We chat Bombay Bicycle Club, Glastonbury break-ins and screamo metal with boy and girl duo Ivy and Gold
Hertfordshire-based duo Ivy and Gold, or Rachel Wilkinson and Jamie Davies to their nearest and dearest, met at a summer BBQ a few years back and despite their polarising taste in music soon found that their songwriting skills harmonised perfectly. Their sound, as a result, is a mix of electronic alternative pop, with Rachel taking the lead with her impressive vocals, and Jamie creating the production. Their latest EP Smoke & Mirrors is perfectly crafted, considering the cat in their home studio does its best to distract them.
How did the pair of you meet?
Jamie: We actually met at a friend’s BBQ. I actually used to be in a screamo metal band and (my friend) who was producing our album and he was going out with Rachel’s sister.
J: And that’s how we met basically. But we didn’t start working together until….
R: A year?
J: ….yeah a year after we met.
And how did you end up as Ivy and Gold?
Rachel: Well Jamie was at Westminster uni, he had a module come up in his degree course where he had to do songwriting and he was all good at the music but not so good at the melody and lyrics, so he enlisted my help and we realised that writing together was quite good so we decided to carry on, and put it out online and see what the world thought of it.
Where does the name come from, is it anything to do with the Bombay Bicycle Club song?
J: Unfortunately it is yes. There’s nothing more interesting than that I’m afraid! We had another name Emperors but an Australian band had the same name. And coincidently a band who are good friends of ours were going through a big legal battle with another Australian band with the same name [Brother], so we just thought we’d try …
R: …And avoid that
J: Yeah, avoid that whole situation.
R: Yeah we both really really like the song when we were looking for names, we literally tried everything, online band generator on Facebook you can put a questionnaire to family and friends. It was Ivy and Gold, Guardians and something else? I can’t remember what the other one was. And basically we asked what would you prefer out of these three and Ivy and Gold got the best response.
Who are your influences, and do they differ much?
J: You can go first…
R: Singers mainly influence me; I love all the old school stuff: Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, Tori Amos, Kate Bush. But then I’m also always being influenced by current stuff; at the moment its new stuff like Laurel, Banks, Charlotte OC, Lane Del Ray of course, Florence and the Machine, there’s so many I could go on forever!
J: I’m more influenced by producers like Alex Da Kidd who did the Imagine Dragons record and Ryan Tedder of One Republic, who has literally written and worked with just about everyone in the charts at the moment. But again, because of my background in more into rock and metal stuff I still listen to Incubus and Foals and stuff like that, stuff that’s a bit more rockier than pop.
Have you heard the rumours about Fleetwood Mac playing Glasto next year?
R: Yes! So excited oh my god; I think I might die if that’s true!
J: We haven’t got tickets though, so we either going to have to play or break in…
R: If I get arrested it would be so worth it!
What can you tell us about an album in the works?
J: At the moment we’re just in the studio writing all the time, not necessarily working towards an album, we don’t have any set plans, but we’re writing lots of material so that if that did happen in the future we wouldn’t have to start from scratch.
What’s the writing process like?
J: It’s kind of changed recently. We used to start off with production, and build a song from the ground up, but at the moment were just writing acoustically with the piano and vocal, so not really hiding behind production anymore.
R: Yeah, it helps the vocals stand out I think. Often when we do it with the production already in place, you can’t really make the vocals the focus. I think the way we do it now is better for us in the long run.
Am I right in thinking you work from a home studio: Do you ever get distracted?
R: Yes were currently sitting in it! I get distracted by the cat.
J: We have quite a good work ethic actually, and we used to have a room but now we’ve actually moved into our bedroom, I don’t know why?
R: More space!
Would you ever be interested in scoring a film like Lorde has done for the latest Hunger Games?
J: I would love to score a film but I would be terrified! Because I don’t think I’d know where to start. Film composers are just so talented and they have so much going on, I would definitely need help but I wouldn’t turn it down.
What kind a film would you want to work on?
J: Something quite weird…
R: … Like Cloud Atlas
J: …A bit futuristic, something like that!
We recently caught you playing an intimate gig at St. Pancras Church, how was it different to your normal stage set up?
J: It was cool, it was just a bit different obviously being in a church, and it was a bit….
R: I found myself getting really into it, the music really worked well with the acoustics and the atmosphere.
What have you got lined up for the next few months?
J: We filmed that gig so were going to put out some videos of the show, and an interview talking about the songs…
R: We will be Filming the video for ‘Headlights’ as well so there should be lots of content coming!
Words: Siobhan Frew