I recently sat down in a virtual space with Cecil Frena (from the Edmonton-based Born Gold) to chitty chat about his music and lyrics…
Your past albums seem to have had an over-arching theme; sleep for Little Sleepwalker, the human body for Bodysongs, etc. Is the same true with I Am An Exit?
let’s say ruthless self-scrutiny.
Related to the last question, the human body theme seems to have carried not only through Bodysongs, but through your other work as well. What do you find inspiring and/or fascinating about it?
it’s ground zero of all of our mysteries, consciousness and unconsciousness. it’s kind of an inexhaustible wonder and also the limit point that keeps us grounded and finite.
It’s clear that it’s at least somewhat important to you to create a live performance as opposed to a sedentary show. What value do you see in creating that performance?
i’m a punk kid, so the idea of kinetic performance has always been kind of status quo and dear to me. i used to assess bands based on the level of chaos they could create at the community hall, so i guess it makes sense that the spirit of that has carried through to my work in born gold.
I tend to ask this question to everyone I interview (which is not that many people), but what is your favorite non-musical sound?
you probably get this answer a lot, but i really think that most sounds are musical. after i fully digested noise music and atonality, the realm of concrete sounds that could figure in some kind of composition opened up so wide. a lot of my beats are made up of literal machine clanks or knife drags. that being said, if we’re just talking field recordingy found sound stuff - my favorite sound at this moment is probably mic feedback.
How does your background in hardcore music influence your current artistic process?
i think hardcore, as evidenced by its millions of splinter genres, has often been a pretty culturally omnivorous subculture, at the same time as it’s been really kind of demographically predictable. it’s not like i have a lot of peers doing what i’m doing who come from the same background. but there are definitely a million hardcore kids in shoegaze bands, rock and roll bands, post-punk bands, and so on and so forth. so i think like, the tendency to bracket off into unchartered waters from that point of origin comes naturally.
What was the decision process behind choosing “Hunger” as the lead single of I Am An Exit?
this has already changed since i’ve been writing again, but at the time i really felt like hunger was the best written songy song that i’d made. like maybe not the most aesthetically insane, or the most lyrically weird, just the best songwritery song i’d done to that point. i’m still really proud of it.
Is it more important to you that your listeners understand the message in your music that you’re trying to convey, or that they interpret a meaning of their own? That’s all. Take your time answering them. Thanks a ton again for the show yesterday.
i definitely leave meaning in my work, but at the end of the day i want that seedling to act more as a fertilizer of interpretive possibility rather than a guide to unitary interpretation. i want my songs to be emotionally resonant for people, and while that can sometimes mean they “get what i meant”, often it won’t. i don’t pretend i have any control over that process. death of the author and all that.
I danced on stage with Sufjan and Son Lux and Serengeti tonight so that’s fun.
There were 150 pm white people with with dreadlocks hanging around the mainroom tonight.
I’m still the loner in the corner tho.
Solar Year = A + +
I co-hosted a house show last night in which Maids, Vacation Dad, and Born Gold played. It was phenomenal.
Put this on your Halloween playlist.