Dive into this interview with Iris Gold where we talk about live performance, keeping with self-care and her biggest highlights of 2019.
Feel free to get right into the groove with Iris Gold, a free-flowing, multi-talented artist best known in her home country of Denmark and abroad for powerful singles like “All I Really Know” or “Colour Trip“, her unparalleled style and magnetic stage presence which reflects the dynamic energy of her songs, IRL. Her latest release, the blissfully intense Planet Cool EP combines everything that is intrinsic to her solid-Gold musical style: endless confidence, old-school vibes and the classic edge of modern moodiness.
We caught Iris after a full day of rehearsal; read our cozy conversation about the forthcoming European tour, performing while pregnant and the highlights from the past year.
What’s life like for ya right now?? What’s up?
Well for example today, I went to rehearsal, biked there on my bicycle and then I biked home, and now I’m pretty exhausted. Whereas normally I would be able to be, like ‘okay let’s go to the gym!’. You know, I would have more energy, but you kind of have to take your energy, so you can use it where it’s needed and then rest where you can. Sometimes I’ve got loads of energy and I’m like ‘WOW I’m gonna do everything that I would do if I wasn’t pregnant’ and then other days I’m like fuuuck I used up all my energy and all can do is chill and watch Netflix and stuff my face with pizza and ice cream.
Speaking on energy, how do you feel about live performance versus studio recording?
I definitely prefer live. Which is probably why even though I’m pregnant I’m going on tour. Because I just – it just makes me happy to connect with the audience and sing my songs and be with humans, you know? Sometimes when you’re in the studio, you’re just with one person, it’s not the same vibe. Although, when you meet someone and you make some good music with them, it can be very beautiful as well, so. But definitely when I’m performing with my band, I really like movement and dancing – when you’re in the studio you have to, like, you know, concentrate.
Are you somebody who needs to be like, okay FOCUS, let’s do this?
Yeah, definitely. When I’m in the studio I bring nice treats, so in one hour I can have that banana or like little things to look forward to. Whereas when I’m going on tour and I’m on stage I’m just like ‘woo!’, running on straight adrenaline.
What about self-care when you’re touring? How do you go about preserving your energy?
I bring my yoga mat with me everywhere we go. And I stretch and meditate before the show, I stretch to make sure my body is right, and aligned. It’s all about – yeah, almost like a gymnast or something. I’m just not a person who stays still – I kick, and I jump and I just have to be able to warm up. I don’t know if this is boring, but I started pregnancy yoga a week ago and they showed me some exercises and stuff that you can do before and after shows to sort of warm up. And you can’t twist as much… You can’t do as many twisty movements. You can’t twist as much because your pelvic area loosens up ‘cause the baby needs to come out you know? Haha, you don’t think about it! You have to stay more straight and not do as many twisty movements. Be aware of being more square.
What was your original vision for your music when you started out?
I started making all my music on loops – seventies loops and then like looping them up and making my songs. The loops that I would be finding were just amazing, probably twenty people in the studio playing instruments, and I found it quite hard to kind of take all of those older elements and produce them in a more contemporary way. So, in an ideal world, I would like to have my band playing the music that I like and then have someone mix them up and make them contemporary, to bring both worlds together. I guess the closest thing would be Andersen .Paak, he does that pretty well obviously.
Do you think music should have some kind of message behind it or should it be, you know, straight up grooves?
Hm. Interesting because everybody needs to do what they need to do, I don’t think they should be forced. But I think, who was it that said – I think it was Picasso that said: ‘the purpose of art is washing the dust off daily life… off of our souls’. I guess if that’s true then people want to be entertained, to forget their troubles and not think, right? But I think some days you need that and some days you don’t? Some days you want to like be sad and listen to Sade, you know? And it would be weird if she was like Bruno Mars, haha, tripping on Finesse! Because that’s not what you need from her, same with, like, Nick Cave or Radiohead or something like that, but then I enjoy putting on Bruno Mars and just dancing and not thinking about anything. So I guess it’s a little bit of both. I think it’s a good way of having a message and getting your point across [musically].
