THE MAN WITH THE MIDAS TOUCH
ALL YOUR FAVOURITE MODERN RECORDS BEAR THE HALLMARK OF ONE MAN. BEHIND THE DESK, JOHN FELDMANN HAS BECOME THE MOST IN-DEMAND PRODUCER IN ROCK. SO WHY HAS he DECIDED TO REIGNITE HIS OLD BAND GOLDFINGER RIGHT NOW?
What do blink-182,alltime Low and 5SOS have in common? How about Sleeping With Sirens, Black Veil Brides and Biffy Clyro?
The single thread tying all these bands (and many, many more) together is a man called John Feldmann. Even if you don’t recognise him, you’ll have heard and felt his influence.as a producer he’s twiddled the knobs of dozens of your favourite bands, and as a songwriter he’s helped them to hone their own writing skills. In 2017 he’s one of the most in-demand producers in the rock world, but he’s also a musician in his own right, having fronted the punk band Goldfinger since 1994.They never really faded away or went on a complete hiatus.they’ve become a Slam Dunk staple for one thing, skanking the UK fest into submission three times since the turn of the decade. Brand-new album The Knife is, however, Goldfinger’s first full-length release since Hello Destiny… in 2008.
“Why have we come back now?” John ponders. “First of all I had a break in the schedule. I also had a small arsenal of songs that I’d written for other bands but that didn’t fit, that I knew could be turned into great Goldfinger songs. But mostly I’ve been watching bands that I’ve worked, like 5 Seconds Of Summer and blink and All Time Low, play shows in front of insane, chaotic, screaming fans. I’ve caught the bug again.”
John might have caught the bug, but any longterm fans will be quick to note that the current incarnation of Goldfinger is a very different beast to the one that recorded Hello Destiny…. Gone are the original and long-term members to be replaced by what is essentially a pop-punk supergroup.as well as John himself on vocals and guitar the reboot features Story Oftheyear guitarist Philip Sneed, Mxpx frontman Mike Herrera on bass and a drummer you might have heard of by the name of Travis Barker (with New Found Glory’s Cyrus Bolooki drumming live).
It’s a stellar line-up alright, but is Goldfinger even a band anymore, or is it essentially a John Feldmann solo project?
“I hope it’s a band because I fucking love these guys.we played so many shows with Mxpx back in the mid-’90s. I signed Story Of The Year [as an A&R rep for Madonna’s Maverick Records] and Travis, in my opinion, is the best drummer that’s ever lived.”
As well as the core members of the new-look Goldfinger, the new album bristles with star guests.there’s Travis’ blink partner Mark Hoppus, Josh Dun from twenty one pilots,taka from ONE OK ROCK, Nate Albert from ska-punk godfathers The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and 311 frontman Nick Hexum.at times it might seem like this project is one continuous string of name-drops, but when your name is John Feldmann, your address book contains more rockstars than a summer full of festival backstage bars.
So how, we wonder, does the process work? Does he identify a song that would suit one of these people perfectly or is it a case of thumbing through his bulging black book and just seeing who’s available on any given day?
“I knew See You Around would be great for Mark Hoppus because it’s in his register and it’s a nostalgic song about growing up on that post-punk, Replacements-era music. He and I have similar tastes in music, so I asked him to write a second verse for it,” John says.“don’t Let Me Go needed a vocal, and I’m not a singer like
Taka. His mom’s, like, the Celine Dion of Japan and his dad was the Frank Sinatra.with Josh, I’d known him before twenty one pilots got signed. I was desperate to sign them, actually, but it didn’t work out. Like every other kid his age, he started in a pop-punk band, and Orthodontist Girl was the most pop-punk song on the album. I asked him to play on it, and he was stoked to do it.”
The array of talent that John has roped into his new vision for Goldfinger might be enough to place The Knife on the radar of the modern rock fan, but when it comes to staying relevant, he prefers to work on gut instinct.
“Whatever’s in your guts is usually the right thing to do,” he nods.“there are people who study the art of songwriting, but if you over-think it you can lose the magic of it. Everyone has problems and for me music was always an escape. I hated school – I was bullied, it was torture for me, but when I put music on none of that stuff existed.
“With Goldfinger, we sold enough but we never became one of those really big pop-punk bands like Green Day or blink,” he continues.“we had an energy that was infectious, though, and that’s what I still want to do.when I go to shows I want to feel transported outside my reality.”
So are you still as excited as ever to be putting out a new Goldfinger album?
“It’s different.when I started I was working in a shoe shop, slipping demos into the shoe boxes to try to get it out there,” he laughs.“my band was everything to me then. Now I make my living as a producer, but Goldfinger is still hugely important. I get that rush of endorphins when I play and I want people to like the record. But the most important thing is that it gets me stoked. If I can make myself cry I can make the world cry, because that’s the way songs work.” And if anyone knows about that, it’s Feldy, the man with rock’s golden touch. GOLDFINGER’S ALBUM THE KNIFE IS OUT NOW VIA RISE RECORDS
“if a song makes me cry, it can make the world cry…” JOHN FELDMANN