Milwaukee’s GGOOLLDD has trickled out catchy synth-pop EPs and singles over the course of its existence, despite its start as a “one-off” set at a Halloween house party. A few short years later, the band sold out a headlining show at Turner Hall Ballroom and performed high profile sets at music festivals across the country.
Today, the band announced the release of a 12” clear vinyl version of the previously digital and cassette only “For the Night” EP. GGOOLLDD will be performing Record Store Day (April 16) at 5pm at the Exclusive Company Farwell location with Gloss Records labelmates NO/NO.
The fast rise and popularity of the band has sparked energy in the Milwaukee music scene – both from a diverse group of supporters and a handful of haters. 88Nine spoke with GGOOLLDD’s front woman, Margaret Butler, about her clothing style, the haters, and the way fans connect with the group.
Back in January, you sold out your first headlining show at Turner Hall Ballroom. How did that feel?
It was the best night we’ve had as a band. We’ve played to more people, but we’ve never put on quite a party. We’ve never anticipated a show so much. It was great.
Who do you think the average GGOOLLDD fan is?
Oh god, I don’t know. I don’t even know what to tell you — even 60 people back from the front row, who I could see, were very mismatched. Which is great! And awesome!
When you’re playing at bars, you’re only limiting it to our age group. Because A., we can get in the door and B., older people aren’t really going to go out to a loud, tiny music venue to see a show. Turner Hall is just a good venue for everyone to go to. Having the show be all ages was also a huge deal.
I know you are relatively new to Milwaukee, but what do you think about the Milwaukee music scene?
I don’t feel like I am that involved. I don’t know other Milwaukee artists. I rarely get to play with other Milwaukee artists. There are not a lot of local artists that I get to play with — they are all either touring acts or we’re on tour. I don’t really know.
I’ve noticed you are a target for negative posts on social media, mainly from other local bands.
I have to explain things to musicians that have messaged me [on social media]. They ask, “How did you get this gig?” People always say they are jealous of whoever books our shows, but we get asked to play shows. We get asked to play festivals.
Bands will ask, “who do you know to get your music on the radio?” We didn’t ask to be on the radio. You don’t always know that kind of stuff – it just happens and then you’re really thankful for it. We’re all just working our asses off.
If you aren’t thinking of your fans at every given moment, then why should they care about you?
We only have nine songs. It’s not that we’ve only written nine songs. We’ve written a ton of songs, but unless that song is as good as the very first song we wrote on GarageBand, then we’re not going to play that out. Everything has to be as good or better as the very first thing you release. I feel like a lot of bands don’t do that.
I know the more people there are that like you, the more people that will hate you.
A lot of people act like it isn’t fair that another band gets attention. It’s just music other people like. And if people like it, then they’re “selling out.”
If you want to be the center of attention, then make yourself the f***ing center of attention.
Seriously though, I know a lot of people think that it’s lame that I get dressed up and that I make all these costumes. But it takes a lot of money and it takes a lot of time. Do you know how much I spent on balloons for shows? Other bands aren’t doing that.
If you aren’t thinking of your fans at every given moment, then why should they care about you? Why should anyone care about you, if you don’t care about them?
I’m not dressing up to be someone else. I’m dressing up to be myself – in my own skin – my own gold, latex skin.
How much of this band did you have in your head as far as look and sound from day one?
I started the band out of necessity to have fun, and to wear all these ridiculous outfits. When I first moved here, I’d go home crying because everyone hated me, everyone said the meanest things out loud – loud enough to make sure I heard them talk about what I was wearing.
I remember coming home one day and my boyfriend Nick [Ziemann, GGOOLLDD bassist] said, “babe, do you not dress up anymore because none of the other girls are doing it or are you just not dressing up anymore because you don’t want to?”
I was tired of being the only one. Nick said,” I love you for you.” And I said, “you’re right.” And I just kept getting weirder and weirder.
I’m okay with being totally f***ing weird because that’s who I am. I’m not dressing up to be someone else. I’m dressing up to be myself, in my own skin – my own gold, latex skin.
Is it hard to put yourself out there?
It breaks you down; it breaks you down a lot. Thinking about it, that’s probably the reason why our fans are so diverse. GGOOLLDD is the only band in the city that says, “I don’t care who you think I am. I’m doing this because it is who I am, it’s fun and I love it.”
A lot of our fans are kind of weird and we have a big LGBT following. I feel like it’s a lot of people who just want to be themselves. I’m a very big cheerleader of that – being exactly the f**k you want to be.
I feel like your lyrics reflect that as well.
Exactly. It’s definitely ingrained in there.
Listen to the EP “For the Night” below, and pick up a physical copy (clear vinyl or cassette) on Record Store Day from Rush-Mor Records, Bullseye Records, and Exclusive Company on Farwell Avenue.
You can also catch GGOOLLDD at Gloss Weekend May 27-29. Tickets and more info HERE.