I have a lot of Ghanaian fans actually. And they are just woah, next level compared to the Danish fans – they’re sweet too, just more reserved I guess, and the Ghanaian fans are just like ahh! They put you on a pedestal and retweet and regram everything and just write you lovely messages all the time. It’s just so nice to be active and engaged with that. I will say I did just get my first penis picture from a fan. I didn’t actually open it. But I think it’s really weird because since I’ve been pregnant I’ve actually gotten more attention from men. I didn’t expect that, haha! Even at the gym, I don’t know if it’s some kind of ‘I am woman’ pregnancy power or something like, okay! But I don’t know, the other day I posted my first pregnancy photo and I guess for some people that’s as an invitation or something like ‘she tried it before so I guess she’s ready for my penis’. It was definitely not meant to be an invitation for that kind of thing. More a celebration of womanhood.
What about the music industry for women? What’s your experience or opinion about that?
Yeah, it’s a tough one isn’t it because there aren’t as many women as there are men producing. That’s where it is a little bit unique, and it’s a bit annoying because it would be better if there were female producers. It can be difficult sometimes when there can be confusion with sexual stuff with the power imbalances. Other times you can say your opinion and be told they’re being ‘emotional’, you know? So it’s hard to be taken seriously. Whereas with guys, they can just say their opinion and they have a ‘strong opinion’… It’s actually a huge misconception because I know guys who are VERY emotional, in my experience. Very, very sensitive. Because I have many men that I work with, and I think it is way easier to give women constructive criticism than men, for example. Men tend to freak out a little more like ‘what, she said that?!’, whereas women would be a bit more chill. I don’t know why we get the stigma of being ‘too emotional’ because that’s definitely not my experience.
What would you say is your biggest career highlight? What’s the biggest highlight from your career so far?
There’s quite a few now, especially this year, it’s been crazy. Because I still think Robbie Williams, in front of 30,000 people, supporting him was dope. But this year, or last year, I performed in front of the French president. In his palace and all of that stuff, so it was spectacular really. Oh and he only chose women for the music festival he has once a year, that was dope, I got to dance with him and his wife and Elton John was there being knighted and yeah it was spectacular really. But then so much happened last year, I performed with Nile Rodgers and Dave Stewart and Emily Sandee, and all these people – it all happened so fast – I try and take it all in. Plus I did almost one hundred concerts as well last year and the year before, so I haven’t really had time to ponder: ‘Wow! Look at all this stuff I’ve done’, you know?
Are there times where you feel the pressures of social media, to come across a certain way or put off a certain image, or do you just give no fucks? How do you deal with that?
I think about it, but I don’t care, you know? I do think about how I have a lot of younger girl followers. And I think about – it can’t all be so perfect, you know what I mean? You can’t be perfect all the time, it’s unrealistic and I don’t want people to think that I am perfect all the time. Although I love dressing up and wearing shades and being all Grace Jones. I really enjoy that, so, I’ve been trying to put a few – just me – especially on my story, because I don’t want people to think that I just look fabulous all the time, ‘cause I have shitty days just like everybody else, you know what I mean?
What gives you energy? What excites you?
Going on stage, you know, that gives me lots of life force and lots of energy, and food – food gives me lots of energy. It’s the last thing I think about, the first thing I think about when I wake up, you know? I love food. And then being with my Grandma, my family, my friends, the ocean – I love the ocean.
What’s your advice – for the people?
Be yourself. Because you know, we may only have this life so just do your thing and try not to think too much about what other people are doing. ‘Cause that’s their life. This is your life. Do what feels right for you. There’s just so much advice I would give, and so much advice I would give myself. Just remember what you want out of life, not what other people want for you.
Deep stuff, great advice.
And just tell yourself it’s gonna be fine; either way it’s gonna be fine, and there’s nothing you can do about it, you know? There was this Danish movie I watched the other day that said ‘the only difference between a rock and a human being is that the human thinks they have control over how they fall and what the outcome is going to be’.