INTERVIEW: Jon and Alex Moore talk about Goldtone, their approach to funk, and their favorite pizza in Louisville!

Pictured Above: Brothers Jon and Alex Moore

Without hesitation I can tell you that Goldtone are responsible for one of my favorite records in recent memory. Their sophomore effort, titled Transmission is an instrumental funk-a-thon laced with gorgeous synthesizer and catchy bass lines that is suitably reminiscent of legendary musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Kool & The Gang, and at points you can even hear rhythms that’ll remind you of Off The Wall-era Michael Jackson. Oh, you aren’t familiar with Goldtone? Do yourself a favor and listen to the dance-tastic title track from the new album below:

Goldtone is a two-piece comprised of siblings Jon and Alex Moore, which is a concept I can relate to having played in several bands with my brother. To get a deeper feel on what this band is all about, I reached out to these two fellas for an interview which they were kind enough to take part in…

Never Nervous: How and when did Goldtone start making music? Is there a fascinating origin story?

Jon Moore: Where to begin?! I’d probably say that Goldtone was truly born when we were very young kids listening to BB King Live on cassette tape in the family van. I think that groove and the sound of a phat bass and beat was probably ingrained then. In middle school, Alex switched from sax to bass began to recruit buddies to start bands. When I turned 13, he took me to buy my first drumset at Moms Music on Stilz Ave and we’ve been playing music together ever since. We both individually had a ton of musical tangents with other bands and musical projects, but have always found time to create together over the years. We’ve been self-recording basement jams for over 12 years now. It’s funny to listen back to all the recorded jams on my iPod classic. I mean, I have hundreds of short recordings of beats and such titled stupid names like “Ultra Phat Beat #13” & “Barry W Beat”. Looking back now, they were invaluable lessons on sound, color, microphone placement, mixing, & emotion that have informed how Alex and I create music now. We’re very much a team and have complementary skill sets. I think that Goldtone really is our combined artistic expression that is as much about enjoying the process of making the music as the music itself.

Alex Moore: I almost forgot about that BB King tape! There was a period of time where that was literally the only thing the entire family could agree on listening to in the car. The sound of the bass on that record never got out of my head.

“We’re very much a team and have complementary skill sets. I think that Goldtone really is our combined artistic expression that is as much about enjoying the process of making the music as the music itself.”

NN: Tell us about your new record Transmission. How does it differ from your 2014 self-titled effort?

JM: The first album in 2014 was more or less a collection of our best jams to-date at that point. When we were creating it, we didn’t really know what the message was going to be. You could say that we were forming our musical vision for Goldtone but it wasn’t clear yet. It was our first attempt to wear every hat in the music creation process: writing, performing, recording, mixing, mastering, social media…etc. It was a labor of love but labor it was. It was a definite learning process to present our art in a complete thought. For me, Transmission represents a refinement of that process and a much stronger musical opinion. The technical stuff is almost second nature for us now which allowed us to really focus most of our energy on the emotions coming out of the speakers. Sound wise, we think that these tunes are more sugary and joyous. Also, I recorded the drums in a huge room which was super fun.

AM: I leaned pretty heavily on a set of old Musitronics Mu-tron pedals for many of the lead sounds on the first record. I had picked up a Juno synth right at the end of making that record and used it on a couple tracks, but I didn’t really know yet what role it would play long term. Turns out, the Transmission EP is almost entirely that Juno synthesizer.

NN: The music you make is incredibly synth-heavy.  Who or what got you interested in that particular noise maker?

JM: Goldtone has always had drums and bass and we needed some ear candy. When Alex acquired the Juno 106, it was like we both saw the light! With the right synth, you can get a huge, phat, warm, sugary, analog sound instantly. That thing has so many inspiring sounds in it that creativity just flows like water. Plus, Alex can plug it into his neve preamps and track with headphones late at night without waking his two sleeping kids! Huge plus!

