First Look Friday: The Gold Setting Interview
First Look Friday: The Gold Setting Interview
Photo of Liza Colby taken by Laurent Chevalier of The Chevalier Creative for Okayplayer.

First Look Friday: The Gold Setting Embodies That Good Vibration

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit: Laurent Chevalier for Okayplayer.

Back in the early days of America, settlers went out West in search of infamy, their own piece of land and the hopes of striking gold. It was a rush, historians said, as hundreds of thousands of dreamers left their cozy, yet snowy filled lands in the East to venture out where the sun settles into that smooth groove, which is much like this week's First Look Friday subject.

The Gold Setting is a sexy, electro-pop, jambalaya fusion of soul, '70s sound and Los Angeles glitz. As a group, these players led by its stunning face, Liza Colby, have built up a reputation as a glimmering bastion of beats, rhymes and explosion that separates itself from the others. It is with those mixtures of sounds, blended with the powerful playing of Godfrey at LargeAdam BergTodd Simon and Richard Rudolph who make Sunset Strip feel like a sonic utopia.

The work these guys put in culminated in the debut EP, Volume and Tone, a four-track effort that only promises that there is more sass-and-pop to come. And as we got a chance to know the band's front woman, Liza Colby, it is apparent that she is more than just a pretty face. Her adventurous takes on love, lost and sensual soul make her more of a funkified Bessie Smith than Beyoncé. She is such a jewel to hear on records that every note and line seems like a golden moment to bust out into dance and enjoy the grooves.

Together, The Gold Setting finds themselves in that perfect pocket where their warm grooves overshadow the wicked weather we here in the East are experiencing. As we sit down with Liza Colby, representing The Gold Setting, she shares with us her experiences, her thoughts on the industry at large and breaks down just what she learned about herself throughout this recording process. With Volume and Tone out on April 7, we are also excited to be the exclusive premiere spot for you to hear "Gimme Your Love," an after-hours jam that will have your body swaying from right to left.

Without any further ado, please, enjoy the sounds and the mojo of the bright, alluring and future soul stirring, Liza Colby of The Gold Setting.

Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over, you are making an impact. What is it that those in music game are seeing and hearing that the rest of the world has yet to discover?

The Gold Setting: I never liked the term "music snob" [because] music is subjective. There are no rules to what is good or what is bad. I do believe in intention and truth. All it comes down to is what hits you. In my case, as I see it, as long as I make an honest piece of art I trust it will reach the people who need that music.

OKP: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?

TGS: For practicing and honing my craft, my brother Gabriel Colby, is a major inspiration to me. The two of us were really lucky to grow up in a musical household. Both of our parents are working musicians and they both laid a strong foundation of support and dialogue where we could speak about the process and the craft. That in and of itself was an irreplaceable tool. Other influences are Aretha Franklin, her vocals always came off as effortless and each word holds so much meaning and weight. My mom and I did so much Aretha!

Iggy Pop. I love his style of stripped down writing and how it is so soul driven. Also, the mayhem and chaos that comes out when he performs it is a legit release. As an early teen, Stevie Wonder was my catalyst to start writing songs and I was completely obsessed. Missy Elliott. She has that groundbreaking sound and that groundbreaking look. Her music is so recognizable and danceable. For me, it was the perfect mashup of pop and hip-hop. Tina Turner is another one, too. Not just because of her songs, but her performance was a legit spectacle. She is sexy and badass and the toughness comes out in her voice and body language.

Bruce Springsteen was a big favorite of my dad's and his work ethic is mind blowing.

OKP: Can you talk about how your life was while developing as an artist? How did you react to your first bits of press?

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit: Laurent Chevalier for Okayplayer.

TGS: I am still developing as an artist nothing is stagnant, it's a rollercoaster. Some days I am feeling great and other days I question why the fuck have I chosen to do this. I have been doing it forever and I'm not good at anything else, I say to myself, and then other times I'm like, 'Oh, yeah, I don't have a choice.' I do always try to remind myself [that] I am not defined by my worst or best day. I really try to keep my focus on the work and not on the response be it press or anything else because you want to avoid becoming self-conscious which is the great destroy of an artist. Whether it be consciously or subconsciously an audience will recognize when you are self-conscious.

OKP: With incidents involving people of color, police and racist occurring almost on a daily basis around the globe — how can your music (and/or others) help to relieve the trauma that is being experienced by the masses?

TGS: Listen, I am never going to put that on myself, y'know? To be a savior with my music. I am a woman of color and my heart breaks daily over the trauma that happens the world over. I do believe in universal feelings and themes that music can help us tap into. It reminds us that we're much more similar than we are different.

OKP: What have been the most definitive obstacles that you’ve overcome in your career thus far?

