By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Before Nashville, Tenn.-based alt-rock trio Goldpark even truly had the chance to showcase their tight musicianship on a live stage, the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the music industry and stopped concerts altogether.
Akin to a hopeless desert that waits for rain, the parallels of the struggles that musicians have undergone were flawlessly captured in the video for their latest single “Beautiful Desperation,” which was shot at Nashville venue, The Basement.
Formed in 2019, Goldpark was the first artist signed to the newly-launched Hazel Street Records and are already a fixture on playlists across platforms like Apple/iTunes, VEVO and Amazon Music. They’ve been compared to acts like Kings Of Leon, Coldplay and Death Cab For Cutie, mostly for their ability to combine lush soundscapes with thoughtful songwriting.
Goldpark are lead vocalist Wes Hunter, lead guitarist Andrew Smith and drummer Kyle Neblett.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with them about “Beautiful Desperation” and more.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Nashville to someone who has never been there before?
Andrew Smith – Nashville is kind of like an L.A., in the sense that there’s tons of creative circulation here. Historically, we’ve been on the map for country music, but I think we’re slowly becoming a home for lots of other things. The people here are some of the truest and kindest you’ll meet.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Wes Hunter – I think I’m excited to make records that will someday be someone’s favorite records. Then, that person may want to make someone else’s favorite record because of our records. Yeah, that would be cool.
Music Bugle – What directly inspired “Beautiful Desperation” and did the video come out how you wanted?
Wes Hunter – Almost three years ago, my wife and I went on a trip all over the West Coast. When I really reflect on what stuck out to me the most, it was without a doubt, the desert. I think I am captivated by the desert because of the tension that exists within it. The tension of beauty and desperation. The way the sun beautifully illuminates the dunes, while they’re desperately waiting for rain. That’s the tension that exists in all of life. We’re constantly wrestling with love/hate, sadness/joy. “Beautiful Desperation” is kind of an internal study of those feelings.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Wes Hunter – I’ve really been into this guy Scott Ruth lately. His EP ‘Telephone’ is phenomenal. True rock and roll to its core. I’ve also recently decided to go back to the records that I think perfectly encapsulate me musically. ‘Imaginary Man’ by Rayland Baxter – this record is a timestamp in my life. It reminds me of graduating high school and having a whole summer to do nothing but spend time with the friends and family that I love. I also started dating my wife in that time. ‘Parachutes’ by Coldplay – I mean this one is a given. This first sparked in me the love I have for British soft rock. This record is front-to-back hits and ‘Lost In The Dream’ by The War On Drugs. This record is a master class in feeling and vibe. I think it changed the way I thought about song structure and sounds in general.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Andrew Smith – Tricky! Social media is cool for developing a platform, but I think if musicians/artists consume too much social media, it could potentially be detrimental to their own voice. Comparison is a brutal foe. (Laughs) As a guitar player, I’ll see other players post videos of them playing crazy things and think, “Dang, I don’t think I could ever do that” and the next minute, have to remind myself I’m not supposed to play anything like that. I’ve definitely found inspiration on social media, but I try not to let it inform too much how I approach my instrument.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Wes Hunter – I feel so fortunate to have not been greatly affected during this time. I was lucky enough to keep my day job and make rock and roll music with my friends. My heart goes out to those who lost jobs or loved ones during this time.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest challenge lately?
Andrew Smith – Social media. (Laughs)
Music Bugle – If you had to pick your own theme song, what would it be?
Kyle Neblett – The theme song to “Cheers.”
Music Bugle – What are your goals for 2021?
Wes Hunter – My goal for 2021 is to find more discipline and routine in my life.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need an escape?
Kyle Neblett – Lately, driving has been really nice. A majority of the music I listen to is while in the car. I’ve also been doing a lot of drawing and reading throughout the year.