The laid back chill vibes of Ethan Gold’s latest single, ‘Pretty Girls’ has a mix of 60s rhythms and bossa nova vibes. Even so, the modern production values give the track a crispness that’s impossible to be captured on the 3 and 4 track recording systems so prevalent in that era.
Add to that a crowd-sourced animated music video, the contributions for which Gold enlisted animators in several countries, as well as female fans and friends around the world to send in footage of themselves from their phones. The song, which features on volume 1 of his 3 volume album series, ‘Earth City 1: The Longing’, carries with it an important message. He sings about how a pretty girl can be hypnotising for a man; but at the same time, this quest to be pretty can put a lot of pressure on girls. There’s also the issue of who the girls are being pretty for; ultimately, the most important thing is to be yourself, and feel good in your own skin, despite, and in spite of, the gaze and approval of others.
Watch the video for ‘Pretty Girls’ below. You can find out more about Ethan Gold and his music online on his official website.
We had the chance to speak to Ethan about ‘Pretty Girls’, along with his songwriting, production techniques, and ask for his answer to our favourite question.
Hi Ethan, thank you for speaking to us! We’re loving your new single, ‘Pretty Girls’, especially the video, with its many different animation styles, and setting of what sounds like a French tv show. What was the thought process behind it? Where did you get all the animators? Do you think you’d follow this way of making a video in future?
I had been planning a tour in Eastern Europe when the pandemic hit, and so I used some of the experience I’d had on other videos ‘Our Love is Beautiful’ and ‘Not Me Us’, both in that I used my phone to make videos, and that I enrolled friends, fans, and strangers to participate. In the case of ‘Pretty Girls’ I put out the word on social media that I wanted women to be themselves, and a lot of the footage that rolled in was from Eastern Europe, where the tour had just been cancelled. This approach to making videos relies on lots of creative editing and effects afterwards. For ‘Pretty Girls’ I knew I wanted to make a video with vintage animation, slightly evoking the early 1960s, sweet and colourful and home-made feeling. My brother added the suggestion of the frame to make it even more ridiculous with the French TV vibe.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic been treating you? Have you found it a positive or negative experience, or a bit of both? Do you find it’s been a catalyst for the imagination, and finding different ways of doing things, or has it dampened your inspiration?
It’s not been too bad for me. I worry for other people. I worry more for the state of the world with an ongoing climate emergency. Covid feels like nature’s warning shot, or perhaps it was mankind’s hubris’s warning shot. The meaning of what I am doing is not about the pandemic. My trilogy Earth City, which I released the first album Earth City 1: The Longing for this year, is about civilizational stuff that’s bigger than the pandemic, and affects everyone on a personal level. We are in a major realignment which will take centuries. People feel it even if they don’t understand it.
‘Pretty Girls’ is fairly retro, with a 60s vibe to it; what was your inspiration behind it?
On certain afternoons, with a certain light in the air, I love that light, ironic flavour of French and Brazilian pop music of the 60s. Sexy, breezy, soft, evocative, sweet with an undercurrent of sauciness. There’s not a lot of music hitting that note right now – most music sensuality is super extroverted these days. A lot of my music is a darker vibration but sometimes, let there be light and colour! And for me it helps the kind of irony in the lyrics. It’s about how prettiness is nice but sort of messes with everybody.
What’s the songwriting process for you? Do you come up with the music and melody first or the lyrics? Do you have the same process for every song?
I tend to dream my music, and then collaborate with my dream world once I’m awake. Usually I get a melody and sometimes a key line or two in the dreams. Often the full arrangement is there in the dream. Other times I write while walking, or playing guitar, or bass, or piano. However it happens, it’s best when I’m somewhere floating back and forth between the logical and the intuitive mind.
What advice do you have for anyone who’s just starting out in the music business? What advice would you give to yourself if you had the opportunity?
This business is for the passionate. I think a lot of people do it because recording and uploading music is easy now, but nothing else is. If you’re not committed deeply to the muses of music, there are many many easier ways to live. For me it is a spiritual path.
Finally – and I ask this of everyone I interview – What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
Can I get you a massage, or some ice cream?