On his debut album, Thicker Than Water, Brooklyn-based artist rum.gold takes us on a cinematic journey into the unknown.
Over the past year, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter rum.gold has been making the biggest, most serene musical waves imaginable. From funk-filled collaborations with award-winning poet Jamila Woods, to creating dance floor-ready electro-grooves with the likes of Tycho, this is an artist who can venture into any sonic terrain and still emerge victorious.
Today, the powerhouse artist is embarking on an entirely new journey. That of his debut album, Thicker Than Water, which has been in the works for the past four years. “[The] album is about my chosen family, and my journey to understanding how lucky I am to have been able to choose my family, and be chosen by them,” he shares of the nine-track project, an endeavour in wide, cinematic sounds that enchant you from the first listen.
With Gold’s soft, soulful croon permeating each and every tune from “Niagara Falls”, a mellifluous endeavour filled with drums, trumpets and ethereal synths, right up to the swirling, heartfelt passion of “Fix Me” and “Lullaby”, each tune weaves a captivating tapestry that’s just as rich in emotion and fire as the one before. Whether you’re after a laid-back drive or a soundtrack to reminisce on a past love, Thicker Than Water puts in the hours, and is way more accessible than an actual therapist.
We caught up with the enchanting singer-songwriter below, speaking plans for the year ahead, his chosen family and the talents he thinks are killing it across the arts. Take a look…
Hey rum.gold – how has life been over lockdown?
Challenging, but transformative.
When did you realise music was something you could make a full-time career?
I think I’m still in the process of realizing. So I’ll let you know when that realization fully hits.
Your song “Waiting For (feat. Jamila Woods)” has totally blown up over the last year, what was your reaction it started gaining serious attention?
I wouldn’t say it has “blown up”, but it is surely my most streamed song, which is super dope. I think I was/am just grateful people enjoy the song. I loved it the day Jamila, Alissia & I made it. So it feels good having those feelings reaffirmed in a way.
Congratulations on your forthcoming album Thicker Than Water – how long has this project been in the works?
Thank you! I feel like this album has been in the works for as long as I can remember but I didn’t start putting the pieces together until maybe a few years ago. I wrote the track “Fix Me” maybe 3 or 4 years ago now, so I guess that’s when It started to form.
Talk us through the album, what were your biggest inspirations when writing?
In the beginning, I took inspiration from anywhere I could. Conversations I had or overheard, films, tv shows, articles I’d read, literally anything I came in contact with that spoke to me in any way I would jot down. Somewhere along the way, I realised there was a common thread within everything that spoke to me. So I began to narrow down the things I consumed for inspiration, and there were three main things that helped me arrive at “Thicker Than Water” the album.
The film Hereditary & the TV show Lovecraft Country both helped me lyrically in trying to understand how to tell a story that might not be all that new, in a way that was specific to me. And sonically I was really inspired by Bond songs. They’re so cinematic & full. I wanted to create music that was as dynamic as those tracks. That way, if you didn’t understand the lyrics, the music would take you on a journey all on its own.
Why did you choose to lead the era with “Greed”?
I sometimes get too precious about the music & singles, so my team chose “Greed” to lead this era. If it were up to me, every lead single would be a sad, acoustic ballad with no beat. So I trust their opinion over my own at times. But if I had to pick a song that I felt best summarizes this album/era it would be “Human”.
You mention the album is partly about your chosen family – how do you think they’ve shaped your artistry and also the album itself?
That’s a tough question because I’d have a very hard time finding a way in which my chosen family hasn’t shaped me. Without them, I don’t think I’d have the courage to do any of this. They give me the space and confidence to push myself & express myself fully.
How would you describe your sound?
Is there anyone in the game you’d love to collaborate with right now?
There are plenty of people in all creative disciplines who I’d love to collab with in some way. In terms of fashion, I love the brand’s Botter & Pyer Moss. In film, PG Lang (Dave free) are doing some really cool things, as well as A24. In music, I’m currently loving this London artist Shae Universe. I’d also love to work with Jazmine Sullivan. The list goes on.
What does the rest of year have in store for you?
Creating a live show, and writing more.