profile & interview by Katherine Champagne
LISTEN UP || Sugar & Gold - "Stay Soft" | DOWNLOAD (via RCRD LBL)
If you could combine the essence of a a few hundred smiles, that one time at the summer block party where you shimmy-shimmy-shook-your booty all night long and a little bit of glitter, panache and laughter—then distill it in to music, that's what Sugar & Gold would sound like. Their new album, Get Wet (Antenna Farm) and its funk meets R&B meets disco is compelling, fun, joyous and near-impossible to dislike.
The San Francisco fivesome is impossible to dislike in person as well. My first impressions of the band further reinforced the idea that their recording sessions must be a gigantic party, a life source for the rampant fun you can hear in their music. This wrong impression was laughingly corrected by lead singer Philipp Minnig —stage name "PAM"—who pointed to his "geek" button as he told me that the band had a more serious approach in the studio, preferring to save the party for the road.
It certainly is a party on the road for Sugar & Gold, both figuratively and literally—they've been reported in the past to tour with a full wardrobe of their notorious costumes, often created uniquely for them by a former member of the band and fashion student.
Hand-painted cow print clogs and an ex-girlfriend's socks.
An article on Sugar & Gold wouldn't be complete without a discussion of their sartorial style—the band is known for their sense of fun and freedom in fashion. The evening of the show at the Empty Bottle, Phillip was wearing hand-painted cow-print clogs, inspired in two parts by a recent reading of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and the recent death of his cat. (What kind of clothes do you wear in memoriam of a fallen feline friend? Bright colors).
Sugar & Gold – Stay Soft from Sam Young on Vimeo.
Rodarte was also cited as a influence for Sugar & Gold, for the way they seamlessly blend disciplines—visual art, textiles, music—into their clothing line. It's a theme that seemed to resonate throughout the night: a total lack of fear when it comes to self-expression, be it clothes, stage presence, in song or in their wacky music videos. And it's that lack of fear that makes them so much fun—to see live, to hang out with, to dance alongside.
Five On Five With Phillipp Minnig of Sugar & Gold:
If you could be any neighborhood, which one would you be?
The Castro in San Francisco.
Defining Chicago memory?
Returning to our hotel at five in the morning and seeing a man walking alone down the sidewalk, barefoot in a hospital gown.
Your number one piece of advice for someone trying to make it in the music industry?
Have a sense of humor!
Cake or pie?
image via Hyperbole and a Half
While his bandmates respectfully disagreed on the basis of deliciousness, Phillipp was on Team Cake, thanks to to all of the creative ways you can decorate cake—you can make it look like almost anything you want.
Recommend a book:
cover from the comic strip version of the book
In addition to Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer—The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, a novel about the havoc that is wreaked by the Devil coming to Moscow, told in three different interconnected stories.