AM: At first, incorporating the synth was for purely practical reasons. I do most of my writing and recording when I can squeeze it in, which usually means when my kids are sleeping. With the synth, I plug in and roll with headphones and can keep the peace. After playing around with it for a while, I had this crazy eureka moment. I had spent so much time building and trying out new guitar effects, looking for new sounds. The Juno is like having a 1000 built in guitar pedals.

Pictured Above: Goldstone in the studio

NN: When I listen to Goldtone, I’m immediately reminded of DARE!-era Human League and at the same time I’m thinking of Sunlight-era Herbie Hancock. As the creator of this noise, who would you consider to be vital inspirations behind the music you make?

JM: I learned how to play drums by listening to Herbie Hancock’s HeadHunters, Jamiroqui, and Remy Shand. We’ve both have an affinity for 70’s funk music and groove. But, man, we listen to a ton of music which I’m sure affects the recipe.

AM: I’m a huge Herbie fan for sure. I’m not surprised if any of his influence has seeped into our music. Also, I’d say Sly Stone, Prince and Michael Jackson are a couple others I really latched onto. They’ve definitely shaped my love and appreciation for a massive, funky grooves but also strong pop melodies that get stuck in your head.

NN: In the beginning, was it a conscious decision to not include any vocals and focus on the music alone?

JM: Absolutely, Goldtone has been instrumental from the beginning.

AM: Yes. However, our songs always have a melodic voice or focal point; it’s just a little bit different approach than a singer with lyrics. In my opinion, one’s not better than the other, just different. For example, I love BB King belting out lyrics just as much as him ripping a lead on “Lucille.” It’s the same amount of emotion and energy, just a different form of expression.

NN: Now that Transmission is officially out, what’s the plan moving forward? More records? Touring?

JM: More records and videos. We have already finished two songs for our next EP. Our plan is to continue to make music forever. We both need Goldtone for creative outlet to stay sane.

AM: Some guys play golf to relief stress. I make funk on my Juno. It plays an important role in my mental health. Beyond that though, I was born to create and have a crazy drive to always keep improving. I’m always going to be pushing myself to take my music to the next level.

“Some guys play golf to relief stress. I make funk on my Juno. It plays an important role in my mental health.”

NN: Every time I watch the music video you guys made for “Transmission,” I can’t help but be reminded of Walter White’s car wash from Breaking Bad. Was this even considered, or am I reaching here?

JM: Never seen it.

AM: Never seen it. We just always wanted to run through a car wash.

NN: Tell us about your favorite video on Youtube, whether it be related to music, news bloopers, or cats talking to people.

JM: Will Ferrell Bloopers. Makes me laugh every time.

AM: This Parliament show just kills:

Bernie Worrell‘s keyboard solo 32 minutes in is like a baby robot speaking its first words. The vocal ad-libs from Glenn Goins at 43 minutes is just out of control good. I’m pretty sure his incredible vocals single handedly caused the mothership to land.

NN: What establishment in Louisville would you say makes the best pizza? I’m pretty sure there aren’t any wrong answers here.

JM: I’ve never had a slice of pizza that I didn’t love in Louisville! They all have their thing going on, which makes Louisville one of the best foodie cities in America.

AM: Casual midweek pie with family: Blaze Pizza. Sit down and relax pie: Impellizeri’s. Quality over quantity: Coals. Louisville’s got a ton of great pizza places!

“I’ve never had a slice of pizza that I didn’t love in Louisville!”

NN: Give us your prediction on whether or not Batman VS. Superman will be worth a shit.  Show your work.

JM: They’re each a classic and you shouldn’t mess with classic, just leave it alone!

AM: What! This is ridiculous. It be like asking Jon and I to dual. Our fists would meet in a massive explosion and the movie would be over.

NN: Before you go, tell us about your favorite record of 2016 thus far.

JM: David Bowie – Blackstar

AM: In constant rotation on my turntable lately are Sly & the Family Stone – Back on the Right Track, Michael Jackson – Off the Wall and Al Green – I’m Still in Love with You. I put them on when I come home from work and have a dance party with my kids. I also really dig that new Tame Impala record.