Golden Features is excited, he seemed very happy about how his first US festival appearance went, he tore it up on the second day of HARD Summer with his well crafted output, the Aussie was on his first stateside tour and we finally got to see what people in his home country had been clamoring about.
Tom Stell, or as he is known by his masked alter ego Golden Features, makes emotive electronic music that shows fervor within every kick and deep down low bassline. Many of his tracks, especially the ones of his most recent EP XXIV, have a certain feeling captured in each one.
His cerebral drops transcend what can be done with house and his downtempo tracks leave a long lasting feeling that will continue even when the music is over, especially with the alluring “Telescope ft. K.Flay” there is slight feeling of melancholy imbued, but it can get you to slow dance through the dejected soundscape as if it were a journey through the mind of this masked wonder.
When looking past the enigma intended with his mask, you will find a brilliant artist who is redefining club music with the set ambition of being much more than club music. His music is compositionally incredible yet it is still very much danceable.
Many of his Aussie peers including Peking Duk and Carmada have come over to the states and garnered much acclaim already but now is the time for Golden Features, what follows this tour will certainly be world domination. Tom can’t tell me on the record what’s all on the way yet until certain announcements are made but I can safely say the future is very bright for Golden Features.
I got to chat with him about his tour, the parallels between graffiti and his music and the Flume effect on Australia:
How’s the first US tour been going?
Golden Features: It’s been wonderful, it’s my first time playing overseas probably. It’s just crazy man, it’s so different from back home, it gives life to your ego, it makes you know that you’re a small fish in a very big pond, I love it.
You’ve got Seattle and Toronto coming up, are you excited?
GF: I am man, I don’t know for what reason, for Seattle I’m excited for sleeping in Seattle, don’t know why, and Toronto, I’m excited because of Drake. I’m excited for cities for the weirdest reasons. [laughs]
Why should people check out your “XXIV” EP?
GF: I don’t know man, I came into this with an idea but I never tried to follow anyone, so I guess the sound I ended up with isn’t anyones which is a really nice feeling. It’s the first time I ever felt like I’m doing something individual to me. So if you want to hear something that you’re not going to hear anywhere else, that’s why I guess.
Obviously I have to ask this, how did the golden veil come about?
GF: My background is in graffiti, so until I was 18, which is the age you can get sent to jail in Australia, I did that religiously, like it was a job, when I hit 18 I wanted to travel the world and I definitely didn’t want to go to jail, like a few friends had to, so I stopped doing it, I had all this energy that went into making music.
When it comes to music, like I love the idea that you can create something as a graffiti artist that you’ll never take credit for, like you shun away the opportunity to take credit for it , because it could be time [in jail], but you still make the art. People hear me and are like, “who the fuck is that?” Unfortunately when I started doing it, it became a gimmick and people became more interested in who is making the music rather than the music itself. So I cut it off and put my face up everywhere. The initial idea was like the music speak for itself, it backfired but I stand by it.
It seems that the government in Australia has been cracking down on the club scene, do you think it’s getting worse or getting better?
GF: It’s hard man, because I survived in that and I survived outside of it. When I was a part of it, you could just feel it coming, it was just in the air that something needed to change. The problem with Australia is that it’s not an alcohol problem, it’s not people drinking, you have a subculture of people who love to fight, which you have in every culture but in Australia it happens to be big.
So when you have alcohol in a confined space of area all of those people who enjoy fighting are going to make the most of that opportunity and be assholes. It didn’t change anything bringing in the laws they brought in, it spread it out, I was gone from that scene of the club hopping, DJ playing five places a night by the time those laws came in. It destroyed our nightlife, which was something special at one point, so there’s some slight animosity but for the most part I really couldn’t give a fuck.
Nina Las Vegas has spoken about the “Flume Effect” on Australia, do you think Flume has helped out the scene?
GF: It’s hard to say no, the crazy part was Emoh (Emoh Instead) came up in the same nightclub I came up in, but he came up about two years earlier. So I grew up looking up to guys like that, I watched him blow up at the same time as Flume stuff, Emoh is a fucking legend, he’s such a positive, great guy to be around. The hard thing about is looking back on it is that there wasn’t a whole lot of attention on Australia, Harley came up and did the whole Flume thing, and I remember those guys before that and it happened so quickly that on one hand it’s beautiful because it brought all this attention to a country that, otherwise, didn’t have it.
On the other hand, people just bit him really hard and a lot of people focused really hard on trying to emulate him and not capitalize on what he brought to us in attention but rather trust tried to bite him, which I fucking hate you know. So kind of like Tchami here, that house music wasn’t as big but Tchami broke through then you have all of these dudes biting him which is whack as fuck but at the same time it’s awesome because it cultivates this little group of people now doing the same thing, which is more powerful than one individual. Flume did something special, I think everyone in Australia looks up to him for that but I couldn’t tell you what the overall effect has been.
Did you catch your buddies Peking Duk at HARD?
GF: Yeah! Those are my old housemates, they’re both brothers, we lived together for a year, wanted to kill each other at points but most of the time we loved each other. I watched all of it, they were coming to the states when we were still living together, two years later I’m doing my own thing, which they gave me a lot of the advice on how to get there. So to get see my brothers, them and Carmada, it’s fucking beautiful man, that’s great!