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- Posted on Feb 11th 2010 12:38PM by Steven Horowitz
The Los Angeles-based tropical-soul band Fool's Gold plays dance music with an international flavor. Weaving Hebrew lyrics with African rhythms and a whole slew of other ingredients from across the globe, Fool's Gold has received rave reviews for its high-energy performances. After releasing its first record on IamSound last fall, the band is gearing up to play SXSW for the second year in a row. Spinner recently asked Fool's Gold's co-founder and lead vocalist Luke Top about the group.
Describe your sound.
How did your band form?
I dared [lead guitarist] Lewis Pesacov to make a wish at our friend's wedding in Weed, Calif., a few summers ago. He wouldn't tell me what it was, but I have a feeling it had to do with finding a home for some hidden musical impulses. We took our bond over international pop music and built a surprise hotel where ideas would be nurtured, no matter how initially absurd.
What are your musical influences?
Eritrean pop: Elsa Kidane! Tesfay Mehari! Ethio soul: Mamoud Ahmed! Tropicalia: Caetano Veloso! Gal Costa! Palm-wine guitar music: SE Rogie! The Beach Boys. Tinariwen. Marvin Gaye. Ata Kak. The Smiths. Kanda Bongo Man. Adam and the Ants.
How did you come up with your band name?
It slipped out of a friend's mouth while driving around San Francisco. It seemed to fit and wasn't over-thought. Much like the way our music happens.
What's your biggest vice?
I can't reveal that in a public forum. The G-rated version is Italian food and hugs.
What's in your festival survival kit?
Disinfectant. Pretzels. Vitamins. Coupons. Sleeping pills. Magazines. iPhone.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
Being Jewish I find guilt in a lot of places. Music isn't one of them.
Beatles or Stones?
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
The line dance the Cupid Shuffle. Chicago, Ill.
Where did your name [Luke] come from?
I chose the name for myself when I was a kid. My given name is Nativ. I think it was a subconscious way of attempting to assimilate into the culture around me. I was born in Israel and we moved to the US [when I was] a small child. I would have never thought that many years later I'd be singing in Hebrew. In some way, through this band, I've found a way to reconnect and transpose a buried aspect of my identity. And when people sing along with us, it gives me a very overwhelming feeling of acceptance.
Have you been to SXSW before?
Yes, Fool's Gold performed at last year's fest. It was an incredible experience.
What are you looking forward to most at SXSW or Austin?
I really enjoyed the energy in the streets. The whole thing felt really positive and communal, which isn't necessarily the standard. It left me with an amazing impression of Austin and I'm really excited to come back.
Steven Horowitz is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.