Midwest Refugees Golden Daze Find Their L.A. Home on Autumn Tone Records
Photo by Jennifer Pearl
Jack Loeb and Ben Schwab of the band Golden Daze are best friends who both came from the Midwest to try to embed themselves in the Los Angeles music scene. Loeb is from Chicago and Schwab is from Ohio. Schwab is a former professional skater (roller skating), and Loeb does acting outside of his music, often working with the likes of James Franco. One could easily confuse them for misfit brothers trying to make sense of the strange world they've found themselves in.
Their music is of the melodic, shoegaze variety, and it feels like a psychedelic journey into fire-lit backyard parties and late nights on the coast. It makes you want to take a swig of whiskey, put the top down in the convertible and drive through the hills.
Loeb says that in a certain way, meeting musician and producer Kai Hugo (aka Palmbomen) helped the band unify its diverse influences into a cohesive sound. “At the same time we were working on the record, I posted a TEAC reel-to-reel on Craigslist and Kai showed up to my house and bought that reel-to-reel from me,” Schwab says. “A week or two later I sent him demos or something, and he sent me some stuff.” Schwab says Hugo asked him to write for some of his songs, and they eventually began collaborating on certain projects.
Adds Loeb, “To me, the cherry on top for that whole story is Ben sells his TEAC to Kai, slowly over time we all become friends, and then four months later, when we're actually producing the record with Kai, literally every track on the record — every instrument, every vocal take — went through that same TEAC."
The band found their record label, Justin Gage's Autumn Tone Records, through a friend of Loeb's: Cadien James of the band Twin Peaks, who released their first album on Autumn Tone. Loeb says the label seemed open to new voices, so he and Schwab contacted them when they had some songs recorded. The label officially became sure they wanted to work with Golden Daze after the owners went to a house show the band played at.
Loeb and Schwab hate two different things in the world at this moment. Loeb has an active distaste for the Kardashians, and Schwab is currently loathing Ken Kratz, the prosecutor from the Netflix series Making a Murderer. Schwab is oddly obsessed with the grocery store Lassen's, and Loeb is enamored with the filmmaker Charlie Kaufman.
Each says their work lives and what they do for fun has influenced their music. Schwab says anything you're fully committed to and passionate about has the same “mind state” as what you bring into making music. As for Loeb, “For me, what's so exciting and has always been exciting about music since I was a teenager was that with music, if you can pick up a guitar or play another instrument, you can wake up that morning and decide you want to play music. Whereas other art forms or other jobs have restrictions that require you to rely on outside forces and rely on money and shit to do it.”
Both musicians agree they feel like loners in the L.A. music scene, because a lot of bands here focus on garage-rock or music with punk overtones. Coming from the Midwest, they certainly have those influences, but their music is more focused on melody and slow builds.
“Being in the L.A. scene has been a process of recognizing some of those difference and kind of gaining confidence in what we do outside of that,” Loeb says. They say the music they're making now is more stripped down and experimental, and they hope their next album will rely less on production and more on raw material.
Golden Daze's self-titled debut album comes out Feb. 19 on Autumn Tone Records.
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