two US tours, 2017 took them on. ThisIsTheLatest chatted to Leslie about artistic inspiration, tour plans and where they’d like to see themselves 5 years from now.

TITL: What’s the story behind Holy Golden? How did the two of you come together and how did you come up with the band name?

Leslie: Strange cosmic force brought us together in wintertime on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. We had an immediate connection but lived on opposite coasts, California and New England. We made it work and within six months had recorded several songs, filmed music videos, and made a film. Holy Golden as a name is basically about finding the “wholeness” and “gold” inside your soul. The meaning grows deeper all the time. We initially got the idea from Andrew’s Grandma who’s a Reiki master when she said Andrew had a golden aura. We liked the positive feeling of the two words together.

TITL: Which bands and artists influenced you growing up and have those influences changed much over the years?

L: As a little girl I loved pop stars and classical music. I found an old Celine Dion CD of my Mom’s and I would stay up late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping, writing this dramatic script about me falling in love with a shy boy at summer camp in Canada. So weird, I was like 10 but I loved listening to music and visualizing at the same time. So I’m pretty sure whether or not it’s a good thing, all my parents CDs seriously influenced me in that way because I still always visualize when I’m listening to music.

Andrew loved playing his Dad’s classic rock records like The Beatles and he was a big fan of bands like Guided by Voices, Silkworm, Pavement, and John Fahey. What we listen to changes often but all those influences come through – especially in Andrew’s guitar playing style and my flair for the dramatic.

TITL: Is there a band or artist you might say you’re similar to or do you make a determined effort to just be yourselves and follow your own musical path?

L: I guess we’re like any artist who believes in their work and doing the work their creative minds beg of them. It’s like the music rules us and we try to get out of its way and not compare it to anything too much. Style-wise, we feel a connection to ’90s music, but we get different references all the time. You can easily get in your head if you start comparing your work with whatever is popular at the moment. There’s space for everyone to do their thing and its best to respect your voice and be as honest as you can in the moment with wherever you’re at.

TITL: Tell me a little about your latest track “Arrival”. Is there a particular story or meaning behind it?

L: Yes. The whole album Otherworld is a story. It’s been brewing for a long time. “Arrival” is the euphoric entrance into the world of the album. It’s a pat on the back for making it as far as you’ve come and knowing that now you can claim your space and stand strong. “See the shore, lined up for miles in the atmosphere of everything I stand for.” It’s like you can grasp your desire in the physical realm. And in this case, it was well earned. Overcoming years of self-doubt, sadness, and others trying to stop you from reaching this world of your own – not to mention yourself trying to stop yourself! Now you’ve arrived. Things aren’t perfect but at least you made it. Now you can begin.

TITL: The song is taken from your album Otherworld which is released on Feb 16th. Without giving too much away, how would you sum it up?

L: A curious and passionate young girl transcends her perpetual sadness via her imagination and creates a kingdom which includes a castle on the sea, levitation, talking animals, and ultimately, the need to deal with her past and present to make peace in her soul. The story is for anyone and can be interpreted to relate to your own hero’s journey.

TITL: Could you pick a favourite track or two from the collection and if so, which are they and why?

L: “World Of My Own” encapsulates the whole album into four simple words and has the power to help a lot of people, especially in these current times. “The Catacombs” is very meaningful. It deals with my father’s death and a trip I took with him to The Catacombs in Paris when I was a young girl. Growing up, my family had a beautiful piano in our living room. I’m one of five kids, my parents always had us take piano lessons but the recitals were emotional torture for me. I ignored the piano for many reasons until one day I decided to play again and the song I wrote eventually became “The Catacombs.” This song is like a lantern you take down into a dark dungeon – to better understand – and you end up feeling more whole because you went there.

TITL: You spent the late end of last year on the road – do you have any favourite memories or highlights of 2017, performance wise?

L: We did two US tours in 2017 after playing our first show ever about a year ago on New Year’s Eve at our friends store Maison DNA in Newport, Rhode Island. Meeting so many musicians across the country has been amazing and inspiring. A mini-tour in Texas with the bands El Lago and Astragal was a highlight. Playing with Death Vessel on Andrew’s birthday last year on March 31, was really cool. There were so many great moments! It was all so special and we feel most at home when traveling and performing.

TITL: What are your tour and performance plans for this year? Will Europe and the rest of the world get to see you?