TGS: The obstacle of waking up every day and deciding to do the art. Some days that shit is the worst. But you have to remind yourself to have gratitude. Being an artist is a gift. My mom said there is always shit work with every job. You gotta find the one where the shitty shit isn't so shitty. My shit days I still get to sing, write, perform or record and be creative and even if I bomb I get to do it again.

There is nothing more humbling a performance that wasn't what you wanted it to be. There is an in-between life and art vibration and it creeps into both realms. I did lose my main creative partner over a year ago and watching our family and musical community deal with it was a reckoning. If you are in the game of being an artist you are running a marathon. You really just got to keep going and doing. In the words of my beloved Adam Roth and The Beatles, we must "Mach Schau".

OKP: Can you also talk about the importance of the music industry scene as how you’ve experienced it? How do you see it evolving in the next five years?

TGS: It's been a real challenge to keep up with how much the industry has changed over the years and I do my best to keep my eyes and ears open. Ultimately, I think it comes down to the work. The people who keep at it will get their piece. The right people will hear about them. Whether they are satisfied or not is another question. There is enough [there] for everyone. It is important to have community and help people and ask for help. How do I see the industry evolving in the next five years? I am trying to stay in it the next five minutes [laughs]. If I can maintain being a working musician then I know I was present enough to change with the times and not get left behind.

OKP: What are some things that you’ve learned about yourself that comes out in your music?

TGS: I would have to say my vast interest in different artists and music genres can be seen in the versatility of my work. Example: The Liza Colby Sound versus The Gold Setting, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. I am also a horrible person to be around if I am not doing music. Under pressure you can really see someone's true colors. In "showbiz," I hate that term, the shit hits the fan fast and I have learned that I can and will show up for myself and the people around me. I also know who will show up for me.

OKP: What were some moments from your recent travels that will forever stick with you? Why?

TGS: One would be writing with Richard Rudolph in California. I have written with so many people throughout the years and I love his style and approach. In the most supportive way he gets me to dig into the song to get the best line or word. He holds me accountable for my choices. The how and why. When you are writing you are in a vulnerable state and I find it helps when you are co-writing that a safe creative space needs to be established. My dad always said "the song is king," so [with that said] egos need to be put aside to service the piece of art.

OKP: What was the first song that you ever wrote entitled? Can you talk about what it has come to symbolize since you’ve entered into the professional life?

TGS: Its name was "Love Call," and it was a ballad. I wrote it when I was 15 or 16. I was in a Stevie Wonder bubble at the time. He was all I wanted to listen to. Everybody starts somewhere [and] that marked the beginning of my chronological timeline as a songwriter.

OKP: How can your music speak truth to power in an age where people are so quickly digesting sounds and disposing of artists in a nanosecond?

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo Credit: Laurent Chevalier for Okayplayer.

TGS: I can't over-intellectualize the process. I have the attention span of a gnat when I don't care about something too. Again, music is subjective, so you like what you like. The cream rises to slippery slope. If you connect with one person, and bring them joy, a bit of release or relief from whatever you have succeeded!

OKP: Collaboration is uniquely a key to the success of certain creative individuals who wish to change the game. Who would you want to work with this year going into the next and why?

TGS: I have a pretty specific wish list depending on the project for The Gold Setting. I want to keep making music with my team. I love the sonic magic I make with Adam BergTodd Simon and Richard Rudolph, who is literally a living legend. A baby dream list for The Gold Setting would be to collaborate with in no particular order: Tame ImpalaAndré 3000D'Angelo and Missy Elliott. Having the opportunity to work with any of these amazing creative forces would blow my mind.

OKP: What is the overall message that The Gold Setting is trying to present in their music?

TGS: I hate to get bogged down in messages. The Gold Setting is the Gold Setting because it is malleable. Settings may change and so does the message / music person to person. The objective is to make good music. Remember: The song is king!

OKP: Can you break down the inspiration behind a song that you created but never put out?

TGS: Sure, songs come around all the time. They live everywhere. We had a few songs for this project in particular that we really loved but when it came to curating Volume and Tone, other songs fit the EP better. Editing is imperative to getting the gold.

OKP: How do you see yourself changing the music industry for the better versus all of the bad stuff that goes on within it?

TGS: I'm not here to take on the music industry. I am here to listen and respond truthfully to my fellow artists and audiences.

OKP: How do you get over any anxiety before hitting the stage to perform live? What are some lessons or tips that you’ve learned from others about doing a stage show?

TGS: I like the anxiety. It lets me know I still care. Any artist is in trouble if the fear is gone. Lessons or tips: Give your all. It doesn't matter if you're playing to a sold out room or to one person. They deserve the best show. You are asking your audience, friends, family and fans to spend their time and or money. I believe it is your responsibility as an artist to do so.

Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for more from Liza Colby and The Gold Setting (and us!) by following them on Twitter @TheGoldSetting.