Interview with all in the golden afternoon
Based out of Texas, all in the golden afternoon is a project of Rachel Goldstar & her husband Carlos. Their debut self-titled EP is out 12 FEB 2008 on mind expansion records.
QRD – How do you turn music mode on & off in your relationship with each other? Or do you find yourself pretty constantly collaborating on music even if it’s songs about cooking?
Rachel – I don’t know that we ever turn it on or off, really. It’s very much a part of our lives. The largest room in our home is dedicated to equipment & recording gear. I sometimes need his encouragement to leave the world behind & go into our music room. Once I get in there & get started, I forget that the living room is in a mess & the trash needs to be taken out. We actually do sing about cooking while we are in the kitchen, especially after a few glasses of wine. Sometimes I think we’ll make silly, colorful kids songs about vegetables when we’re old.
Carlos – I’ve come to find that it’s not necessary to turn “music mode” off at any time. When it’s a large part of your soul it’s always there. Besides, sometimes spin cycle is the best inspiration!
QRD – How has your music changed by having someone you’re romantically involved with working with you?
Carlos – It’s much easier to communicate with someone you share your entire life with. Music & the creative process in general are prone to endless amounts of variables & obstacles. If you can undertake an artistic endeavor with someone you love, the depth at which you know them can facilitate understanding through the sometimes tedious details involved. At the same time, when we first started collaborating, my creative ego took some severe blows due to her higher standard of performance. Over time I’ve established this had more to do with personal preference concerning sonic aesthetic, i.e. atonality & imperfect rhythm (a more homemade DIY approach) versus flawlessly executed & in key performances.
Rachel – Carlos is very supportive & if anything has changed, it’s that I feel more free & confident to try new things or follow my instincts. I think the music we make together sounds different than the music I make on my own. I think our music is emotional in a completely different way. As for the ego blows in the beginning, I do have high expectations & don’t like the idea of letting a song go on its way if it could be better. I have become more relaxed about that & hopefully we’ve found some common ground.
QRD – How do you keep things professional rather than getting personal in the band? Like not letting being upset that someone’s not doing their house chores spill into band practice?
Carlos – This is impossible to avoid. Just another reminder of the existential absurdity we encounter everyday. No matter how ideal the life you choose is, there are always hardships.
Rachel – We communicate. I demand it. If one of us is not in a good mood, we either don’t work on music or we discuss what is going on so we can get to a good place. We are a two-person band, so this works out nicely.
QRD – Do you think working musically together increases the strength of your relationship?
Rachel – Absolutely.
Carlos – Yes.
QRD – Do you think the music ever suffers because of your relationship?
Rachel – I’m sure we could focus more on our music & be more prolific, but life sometimes gets in the way, not our relationship.
QRD – Being in a romantic couple, do you try to curb lyrical content to or away from things in your relationship?
Rachel – Not really. Sometimes I write about our experiences, but I think my lyrics are pretty cryptic; so they can apply to anyone, or make no sense at all.
Carlos – Again this has to do with personal preference. It is entirely possible to compose lyrics that relate to a specific personal subject, but convey ambiguity to the listener.
QRD – A lot of families kind of look down on musicians as immature, do you find that going out with another musician has eased relationships with your parents or in-laws?
Rachel – Not at first. My parents had politely asked me not to date any more musicians before I started seeing Carlos, who didn’t have a car at the time. Which was something they had especially asked me to steer clear of, car-less musicians. Now that we have been together for 5 years & we’re married, they love Carlos & treat him like one of their own. I think it makes sense to them. They are excited about our music & are very supportive.
Carlos – Thankfully, both sets of parents involved are supportive & glad to see we are living the lives we chose.
QRD – Which came first the musical collaboration or the relationship & do you feel that at this point that you could have one without the other?
Carlos & Rachel – The relationship. At this point neither will be ending until one of us leaves this planet.
QRD – How do things work with band members besides the two of you to get the same level of connectivity while playing your music?
Carlos & Rachel – We’re the only two people in the band, so it’s easy to connect!
QRD – Do you find music related gifts to be romantic or more like giving someone an appliance?
Carlos – My wedding gift to Rachel was an Italia Sitar-Guitar!
Rachel – I hinted & begged for a certain sitar-guitar as a wedding gift & I got it. Music related gifts with a side of flowers, please.
QRD – The musician life style has an inherent lack of financial security & healthcare. Do you find yourself thinking, “How can we start a family & continue our musical careers?”
Rachel – Absolutely.
Carlos – Why does everyone think musicians who have day jobs aren’t musicians? The standard of living & social structure society has created in this country make it impossible to live “comfortably” without a job, even if successful as a musician. Being gainfully employed is not negotiable when starting a family. If music is in your soul, you will find time to create it.
QRD – Do you ever switch off instruments to give each other ideas?
Carlos – Yes, all of the time.
Rachel – Yes, we love to. We both play a variety of instruments. I love teaching myself how to play new instruments or making up my own way of playing them. I think I’m addicted.
QRD – A lot of people say they feel most spiritually connected to another person is when they’re on stage & the set is working. Is this what you find & how does this energy flow into your romantic relationship?
Carlos – I wouldn’t say I feel “most” spiritually connected to her when playing music, but there is a connection there that is impossible to attain with even close friends. Even though much of the essence of our love resides in music, somehow the music that we create is merely an afterthought of the love we share.
Rachel – I feel spiritually connected to Carlos on stage; but I get so nervous, that it’s afterwards when we process the set or experience that I feel very connected. It’s wonderful to set up the merch booth with my husband, have an after-show drink with my husband & go home with my bandmate, who is also my husband. I love it!
QRD – Some couples start to get seen as a unit with one member as dominant. Do you ever want to get one of you more recognition?
Rachel – I don’t ever think about it.
Carlos – An audience’s perception of art is almost entirely out of the artists’ control. However, it is important to recognize when one person begins to receive more praise & to not let petty emotions such as jealousy or feeling unappreciated undermine or diffuse recognition.
QRD – Do you feel a need to have separate projects where you just work on your own?
Rachel – Yes, & I do. But nothing quite compares to being creative with the man I love.
Carlos – So far, we have enjoyed working together immensely. I do want to get back to singing at some point, but it just doesn’t fit right now & I guess sleep is more important.
QRD – Musicians often run into fans with crushes, is there a secret to recognizing when something is getting inappropriate instead of being band promoting?
Rachel – Stay close to your mate. I’ve had guys talking a bit too close or getting a little too touchy after gigs. They are usually just drunk & excited about the music, but it’s nice that Carlos is close & he keeps an eye on the situation. I do the same. We’re both very intuitive.
Carlos – Kissing on stage helps.
Rachel – Oh yeah! We do that too. A peck here & there in between songs hopefully let’s people know where our hearts reside.
QRD – Any advice for other musician couples?
Carlos – Be strong, don’t take criticism personally, be yourself, don’t let life get in the way of your art, be prolific, don’t let others be a negative influence, live with love in your heart.
Rachel – Communicate your ideas & needs, both in the musical partnership & in the relationship. No one can read your mind.