L: Yes! We have lots of ideas and are making certain plans now. More dates in the US, including a record release show in Brooklyn this February. Europe is also on the docket, we are just starting to talk about it out loud and get more information to make plans. Would love to live for a while abroad performing and doing some film projects and videos. We would love to go to Japan, China, New Zealand, Australia, and South America too at some point!

TITL: How would you describe a Holy Golden show?

L: Colorful, ceremonial, emotive.

TITL: If you could play one venue, anywhere in the world, with four artists/bands, living or dead, where would it be and who would be on the bill?

L: The venue would be the Palace of Versailles of course. Beethoven backed by a full orchestra would kick the night off. Followed by the Jackson Five in their heyday of Motown glory. We’d play third. Then David Bowie – any era, and Beyonce would close out the show.

There would be platters of petits fours, French confections, champagne towers, etc. and all the artists and their close family and friends could stay the night in a carved canopy bed in one of the bedrooms. Then Julia Child would make us all breakfast the next morning. We’re looking into making a version of this happen in real life. Who wants to come?

TITL: How is and has social media boosted your ability to reach a wider audience and what kind of reaction have you had from fans and followers on networks such as Twitter?

L: The best part of social media is making connections to other people who inspire you. We got in touch through Instagram with a photographer in New Orleans and did a photo shoot last minute and it was so cool to meet the actual person behind images you’ve been following. Social media definitely helps people understand our vision and that’s amazing! It also makes it way easier to share your work and express thoughts.

At the same time, social media can feel confusing and limiting. Like – how can I ever fit my entire psychology and personality into this little box with some words? It can be painful and embarrassing, so be nice to people and try not to assume too much about anyone or draw conclusions too fast. People are complicated and can’t fit their entire story on a small platform. We’re all figuring this out together.

TITL: Given how fickle the music industry is and how careers can skyrocket and nosedive in what might seem like the blink of an eye, how determined are you to overcome any hard times or negativity that you experience?

L: No ‘industry’ can decide where you are at with your art – that is personal and something you know best. Of course, it feels amazing to get recognition for your work and we are so appreciative of everyone that supports us! Sometimes we get really hateful messages on YouTube and it’s interesting because it’s like – yeah I have complicated feelings about my work too! Life is a cycle, you don’t want to wind up being smashed on the bottom of the wheel or trying not to fall off the top. If we can learn to work our way into the center and find a constant, seeing things go up and down around us – that would be ideal.

TITL: If you were to advise upcoming musicians and artists on how to make it in the music world, what would you say to them?

L: I’m not exactly sure how to make it yet! But what I’v learned so far is to let go of your expectations and just focus on the work! For me, no amount of success is going to feel truly gratifying if I’m cutting corners or not being honest in my work. Learn how to communicate with the parts of yourself so you can see when you might need to make some changes in your approach and when you need to just enjoy what you’ve created and trust it will find its place in the world.

TITL: Finally then, where would you like to see yourselves 5 years from now? What’s the long-term objective for the two of you and what would you have to achieve in order to turn to one another and say ‘We’ve made it.’?

L: I had a therapist once ask what my ultimate goal was and after like a week of thinking about it I came up with – to be a successful artist who gives and receives love freely. It sounds simple but it’s not. We want success, but also the ability to give and receive easily. “We’ve made it” feels like we can completely support ourselves through the musical world we’ve created, but that we also trust ourselves to give our truth and others to give back to us in return.

Check out the video for Holy Golden’s new single “Arrival” below and for more information on the band, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

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REVIEW: KID KAPICHI – ‘LUCOZADE DREAMS’ EP 24

Kid Kapichi are currently one of the most talked about up and coming bands in Britain, and, on the back of their previous EP, are so with good reason. However, some bands can and do often struggle when it comes to a second release. There’s more pressure and expectation, and sometimes it’s more than artists can handle well. So, how have KK fared with their sophomore EP, Lucozade Dreams?

The intro piece, at just over 46 seconds long could easily have been left off the EP, but given that it’s brashier and bolder than many opening instrumentals featured on albums and the like in recent months, it doesn’t fare too badly. It is however a good thing that “Cinderella” quickly follows on from it and ultimately sets the tone for the EP overall. With it’s big, catchy verses, and a chorus that’s even bigger, combined with a toe-tapping bass undertone, it’s an exciting little number, sure to impress and win over music fans who give it a listen.

The momentum and energy continues through “Puppet Strings” and although the instrumentation is good, ultimately it’s the impressive lyrics that make the track stand out. Meanwhile, anyone looking for a superb riff and a thumping, invigorating beat need look no further than “Jack Jones” and the slick production on “Machine Men” means the EP ends on a rewarding high for both band and listener.

