Gold Steps is making their long awaited comeback into the scene with their official video and new song “Stay the Same.” This is their first video and music release since 2019’s singles “Empty Space” and “Under Attack“.
A testament to show that times have changed, “Stay the Same” breaks their hiatus with an empowering message of self empowerment against harmful, unchanging relationships juxtaposed with a visually loud and carefree video. Unlike their past work, “Stay the Same” moves away from a narrative and instead shows the band in their natural habitat: making kick-ass music and having a blast doing it. Whether it’s messing around on too-small tractors, smashing guitar solo’s thirteen feet in the air, or just having a good slide down a ramp with your bandmates, Gold Steps and featured singer and producer Nick Thompson have proved that anything is their element where their music is involved.
You can watch and hear their new release “Stay the Same” below. Liz and Zach from Gold Steps spoke with All The Alt Things ahead of release to talk about all things including comebacks, new music, the pandemic, and twerking. Read on for the full experience.
The video takes place in the Four Seasons Skate Park in Milwaukee. It looked like a blast to make, and I think its a right of passage in the genre to create a video that juxtaposes against the lyrical subject, such as the toxic and grating relationship described in “Stay the Same”. Why did you decide to go this route on this song?
Liz: So that is a hundred percent because of the juxtaposition. I’m a very literal person. I take things at face value, but then I also read way too much into them. So a lot of our other videos, they follow this narrative that I crafted in my head after recording the song. And I wanted to share this literal shot by shot story in that time. Since we’re kind of coming back from taking a break we were like, “You know what? This is the perfect moment to set the tone for what people can expect from us going forward.” And we’re more relaxed as a band now. So we wanted to just literally get a bunch of cool people together. People that we’re friends with, people that we could have a great time with and just kind of see what happens.
Nick Thompson from Thief’s Club has been your video producer on multiple occasions. What was it like having him on the other side of the production as a fellow singer? What was his influence on the track?
Liz: Oh yeah, we co‑wrote that with him. So we actually wrote that song back in 2019, we were just about to head out on tour with Calling All Captains and Settle Your Scores. That was one that Nick and I had a ton of fun writing. I just kind of wanted to be a little bit of a petty bitch. That song is for me. I kept hearing the same stuff from certain people. [I was] like, “You’re just going to come back to me in two days and complain about the same stuff.”
I’ve totally been that person. I’ve been stuck in those ruts before, too, but this was just like, “You know what? Let’s just write that sassy song.” And then Nick had some really creative ideas, and he actually was the one who had the idea to do some guest vocals on it and contribute to it. And so he actually recorded his part in 2021. So last year was the first time he actually sang on it.
“Stay the Same” has a strong message about choosing yourself over toxic relationships. It’s a relatable topic that presents itself in some of your previous songs “Firestarter” and “Under Attack”. Was it always your intention to write songs with these empowering messages or did they come about organically?
Liz: I think that’s honestly a big reflection of where I’m starting to go as a person. I wish I could pick me first sometimes more than I do. But that was kind of a shift in how I started to feel about things. When you’re a little bit younger, everything feels so intense. Everything feels like so much drama, and then at some point you kind of realize, “Wait a minute. This isn’t my drama and I’m not really helping anything. I’m just kind of existing next to your drama. And I’ve got enough going on with my shit.”
So, I wanted to start pushing that narrative of, “Hey, it’s actually okay to not involve yourself in other people’s problems.” There’s a good way to self‑preservation and a bad way to self preservation. “Under Attack” was about one specific person. “Stay The Same” was about a few different people. We realized there was this cycle in our lives where we kept encountering these kinds of people. I mean, I definitely have been at that point too. I think the song has as much to do with myself as those other people as well.
Gold Steps hasn’t put out a video since 2019. What was it like getting back on set?
Zach: This was actually very unorganized up until the point that we started filming. The way the video came out was actually pretty awesome.
Liz: Do you want to tell them the story about how the video almost never happened?
Zach: Um, that was a pretty big nightmare. So we flew our previous producer, Brandon, up from Austin, Texas to film this video. We’re new to the area, so finding videographers has been pretty tough, especially during COVID. And we haven’t played a lot of shows here in Milwaukee, so we haven’t really gotten to know the scene too much. He brought all his equipment, including an incredible 4k camera – I believe it had a really impressive lens – and he brought a charging brick for his camera. The brick ended up going out as he was testing it, three or four hours before the video shoot. It was very specific to his camera, so we could not find anything. We actually ended up going to Best Buy and buying [a new] camera.
Liz: Yeah, it was some camera that he felt could do the job. And they were like, “Just so you know, there’s a 50% restocking.” Yeah, totally. Totally. We’re not going to return this tomorrow, which we did. Brandon got all his money back.
Zach: We called every single camera store. We tried to look for this battery pack and couldn’t find it, so we ended up going that route. Everyone was freaking out. It was awesome.
