In August of 2017, Devon Hildebrandt and Taylor Drose drove out to Nashville to meet with a producer and take a tour of a recording studio. The long road trip for the two Greeley musicians represented a big step for their band Silver & Gold, the remainder of whom couldn’t make the trip at the time. Despite their success as one of Greeley’s more well-known local bands, they’d never used a producer to record their music. After taking a tour of the studio, the bandmates took a big risk and booked time for their project. Now all they had to do was write the music.
Silver & Gold’s new EP Color (out February 8) used the influence of a short production span, their closeness as a band (both geographically and emotionally) a man named Dan Diaz to create an album that stands out from the rest of their work.
In early 2017, Silver & Gold opened for the band Civilian (with whom Diaz played bass) at the Moxi Theater. They maintained a casual acquaintance until they were in the process of recording their last album, Point A – Point A. Diaz reached out to Silver & Gold expressing his interests in working with them. They’d only finished a couple songs on Point A, but they drove out to Nashville anyway.
“We decided ‘Y’know what? Let’s set the bar really high for ourselves and see if we can reach it’… And we came home with the idea [of pushing] ourselves to make the best songs we possibly can.” explained Hildebrandt.
At the time, almost all the band members lived in the same house, allowing them to constantly write and collaborate. When they returned to Nashville, they had songs completed and in recording condition, so that when they presented them to Diaz, they were able to dig deep into polishing them up.
Before living together, Silver & Gold would spend late nights in Frasier Hall at the University of Northern Colorado, waiting around for available rehearsal spaces after long exhausting days. Color made their collaborative writing more accessible and deepened their relationship with each other as friends.
Even while in Nashville, where they spent a week polishing and recording the album, Hildebrandt reminisced on spending the day playing music together, and spending the evening just enjoying each other’s friendship. Much like their college camaraderie where the music and friendship reciprocally enhanced each other, their recording process is about themselves as a whole.
Diaz proved to be beneficial to the whole as well, helping them explore approaches outside of their comfort zone. He pointed out redundancies, not only in what they had written for the EP, but also in what they had done on Point A – Point A. With his involvement, every song has nuance and is distinguishable from the others, yet like the band itself, clearly part of the same organism. He helped them introduce subtle changes within individual tracks, incorporating groove changes from verse to chorus and more. His feedback allowed them to mature their songwriting without taking away their sonic identity. “He challenged us a lot to push outside of our norms. And he pushed us to really make the best songs we could,” Hildebrandt says.
In fact, the album itself is an expression of growth, maturity and self-awareness. It’s a realisation that life is filled with puzzle-piece experiences which somehow fit together. The lyrical themes and perspectives jump around the same way the chapters of our lives do, and Silver & Gold make that apparent: No two tracks on Color sound the same, but move the album forward together.
This interconnected attitude is a result of their approach in the recording studio. In previous albums, the band tracked their instruments individually at separate times. In Color, they chose to record most of their tracks live and collectively, resulting in a more joyful, homogenous and brighter sound. “We want to be able to play all of this [music] the same way [we do] live,” said Hildebrandt.
Since finishing the album, some of the members have relocated to other parts of theNorthern Colorado and Denver area, which has challenged some of the band’s productivity. Living apart means being deliberate about scheduling, booking rehearsals weeks in advance and holding agenda-based sessions. But the truth is they make it work.
“We’re still getting it done and we’re still really happy with the music we’re writing,” Hildenbrandt said. “We were friends before we were musicians, and that’s still always true. As long as that doesn’t change, we’ll be in a band for awhile.”