The band members in Silver & Gold don’t seem to believe it, but it was a decade ago when they were just a group of college kids crowded together in a music rehearsal room at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley to go over some songs they’d just written.
They were regulars after 9 p.m. most nights at Frasier Hall, the music building, where they honed their craft beyond jazz choir, soon becoming one of Northern Colorado’s most beloved rock bands.
“We made real good friends with the custodial staff,” Devon Hildebrandt, the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist, told BandWagon. But the janitorial bonds were of course, secondary to the musical relationship the five friends had just begun to forge.
The band will release a new EP next month, and the six songs reflect a group much more sure of itself than those kids in Fraiser, Hildebrandt said. This is despite the fact that they recorded the album just a few months into the pandemic. Maybe, in fact, because of it.
They had rushed a bit of the songwriting and were preparing to dash into a studio to capture the songs as quickly as possible. They’d booked the time well in advance and had to use it because it was the only time keyboardist / vocalist Claire Jensen, a music teacher, was available. You know what happened next: The world shut down in March 2020. The band didn’t go back into the studio until that summer, and they put the extra time to good use.
They worked out the song “Ghost Rider,” a tune they liked parts of but couldn’t figure out how to put all together, and they wrote “Saving Face,” an aggressive song Hildebrandt calls one of the band’s best.
“It worked out pretty well for us,” Hildebrant said. “It definitely paid off to our benefit.”
“Saving Face,” a single the band released in August, reflects the pandemic – and not just because its aggression screams for a longing to get out and run. The song starts with the line, “I’m doing OK, or at least that’s what I like to think most days.”
“I took a German culture class at UNC,” Hildebrant said “and I remember my professor saying one of the biggest differences over there is when you ask, they will tell you exactly how they are feeling. But over here, no one ever says how they are feeling, even during the pandemic, when you could tell everyone was struggling.”
Hildebrant believes the EP would reflect a more confident band even without the extra time they got to spend on it. Their first EP, Color, released in 2019, included “Feel A Little Closer,” a more than modest breakthrough for the band. But the experience of recording this album was much different.
“That was the first time we experienced being in that level of a professional environment,” Hildebrant said of recording Color, “and we felt a bit over our heads. We weren’t as prepared as we thought. We spent three days being nitpicked and torn apart. This time we had a better idea of what to expect, and the producers knew us better as well.”
But of course, the last two and a half years have taught musicians to expect the unexpected. Hildebrandt says the band held off on releasing the tracks for a while because the industry changed so much during the pandemic.
“The music industry flipped over 900 times,” he said. Which has led to some uncertainty regarding specifics of the release. They aren’t sure if they will have physical copies of the record, for example, but they know one thing for sure: They will play January 26 in Colorado Springs, January 27 at the Black Buzzard in Denver and Saturday, January 28 at the Moxi in Greeley and will release the full EP on all streaming services during that three-day weekend of shows.
Though the pandemic and their process during it left many things in a gray area, Hildebrandt also believes that time benefited the band as well. And you can hear those benefits in songs like “Simple Alone,” the single they released in December.
“The parts are fairly complex,” Hildebrant said of the musical arrangements, “especially in how they work together. This gave us time to really figure it out.”
Silver & Gold still haven’t played much outside of Colorado and hope to get out to the West Coast soon and the East Coast as well, for what would be the first time. The band had some opportunity this summer to play some East Coast dates but gas prices shut them down.
But again, they’ve learned to roll with the punches and find a way to keep on keeping on. They’re excited to play live this month, and to keep the momentum going to make the tour happen when the pieces come together. After all, keeping the pieces together is one thing they’ve excelled in since those days back in Frasier Hall, and their energy is as fresh today as it was back then.
“The songs feel really fun and lively,” Hildebrant said. “They feel really good to play. We can’t wait to have people come out to hear them.”
BandWagon Presents Silver & Gold Thurs. January 26 in Colorado Springs, Fri. January 27 at the Black Buzzard in Denver and Sat. January 28 at the Moxi in Greeley. Tickets at BandWagonPresents.com – follow Silver & Gold at instagram.com/silverandgoldco