The age of electronics is upon the music industry. With drum machines, synthesizers and grooveboxes, authentic instruments aren’t necessary anymore. However, for Mike Golden, all he needs is his friends.
Based out of Chicago, Golden writes his own music and incorporates his very own friends, plus some beer bottles and bucket-banging, to create his sound.
“I got this idea that I would start putting my beer bottles in the songs and stomping,” said Golden.
Golden said he wanted to do an acoustic project that had more than just an acoustic guitar and a guy singing. He figured “there’s so much of that.”
“I wanted to make the songs fuller with, say, my friends and have them do [stuff] like stomp and play on buckets,” Golden said.
“Anything that wasn’t a drum or a bass.”
And so Mike Golden & Friends came alive. Golden selects an assortment of different friends at each performance.
“I’m like an alligator. If I want you, I’ll come and get you,” he said.
Golden first picked up a guitar when he was 12. At Purdue University, he wrote and recorded some music but moved back to Chicago to make the project happen. Now 23, Golden’s dream is in full-swing.
Over the past year and a half, Golden and his friends have established their name performing on college campuses and at venues such as Subterranean at 2011 W. North Ave. and Shubas Tavern at 3159 N. Southport Ave. At the end of May, Mike Golden & Friends played Shubas to show their support for the fight against homelessness in under-developed countries at a benefit for Krochet Kids.
Krochet Kids is a non-profit organization on the West Coast with the goal to employ and educate women in Northern Uganda. According to krochetkids.org, the organization teaches women to crochet hats and accessories to sell for fair wages in the U.S. Expanding to Peru, all the proceeds from A Benefit for Krochet Kids will go directly to Krochet Kids’ expansion project.
“I love to make music. I also love helping others in need,” Golden said. “When both are being accomplished at the same time it becomes a very rewarding experience for all.”
“It means that we can help extreme global poverty. Let’s face it, we all have our everyday struggle . . . But being able to eat each day is a blessing, and we forget about that,” said Andy Reyes, 23, manager of Mike Golden & Friends.
“ I’m excited for the band and I to be apart of something that can make an impact on extreme global poverty.”
The benefit for Krochet Kids was the last Mike Golden & Friends acoustic show.
The band released two acoustic EPs in the summer and fall of 2010, Trees Pt. 1 and Trees Pt. 2, which can be downloaded from mikegoldenandfriends.com. They are in the process of releasing a full-length album that will change the face of Mike Golden & Friends.
“I’m kind of interested to see how the people who got into my acoustic stuff will take what I’m going to do next. This one might have some other instruments in it, and it’s going to be a little more crazy,” said Golden.
The full-length will include real drums, electric guitar and bass. Richard Shell, drummer for Mike Golden & Friends, said the album will be more laid-back.
“It’s going to be completely different,” said Golden. “It’s going be a lot bigger. This is obviously going to be [produced] with a little more money, a little more time and a lot more effort.”
Jerry Brindisi, faculty advisor for Music Business Management at Columbia College offers his advice to aspiring musicians.
“First and foremost, artists should follow their natural creative impulses and stay true to these when they write music. Write and learn and write some more,” said Brindisi who is a professor of Art & Business of Recording at Columbia.
Brindisi, a former employee of Sony Music Entertainment, said musicians should not be afraid to work outside their comfort zone.
“Network and build relationships. Be informed. Learn about the music business,” he said.
The band hopes to release their first full-length record this fall/winter. Even though it will be little different from the first two EPs, Golden has high hopes for the new album.
“I feel like I’ve got something to say, and I want to get it out,” he said.
“I want to play music.”