Gold Star | Debuting single "Wild Boys"

The artist shares inspiration behind their newest track

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When we think Hollywood, we think of two things, palm trees and movie stars. Or at least, they’re always in the top five things that come to mind. Then there’s the so-called glamor that follows: the insatiable fame, the endless amounts of money, the hope of a dream, the ability to make any and every encounter a bountiful opportunity. For those who are on the outside looking in, there is this superficial and know-it-all quality attached to Los Angeles – an often overall dismissive energy. Aside from the film industry, the music industry also lives and breathes on these suntanned streets. The locals and the natives are sure to mention this passionately, acknowledging LA as a place where music was and is, extremely influential. Particularly, Rock N' Roll. It’s why British rock stars love the southern California sunshine so much – they’re constantly singing about it, worshiping it, and basking in its glory. But to have lived it in those pivotal growing years, to have really had it in your backyard, well, that is an entirely different experience in its own.

Just ask singer-songwriter Marlon Rabenreither, the musical mind behind Gold Star.  The musician has released his newest single, “Wild Boys” – with the intention to tap back into the sounds of his earlier EP’s; 2017’s Big Blue and 2018’s Uppers and Downers, immediately shuffling listeners into a new era that rings nostalgic, but echoes a celebrated and refreshing new beginning. Produced and mixed by Sean O’Brien, “Wild Boys” is a reminiscent track about the wandering, fast-life nature Rabenreither experienced as a child and adolescent in LA. Borrowed from the literary world, the single title is from the book by William S. Burroughs titled, The Wild Boys. This idea sparked a comparison between Rabenreither’s own Hollywood childhood, as he felt as though being a wild boy, growing up happily aloof – as a child might –  in the very adult, very violently famed atmosphere around him, would easily set the tone for the fleeting emotional undertones in the single.

Fascinated by this gang mentality and sense of community within a group of lively boys, the music video, shot in Yucca Valley, was nothing short of a reflective and comparative nature, highlighting the similarities and differences between adulthood and childhood, both in a Hollywood daze. Gold Star is set to release their single January 16th, accompanied by a show at the Zebulon in Los Angeles. FLAUNT sat down with Rabenreither to chat about the newest single and everything in between. 

How did you first find your affinity for music? 

I started playing in punk bands when I was a teenager but really began focusing on songwriting when I was an undergraduate art student. My parents and their friends were all musicians so I grew up in a very musical household. I have always been  mesmerized by rock and roll, it seems to have a grip on me that I can not easily escape. 

With your new single, “Wild Boys” you’re going back to your roots that feel reminiscent of Big Blue and Uppers & Downers, was this an intentional connection to the theme of nostalgia? 

‘Big Blue’ in particular was a very simple record with minimal overdubs. All the tracking for that album was done in three days. With the “Wild Boys” sessions it was important for me to capture the energy of our live shows and create a really warm and organic sounding recording. 

Did the process of creating this track differ from previous recording sessions?  

I think of every record I have made in a kind of dialogue with the one that precedes it. I always strive to do something different, so it’s often sort of reactionary. Our last release “Headlights U.S.A.” was created in a very different manner…That album was predominantly made on laptops piece by piece in bedrooms and was collaged together with drum loops and synths over a longer period of time. “Wild Boys” was arranged and workshopped on stage with the band and recorded in two takes by producer Sean O’Brien (The National, Taylor Swift) "Wild Boys" is the first recording that features this lineup of Gold Star which includes Connor 'Catfish' Gallaher (Pedal Steel, Guitar) Jordan Odom (Guitar, Bass) Mikey Whiteside (Piano, Organ) and Jay Rudolph (Drums).

Was the adventurous nature between being on the road as an adult and roaming around as a young boy immediately comparable when visualizing “Wild Boys”? 

The filmmakers Jordan Lovelis and Andrew Gibson approached me about doing a video and they wrote the treatment for it and it does seem to parallel that sentiment a bit. The song title is lifted from the William S. Burroughs novel, “The Wild Boys” His book is about a roving gang of teenagers in an apocalyptic world whereas the track is loosely based on the experiences of my friends and I. 

What was it like growing up in Hollywood and how has that influenced you now as an artist? 

I tend to write from experience and growing up in Hollywood has given me no shortage of material to work with. I love songs that exist in specific environments and contexts, so for me certain songs are tied to certain intersections or neighborhoods. This city is often associated with the movies first and foremost but there is a long and fascinating history of literature and music here as well that extends from Fante, Didion, Babitz to X, The Doors, and Tom Waits.

“Wild Boys” feels quite vulnerable yet also powerful – like a wave of emotions passing through. What do you hope for listeners to take away from this song? 

Though I often write from an autobiographical lens it is important for me to leave the door open to interpretation. I think that good songs come from someplace real, emotional, and personal but with enough space for the listener to find themselves in that moment. Once a song is released into the world you no can longer really control how it is perceived or experienced.

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Gold Star, Wild Boys, Music, Maria Kyriakos