Cold Gawd is the project of California-based multi-instrumentalist Matt Wainwright. The music is heavier, abrasive and filled with moments of vulnerability, gives the listener a comfortable sense of nostalgia and has a power that many shoegaze records lack nowadays. In the midst of the release of the band’s brand-new album, God Get Me The Fuck Out Of Here, we talked with Matt about his music background, all the work done for one of the best releases this year will see and so much more.
First of all, thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Can you tell us a little bit of how Cold Gawd came together and your music background?
The idea and music of Cold Gawd started during 2020. I was in a few emo and hardcore bands before Cold Gawd and could never get anything truly together to put out a good record. I always placed the blame on not having the time or money to get it done, then with 2020 happening and being furloughed from work, on top of unemployment being straight cash I finally had what I needed to get these songs out that I had been sitting on for a few years.
Your sound is definitely the balance between heavy and light of the shoegaze spectrum, it’s engaging and captivating. What bands or records have inspired your music?
Whirr, and most importantly their record Feels Like You. If it wasn’t for that I’m not entirely sure Cold Gawd would sound the way that it does. Over the years, Whirr got better with every release and I think Feels Like You is their best record hands down. Plus, the excitement that I felt when I saw that teaser trailer, I wanted to take that energy and apply it to anything that I was going to do. And you did say bands and records so to list off a few more inspirations there’s Nothing (of course), mbv (m b v), Slowdive (souvlaki), Solange (When I Get Home), Snoh Aalegra (Ugh, Those Feels Again), and a lot more.
When did you start working on your new album, God Get Me The Fuck Out Of Here?
The writing process started at the end of 2020. The first song written for the record was “On the Pale Silver Sofa,” and I really wanted to get that out on my birthday of that year but instead I decided to hold it. Instead, on my birthday, my girlfriend gifted me this pink jazzmaster and from that moment on until the end of January 2021 I had God Get Me written and demoed.
The album’s title is quite explicit. What was your mindset while writing the album’s songs?
I wanted to escape anything and everything that was going on in my life. These songs were my retreats away from the normal day-to-day nonsense that was 2020 or working in a factory. I always had to go back to that, but whether it was demoing or recording or even listening back to mixes, I felt like I was able to disappear into a safe place.
What was the creative process behind the song “Two Iris Prints”? Probably my favourite of the album.
I’m glad you’re rocking with that one. That track is heavily inspired by Cocteau Twins and Slowdive; I listen to both often but there was a moment in the writing process of the record where for maybe a week and a half all I listened to was Tiny Dynamite and Souvlaki and musically that song is the product of that time. Lyrically I wanted it to be my version of “No Exit” by Childish Gambino, it’s the scattered brain thinking of whether or not living is worth it while also searching for purpose.
“Comfort Thug” is like a spoken word song. What can you tell us about the story behind this song in particular?
I don’t want to peel the curtain back too much on that but what I can say is Niggas was in the booth, Khairi Christopher started talking, we caught a feeling, and rode it.
Matt, you recorded every single instrument on this album by yourself. What were the recording sessions like and what was the most challenging thing about it?
The recording process was cool because Gabe and I would pick an instrument every day and lock in until we were finished. The first day in the studio we were there for 10 hours (most days we were there for 10 hours) and I knocked out all the drums for the record. I had to go back in the next day and clean some things up, but I’d say after day one 80% of the drums were done and that’s how it went for everything besides vocals. Vocals took three sessions to do and that was definitely the most challenging but in a good way. As I said earlier, Gabe has a knack for vocals and without us speaking about it too much there was an understood of how my voice should be on every song, so we would go take after take after take until Gabe said “we got it, let’s move to the next one” and that’s how it was for every song. Anything else that could’ve been challenging I do not remember because there’s no challenge alcohol can’t fix. Gabe and I were in there with a lot of whiskey, Panamanian rum, Bud Light, port wine, and of course, gin.
Tell us a little bit about the members of Cold Gawd and what they bring into the mix.
We got Duck on bass, Steven Esquibel on guitar, George Camacho on guitar, Devin Trott on guitar, Cameron Fonacier on drums and Arturo Ramirez on tambourine and they all fucking bring it. How many times have you seen a shoegaze band get up on stage, stand there, and then get off? Too many to count, right? Not Cold Gawd, everyone brings their own flair of popping off to the live element that sets us apart from all of our peers. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some bands that do need to stand there because they’re actually working with their pedals in a way that demands focus and those bands always find a way to provide a wonderful live experience, but there’s Niggas turning fuzz or reverbs on and off every few songs and not doing anything to engage the audience member. If you look at us you got Cameron slapping the shit out of those drums, Art shakin the tambourine like no one’s business, all the string players moving at blazing speeds, you got a lot of points of focus when you go to a Cold Gawd show.
The artwork of the new album is just astonishing! What was the idea behind that?
It’s a culmination of a lot of things but to start, two records I was listening to a lot during this time were Because the Internet and When I get Home. Both of those covers are these striking pictures of these phenomenal black artists so I knew I had to get my shit off like that with the cover. Also, during that time, I was revisiting Yeezus and during the tour for the record, Ye had all those Margiela masks and I was really drawn into the one that was a lot like a mirror ball, but trying to find a mask that goes over/works well with my dreads is still a hard task. So, then the idea was to find a way to paint my face like a mirror ball and with perfect timing, Westside Gunn drops the video for “Liz Loves Luger” and the “antagonist” of the video is this person whose entire head is covered in glitter and I said “that’s it”.
What have been the highlights of 2022 for you so far?
Being able to join the gang that is Dais Records. I got really into the label 2014/2015 with artists like Youth Code, Cold Showers, and Them Are Us Too. That time also coincided with all of those artists and more (Drab Majesty, Death of Lovers, Choir Boy) playing those Part Time Punks shows in L.A. From that point on, Dais easily became my favorite label to pay attention to. Fast forward to 2022 and CVLTNATION makes the lob of the century and passed the record along to Gibby and Ryan and we arrive at Dais not missing with a release once again. It’s a dream come true that my record gets to be on the same label as Them Are Us Too’s Remain (top 5 record of all time for me). I remember getting off the phone with Gibby and thinking “I did it;” there are a lot of failed attempts leading up to Cold Gawd and all that trial and failure got me to this moment and it felt like a lot of hard work paid off. But that ain’t “it,” there’s still more shit to get done this year.
Which record or band has standout this year for you?
I haven’t heard it yet but I really feel like that new Luster LP is really gonna make a mark on the genre. Being able to play and see them this year has been exciting to say the least. All of them in that band are talented as hell and they’re doing something a lot of kids wish they could do but they don’t get that dog in them the way Luster does. They’re students of the game, they know how to write a hit and another hit and another hit. Besides them, that new Drake record may be my favorite album of the year.