WLBPA Interviews: In our first interview, we are thrilled to talk with Aubrey Rachel Violet Bramble from the dream-pop band, Golden Gardens. As a musician, artisan perfumer, manager/promoter, and wife, we thought we get some tips from her on how to balance it all (and some advice on making our own passions come to life for us).
WLBPA: How did you first start Golden Gardens?
ARVB: Golden Gardens originally began as a cross-country experiment in September of 2010. I had been living in Seattle for a little over a year when my friend Gregg (who was living in Tampa at the time) posted online that he was interested in starting a dream pop project but was having trouble finding a female vocalist. I secretly always wanted to sing in a band, so I asked him if he would be open to letting me give it a shot even though I wasn’t local. He said yes, so we started working on a couple of songs remotely and through file sharing. It went so well that we ended up putting out our first EP in December of 2010! (Gregg now lives here, so we’re a totally *local* Seattle band.)
WLBPA: Ummm. I have known you a long time, and it has never been a secret that you have wanted to be in a band!! [laughing] You have so much creative talent! Are you working for other people outside of the band (like a j.o.b.)?
ARVB: When I started working on Golden Gardens, I had a full-time job. When we started getting a bit more “exposure” and attention, my husband and I made the decision that I should quit my full-time job and instead make managing (and performing in) Golden Gardens a full-time thing. So, I’ve been essentially focusing full-time on Golden Gardens since late 2011. This past year I started a side business making organic and natural perfumes. It’s called Swan Children. I do a lot of custom blends for people as well as stock a regular “line” of fragrances. It helps supplement income and definitely keeps me busy – I can’t not be doing something! I think I have adult ADD! [laughs]
WLBPA: Shout-out to all the supportive spouses out there! It is so important. You have been on the road a few times. Does your hubby go with?
ARVB: We have been on the road a bit, but we will be doing a lot more out-of-town (and out-of-state, out-of-country) traveling this year and beyond. My husband does not come with me when I travel for shows. At least, not presently. Maybe if we go somewhere exciting! [laughs] He has a full-time job and we’ve got animals to worry about, so it’s good for one of us to be home. He travels often for his job, and then I am usually the one home alone. So it’s a balance.
WLBPA: With you both traveling so much, how do you work in time for your relationship?
ARVB: The thing I love best about my marriage is that my husband and I are very much individuals. We do a lot of things independently of one another and even though we do spend a good chunk of time together, we work hard to keep our own individual lives intact. We share some friends and interests, but have a lot of separate friends and interests as well. A good analogy is a blossoming flower – we allow each other to grow and then admire the results. It keeps things from getting stale and it makes us feel like we are truly supporting each other’s dreams and aspirations in life. He’s the fanciest.
WLBPA: I think that support is key, I really do. You are right about it making the relationship exciting. Watching your love dive into new interests brings all kinds of life into conversations, activities, everything. What do you love about Dream Pop? I wasn’t really aware of it as a genre (to be honest) until you started doing it! [laughing]. I know our Cure/Smiths roots go way back…
ARVB: Dream Pop is basically in the first half of the term: the DREAMiness. Everything from that genre sounds so sparkly and gorgeous, even the darker stuff. It’s just so pretty. In the words of Audrey Horne, “I love this music. Isn’t it too dreamy?” My favorite bands are Dream Pop bands: Cranes, Cocteau Twins, Love Spirals Downwards, The Sundays…
WLBPA: OK. So I know more bands than I thought…excuse me while I pick Cheerio’s out of my hair. [laughing] Everything about you is so glamorous and sparkly. I love the image and the dazzle you use in GG. Did that develop organically or did you work to create a brand?
ARVB: I’ve always taken performance art seriously, and coming from a cinematic background I consider spectacle/visuals to be of utmost importance. Hence, the Golden Gardens aesthetic has always been a very involved and showy creature. Gregg and I are both very interested in a “look” and an experience, so I think we’ve innately worked at building the dazzle you mention since day one, but as we’ve grown as a band it’s gotten more intricate and deliberate for sure.
WLBPA: Thank you so much for doing this, by the way. I know you are incredibly busy. So, one of the things I admire most is your courage. Not everyone has the guts to go after a dream, especially a creative dream (where the m.o.n.e.y. might not be there at first). Do you have any advice for squashing fear that creeps up?
ARVB: Thanks again for asking me to do this! I think it’s good to always have some of that “fear” in your tummy. Without it, I don’t think you can give a real and compelling performance; I think it’s motivating. The day I stop being nervous before playing to a new audience or going on stage is the day I should probably stop performing! The key too not letting that fear consume you, however, is just to focus on getting lost in the music you’re making and go into your own little world. Be authentic and people will have a good time at the very least; at the very best they will follow you down the rabbit hole.
WLBPA: Ain’t that the truth! One of the other areas you have become an expert in is networking. Any advice for us folk as far as reaching out to new people? What has been a successful tactic for making new connections?
ARVB: My advice on networking/making new connections is just to be proactive. No one is going to just “discover” you and your music, especially in today’s over-saturated Internet. No one owes you anything just for making pretty sounds. You have to work at it. Treat networking/marketing like a job and put time and energy into it every day. Do you believe in what you’re doing? Are you excited about it? Then share it – send polite professional emails, connect with bloggers and fans of your medium. Be persistent and follow-up! And of course, be adventurous. Don’t be afraid to contact an individual or site just because you think it’s out of your league. Take a risk – it may pay off for you. Worst case, it goes nowhere but at least you won’t be left wondering “what if?”
WLBPA: You are fabulous. Where can we go to check out your perfumes?
ARVB: If you’d like to order Swan Children scents, go to my Etsy shop!
Please check out Golden Gardens! Their new album, Narcissus, is filled with all kinds of fancy dreamscapes. Even sweeter, Aubrey has agreed to give away some FREE downloads of the album!! We will choose 5 people, at random, who leave comments on this interview or on our FB page!! That’s it. Easy.
Take a listen to a few songs from Narcissus on SoundCloud: