Goldray were formed in 2010 by ex-Reef guitarist Kenwyn House, vocalist Leah Rasmussen and bassist Geoff Laurens. Their unique sound combines a riff-driven psychedelic atmosphere with Leah’s mystical vocals reminiscent of Kate Bush and otherworldly stage presence. Her quirkily glamourous persona and striking talent as a performer complement the music well and help create an unforgettable live show.
They released their debut album, ‘Rising’, in May 2017 and have recently finished writing the second one. We spoke to Kenwyn about Goldray’s music and influences, including their relationship to the 60s.
How did the band first come together?
Goldray was conceived in our imagination just after we met 10 years ago, but we didn’t get round to doing anything about it until late 2010. I was still playing with Reef at the time, so for a while my time and energy was split between Goldray and Reef.
Tell us about your debut album. What was the songwriting and recording process like?
We like to hibernate and get into songwriting… It’s an intense time of letting all the best ideas out and running them past each other. The songs grew over time into what you now hear on the album. I mainly do the music and Leah mainly does the vocals and lyrics, however we both produce each other and share ideas on each other’s thing.
The recording was done in various studios (Metropolis and the Fish Factory, The Granary) with various drummers. Then the process of building the sound of each song began in earnest in our home/studio. We had a clear vision of what we wanted this record to sound like and we didn’t want to make any compromises making it like our vision.
Where do you take inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from many quarters. Our musical influences and heroes, and our own life experiences combine in shaping our music. Much but not all of our influences for Goldray are from music made in the 60s and 70s. Bands like Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Janice Joplin, Fleetwood Mac, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson… There are many others also.
Which songs are closest to your heart and why?
I’ve had a journey with each one of the songs on our first album… They all mean something to me. However, ‘Diamond Road’, ‘Rising’, ‘Outloud’ and ‘Soulchild’ have come out really well for me. I know Leah feels ‘Calling Your Name’ very strongly, too.
How can we purchase the album?
You can buy the album everywhere: iTunes, Amazon, and a variety of records shops up and down the land thanks to Cargo who distribute our physical and digital stuff. You can also get it from our website.
You have a few tour dates listed on your website at the moment. Are you going to add any more this summer?
Watch this space. We will be announcing further shows for later in the year soon.
Are you currently working on any new material?
We have actually finished writing the second album, and have just finished recording the drums for the whole album, as it happens! However, we’re always open to writing new material.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the 60s?
They were exciting and liberating times musically and culturally… I think a healthy disrespect for authority and expression of freedom are huge gifts given to us from that era.
Which 60s bands have been the biggest influences for you?
So many artists from that era have influenced me and Leah – From Bowie to Bob Dylan, from Hendrix to Jefferson Airplane, from the Doors to Led Zeppelin, and from Cream to Pink Floyd, from The Stones to Traffic, Miles to Mahavishnu… I could go on.
Any news you’d like to share?
Yeah, we’ve got some news. We’ve nearly finished recording our second album and we’re going to be touring in the autumn. Both of these things we’re very excited about.