While the group from Hastings might still be considerably unknown to some, they’ve been talked about for some time now, and the amount of said talk is only likely to grow on the back of Lucozade Dreams – a collection that’s fun, fizzing with energy and highlights just how much Kid Kapichi love what they do, and in time, more music fans might just find themselves loving them too.

Lucozade Dreams is available now.

DANIELLE PINNOCK CHATS ‘YOUNG SHELDON’ & THE BODY POSITIVITY MOVEMENT 54

With The Big Bang Theory having proven to be a global hit since its very first episode, it should come as no surprise to learn that its spin-off, a look at the childhood and early years of Jim Parsons’ Sheldon Cooper, aptly titled Young Sheldon, has also become a phenomenon. With the show about to air its debut season finale, and with season 2 already greenlit, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Danielle Pinnock, who plays Ms. Ingram in the show, to find out about her very first audition, her role as a body activist and how she feels about the reaction to and her being part of the smash-hit series that is Young Sheldon.

TITL: At what age did you first realize you wanted to pursue acting as a career? Was there one particular show/actor you watched that made you think ‘I’d like to do that’?

Danielle Pinnock: When I was 19 I was in a production at Temple University called In Conflict. It was a documentary play about war veterans returning home from serving overseas. The show was so incredible. We were even pulled out of school for a year to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Off-Broadway in New York.  All of the vets we portrayed were real people, based on interviews done by journalist Yvonne Latty. The veteran I played, Sgt. Lisa Haynes, was the only one we were unable to get a response from during run of the show. I heard that during her initial interview, her PTSD was so severe once returning home that she may have “fallen off the map.” I didn’t want to accept this, so I took it upon myself to find Sgt. Haynes. I called every VA hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she was from, and was able to locate her and her family. During the run of the show,  I flew down to Tulsa and met Sgt. Haynes and her family. When I returned back to New York, I was determined to have Sgt. Haynes see the final Off-Broadway performance. So in the final two weeks of the run I managed to raise $10,000 to get Sgt. Haynes and her family members up to New York to see In Conflict’s last show. It was THAT show that made me want to act for the rest of my life.

TITL: Can you recall your very first audition? 

DP: Yes! Ha! My very first audition was for the middle school production of Aladdin. I played Halima, Jafar’s evil sister. It was like pulling teeth to get me to audition for this role. I never wanted to be an actor growing up, and was super shy as a child. My audition song was “Doo Wop (That Thing)” by Lauryn Hill.

TITL: Which auditions, looking back on them, do you feel went really well or that you struggled with? 

DP: The reason I ended up in Los Angeles is because I auditioned for a production at the Geffen Playhouse called Barbecue by Robert O’Hara. At the time of the auditions, I was still living in Chicago and actually flew up to L.A. to be seen for the project. It was a risky decision and I would not recommend actors doing that, but I knew I had to be on point! I also knew if I was going to move to Los Angeles, I needed a job! Barbecue was one of my best auditions in L.A. Recently, I ran into Colman Domingo and he said: Danielle, you just walked in with your blue dress and commanded our attention. Working with Colman and the cast members was a dream realized. It was an honor to be included in that production.

My most memorable audition that I struggled with also happened in Los Angeles. I was going in for the role of a nurse on a sitcom. A lot of auditions in L.A. happen in “bungalows” which are really just trailers on the studio lots. I only bring this up, because the walls in most audition rooms are extremely thin so you can hear another actors’ entire audition. There was a young woman who went in before me, and her audition was so fantastic that the casting director actually booked her for the project IN THE ROOM! The entire waiting room, full of actors, heard the casting director call this woman’s agent to say the actor had booked it. However, in the waiting room, chaos ensued. People began to leave the audition and I had no clue what to do because I was NEXT! As soon as the actor left the audition room all I heard was: “Danielle Pinnock come on in.”  It was my worst audition to date. I forgot all of the lines and was just unmotivated to even give my all because I knew there was no chance of me getting booked on that project.

TITL: How did you hear about the role of Ms. Ingram for Young Sheldon? What was/is it about the character that made you want to audition for the role?

DP: Funny enough, this was a same-day audition. My manager called me on a Thursday morning and I had three-hours to prepare the sides for an Untitled project. I initially went in for the music-teacher and then Nikki Valko, the casting director, asked me to read for a brand new character they created that week “Ms. Ingram.” It was refreshing to see that casting was considering me, a plus-sized African American woman to play the mathematics teacher. Ms. Ingram is one of my favorite characters to play because she is so quirky, hilarious and extremely no-nonsense.

