Songwriter, producer, composer, performer, and multi-instrumentalist artist Ethan Gold was raised in San Francisco, during the extended hangover that followed free love. His father is Beat-adjunct writer Herbert Gold, and his mother Melissa was killed in a helicopter crash along with legendary rock promoter Bill Graham. For Ethan, the escape was always into his music and the dreams where he hears it.
Gold first stepped into public consciousness when he arranged and produced his friend Elvis Perkins’ blog-hyped debut Ash Wednesday. After moonlighting as bass player in his brother Ari’s celebrity-driven folk party band the Honey Brothers, and scoring his twin’s debut feature, the epic comedy Adventures of Power, Ethan began honing his intensely personal style while living in a dilapidated flat in Los Angeles, eventually releasing his debut art-rock album Songs From A Toxic Apartment to underground acclaim (“Emotions delivered with an unfiltered, glaring legibility”- Pitchfork; “The most interesting record I’ve listened to in the past 5 years”- Rock N Roll Experience.) He then began rolling out a series of videos from the album showcasing his visceral approach, which led him to side work as a video director.
While working on his next film score in New York, Ethan fell in a freak accident. Temporarily losing the ability to speak and to do complex tasks, during his convalescence he clarified his vision further. While playing with San Francisco literary rockers The Size Queens, he found himself returning to early influences, being re-inspired by the futuristic sounds that were a refuge in the post-hippie milieu of his childhood, and completed a collection of live covers of some of his favorite songs, from New Order and Bauhaus to Of Montreal and The Knife, as Live Undead Bedroom Closet Covers (“Unhinged but weirdly compelling” – Uncut; “Often brilliant cover versions” – Shindig!; “Rather fantastic” – The Crack). In the summer of 2018 he followed this with the naive-electronic album Expanses (Teenage Synthstrumentals) (“Wildly diverting” – Electronic Sound; “Primitive analogue instruments to their sound-warping limits” – Uncut; “Records like these are my reason for getting into independent music in the first place” – Skope Mag; “My nominee for record of the year” – Vents Magazine.)
Most recently, Gold released his soundtrack of original songs and score to his brother’s second feature, The Song of Sway Lake. To match this tale of the decline of an aristocratic family, set in the golden light of late summer on an Adirondack lake, Ethan’s piano-driven score creates an emotional force of water and silence, dreams and hauntings, romance and nostalgia. Gold’s e-bow, Jon Hassell’s trumpet, Fred Frith’s paintbrush guitar add to an otherworldly quality. The film and soundtrack album also feature multiple renditions of Ethan’s original title song “Sway Lake,” arranged and produced to sound like vinyl records from the 1930s and ’40s, and sung in opposing renditions by John Grant and the Staves, transporting us to the glamorous time of America’s ascendance.
Ethan is currently working on his follow-up to Songs From a Toxic Apartment, with songs old and new, including his evergreen romantic/political anthem “Our Love is Beautiful.” For the upcoming release, Ethan traveled round the globe, with a phone as his only crew, filming hundreds of people singing his most famous song yet, who will appear in the official video for the song. Where his debut was intensely personal, his next solo album is populist. But rather than the populism of fear, as Ethan says: “Make sensitivity cool again.”
Underneath all this activity, and picking up where the cold colors of Expanses and Live Undead left off, Ethan has also been developing an alternate identity, a steely synth pop project under an assumed name. It’s steely, high-energy retro-futurism with a message of spiritual renewal. Watch this space.