Liz: Brandon and I got there and just plugged it in and we were like, “Let’s see how much film we can get out of this…” It all ended up working out for the best. I think it was definitely one of those things that fell into place. It probably wouldn’t be as cool as it is if it hadn’t happened that way.
So you mentioned that you had the film kind of planned out. Was there anything that you didn’t get put into the final film that you wish you had, or something unplanned that you’re happy you got?
Liz: The twerking! So CIB Milwaukee is Community and Bowls, Milwaukee – formerly Chicks and Bowls Milwaukee. I work at a brewery with a couple of the girls on the squad. So I was like, “Oh my God, that would be so sick to feature them.” They agreed to come out and there’s one roller skater who got on her hands, in a handstand, and twerked. We didn’t get enough. I wish that we had an entire segment of the song that was just her. It was fabulous. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever witnessed.
Zach: There was also one scene where I got up on this huge skate wall. It was probably about twelve feet. Maybe it was taller. I wanted to go up there and play the guitar solo during the bridge. So I did it and it was very creepy. Nick was literally behind me and holding my pants from the loops just to make sure I didn’t fall off. But we got the shot and it’s in the video. You can see me up on the wall. That was really cool and unexpected. I was just thinking, “Hey, I should go up there and do it,” ’cause I wanted to do something wild for the video.
Yeah, I loved the shots of you guys riding around on that small tractor.
Liz: We actually picked it up from my uncle’s house over the summer. That tractor has been in my family for generations. My dad rode that little tractor around. I rode it around at my grandparent’s house a ton when I was a kid. So we were like, “Let’s just bring it and see what happens.” We have so many videos and clips of Nick, Zach and me just going for it.
It’s good to have you guys back in the scene creating new stuff. What’s next for Gold Steps? Do you foresee any new singles or albums coming out?
Zach: Yeah. This LP we’re doing now is our first LP. We’re actually planning to drop that in March and it has eight songs. It’s going to include “Under Attack” and “Empty Space” because they’re not included anywhere. They were just dropped as singles, so we’re going to have those remastered as well.
Liz: We already recorded half those songs back in 2019 with Nick and Rick King of King’s Sound. We had little demos to send out to labels and some of them never saw the light of day. So, we refinished and actually released one of those songs. We stuck it up on Facebook, but we’ve pulled it back down.
Zach: We added real drums to it. We put a different base on their new vocals and had it mastered. I mean, the song sounds incredible.
Liz: There’s a little acoustic song that I wrote for my dad that will be on there. And then we wrote three new songs. Rick and Nick came up here to Milwaukee back in March of 2021. We had a week of utter insanity. We wanted to try something a little bit different. So those songs are a little bit more pop. I don’t know that the three brand new ones are necessarily indicative of the entire direction we’re going, but I definitely think it represents some growth that we’ve had as a band and as musicians.
Zach: Yeah, definitely. If you’re listening to Incandescent, this is definitely a huge step forward as far as our sound goes. It’s more of like an alternative pop-rock type jam. At least those three songs… The other five are definitely still a little pop punk.
How do you think this time during the pandemic affected your sound?
Liz: We took a break for fifteen months. Zach and I moved across the country to Milwaukee and we took some time to reflect on ourselves, our marriage, and what we really wanted out of life. We didn’t know when we would pick things back up again. And then we met up with some friends in Austin in November 2020 and had an impromptu jam session. Some of our former members were there too. So then we realized like, “Wow, okay, we do actually miss this.”
When you’re doing something for so long and you’re in it constantly, you never really get the time to take a step back and say like, “Okay, what parts about this do I actually like? What story am I actually telling here? Who am I representing? Am I representing myself authentically?” You kind of lose who you are as a person because you’re so involved in this bigger thing. I think getting that chance to step back really allowed us to return when we were ready to fall in love with it again.
Zach: I feel like with COVID and not being able to tour, those fifteen months really humbled us as musicians and put a new light on everything we want to accomplish now.
Liz: We’re kind of starting over and that has been really humbling too. We’re realizing, “Wow, we used to have our tour system and our system for recording videos. How did we manage all of this before? How did we do all of this and not go insane?” We had – and still have – full time jobs. It was rough.
So now we’re doing the parts that we like the best. We’re not forcing ourselves into things we don’t want to do. That has allowed us to explore some different ideas in songwriting that we normally wouldn’t have because we wouldn’t want to deviate from the formula. I can be a really rigid person. [Zach] has helped me grow so much. I’m still a control freak on the inside, but I try to breathe and let other people call the shots sometimes. I’m like, “That’s cool. I’ll be over here. Let me know when you need me.”
An avid book reader, overthinker, houseplant caretaker, and MMO player, Kay loves listening to angry music with as much bass boost as she can manage to balance her otherwise quiet lifestyle. If she doesn’t write about the stuff she likes it will inevitably be spewed forth in nonsense order to whomever will listen. She lives with her partner, an angry cat, and a lazy dog, both of which are named after StarCraft characters.