TITL: The show has proven to be a HUGE success in the US and is also popular here in the UK. Did you or your fellow cast members ever expect the show to get the response and reaction it has? 

DP: It’s surreal! This show is a hit internationally and I’ve never, in my entire career, been a part of such a phenomenon. Chuck Lorre is a genius and absolutely has the Midas touch when it comes to creating successful television! Working with the creators Chuck Lorre and Steve Molaro has been a dream come true. My mom and I were in the grocery store and someone stopped us and said “That’s Ms. Ingram, Oh My God!” In the pilot, my character Ms. Ingram talks about attending Oral Roberts University and the school sent me a gift! I went to graduate school at Birmingham School of Acting UK, now known as the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, so it’s really cool for my friends, family and professors to see it overseas as well!

Aside from it’s obvious TBBT connection, what do you think it is about Young Sheldon that has attracted so many people to watch, and keep watching, it?

DP: The show is hilarious and the main cast give masterful performances. Iain Armitage who plays Sheldon Cooper is a brilliant young performer and is such a joy to work alongside. His portrayal of Sheldon Cooper is honest and relatable.

TITL: You’ve also appeared in Scandal and This Is Us. How important to you is it that you’re able to take on a variety of roles that really put your abilities to the test, and with that in mind, what’s your dream role? Which show would you most like to appear in and why?

DP: Working on those two shows was incredible. I was able to work on Scandal with the genius Kerry Washington; the legendary Viola Davis was the cherry on an already delicious sundae! I’ve had the opportunity to play some fantastic roles both in theatre and on-screen. To be honest, I don’t know what my dream role would be. There are so many great shows out right now. My favorites at the moment: Good Girls, Atlanta, How To Get Away With Murder and SMILF. 

TITL: The entertainment industry is cut throat and competitive, so what advice would you give to anyone looking to make their mark on it? Is there any one piece of advice you were once given that you still look back on?

DP: A colleague of mine once said: “In this industry, you must learn to be plural.” In this industry, especially nowadays, you have to be multi-faceted. This is why there is an uprising of artists creating their own content now.

TITL: Away from TV, you’re an accomplished writer/playwright, and are passionate about creating productions that address life, living and the many issues that come with it. Does your work in that field ever cross over into your acting work and vice-versa?

DP: Absolutely. I’m actually developing an improvised Instagram series with my friend, LaNisa Frederick called Hashtag Booked. Hashtag Booked is a hilarious, raw, and shocking portrayal of what happens during the short period of time in the audition waiting room.  These “characters” are based on real-life experiences.

TITL: How are you finding your role as a vocal activist for body positivity impacting both yourself and those around you? How did you first get involved and would you like to see more individuals, especially those in the public eye, using their status to speak out about important matters as you are?

DP: The first play I ever wrote was a solo show called Body/Courage. Body/Courage was created from over 300 interviews I conducted worldwide, and it was an exploration on body acceptance. This project changed my life. The show is about my journey to find my own beauty through the voices of others. The cool thing about the show is that it introduced a constellation of characters grappling with diverse body issues including weight, illness, disability, skin color, aging, and gender transition. It was this show that got me involved in the body positivity movement. Body/Courage, allowed me to find a courage in myself that I didn’t know I possessed. The body positivity movement already has some fierce voices and it can always use more so I would encourage others to speak out.

TITL: Are there any other plans or projects in the pipeline you can tell me about?

DP: This summer, I’ll be releasing an interview-style podcast called SHOOK discussing true stories of mental health in the industry. I’ve also been asked to be a guest contributor for Shondaland, so check out my essay I’ll be writing for them in the next few weeks.

TITL: Finally then, given that the industry is ever changing, sometimes at a pace even fans can’t keep up with, where do you think the business will go and be 5-10 years from now? What would you like to see happen and do you think that such things will? 

DP: My hope for the industry in 5-10 years is that we can begin to bring more stories by women of color to the forefront. I want to see more women of color on set, I want to see more women of color in the writers room, I want to see more women of color as producers and directors. I want to see women of color win in this industry now and in the future.

Young Sheldon is currently airing on E4 in the UK on Wednesdays at 8.30PM. You can keep up to date with Danielle Pinnock via her Twitter. Header photo credit: Joe Mazza.