In 2013 I published a Feature titled Striking Gold with Will Bowes. Will is an actor I became acquainted with following his appearance in a TV series I was interested in. When he agreed to do the original Feature, I found that there was much more to this guy than being an actor. Multi-talented, Will is involved in many aspects connected to television and film besides acting, and he is also a gifted musician who currently is the front man for a band titled Gold Complex. Funny how the previous Feature’s title seems to have been a prediction of GOLD things to come for Will… FATE, as he put it.
Gold Complex‘s music is the type that has a full, earthy, guttural sound with just the right amount of ethereal falsetto and shameless brass riffs to keep it catchy. I found I enjoyed the music so much I wanted to make it the focus of Will’s update. So meet the band, take a listen to the tunes and enjoy the auditory pleasures of Gold Complex. Of course, I couldn’t finish off the Feature without filling you in on everything else Will has been up to as he’s such a busy guy, so be sure to check out the whole Q&A and discover his current projects as well!
Now, before we get too far along, head over to see the original Feature to gain some background on Will if you haven’t already! If you’re all caught up, click the SoundCloud player below and then proceed ahead to find out more about Will and the band!
Hey Will! Thanks so much for chatting with us again. To start us off, would you please introduce us to the members of Gold Complex!
Thank you, Jayne! Alright. Well we’re an 8 piece soul/pop band. I sing lead vocals, we’ve got Andrew Dawson on Guitar, Blake Day on Keys, Graeme Wallace on the Sax, Henry Weinberg on Drums, Dan Minchom on Bass, Nebyu Yohannes on Trombone, and Max Forster on Trumpet. Andrew also produces a lot of our music as well.
So when and how did the band form? Maybe a brief history as well as how the name Gold Complex came to be.
It’s a cool story. First, I must mention that our guitarist’s girlfriend, Alli Boddy, is an incredible artist. She painted our EP album cover, available now on iTunes, and she has painted several posters for various shows we’ve played. She’s so talented. But two years ago she was holding a showcase of her art work at Project Gallery in Toronto. She asked Andrew to throw together some musicians to play at the exhibit, so that people could admire the art while listening to a live band. Essentially, the people that he threw together became Gold Complex. We loved playing together that night and decided to start writing and practicing on a regular basis. After adding a couple more players, we curated the sound that now defines us. As for the name, band names are so funny when you start to break them down. I know we all really liked the idea of a color, as colors can so greatly depict mood, style, and tone. Gold works because it speaks to the use of brass and the Motown influences in our band. Also, its bold, wealthy sounding and sexy. If we collectively make this Gold happen, we are a Gold Complex.
If you had to describe your sound, what would you say? Has the band’s sound evolved since you first began?
The sound is what we like to call soul/pop. It has elements of funk, r&b and hip hop in it as well. It’s a modern appropriation of old school, funky, soulful sounds we love. Artists we grew up listening to like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake play major influences. I think that to an extent, the sound is still evolving and we’re still experimenting, you’ll hear a cool range on the new record when it’s out.
As far as the songwriting process with Gold Complex… how collaborative is it, who writes music/lyrics? Are you very different in style?
It depends. Sometimes its very collaborative, and we will write songs together. And sometimes, an individual will bring a song to the table and we will all help flesh it out. Either way, it’s a really positive experience and everyone is super talented. I can honestly say I’ve never heard a song pitched that I haven’t liked or seen potential in, thank god. I’ve heard of bands who have a really bad songwriter in their group who is always trying to contribute, and how difficult it is to try and manage that person. That sounds like a nightmare eh?
In our previous Feature we were discussing film and I asked your thoughts on crowd funding. You stated that you hadn’t used it but that you really hoped to. You also commented that crowd funding helps create more original stories and lets independent artists establish their own creative control, which is a wonderful and unfortunately rare occurrence. Since that time, Gold Complex has completed a very successful funding on Indigogo, raising financing toward the costs of your first full length album. Can you share a bit about the process as well as your thoughts now that you’ve experienced crowd funding?
Did I say that? Haha! That’s awesome, I had completely forgotten we talked about crowd funding. Well I still stand by what I said then. It was an incredible experience and I’m so glad we did it. We used Indiegogo and managed to raise $15,000 of our $12,000 goal. All of which will go directly towards recording and releasing the album. I think the moral of that story is that if you are truly passionate about something, and believe in it whole-heartedly, then people are always ready to lend a hand when you reach out to them. And by lend a hand I mean donate a whole pile of money.
Here’s a look at the video plea for the concluded Indigogo campaign to give the readers a better feel for the band…
Gold Complex‘s debut EP is currently available on iTunes… how has the journey changed between the EP recordings and what you are currently working on in the studio? Anything significant you learned along the way?
The journey has changed instrumentally, I mean we really know who we are as a collective now. We have two years of experience behind us and a confidence that we didn’t have when we first started out. I think this album is going to be a real milestone for us. I know it is.
Does the band as a whole or as individuals have any pre-show rituals? Are nerves ever an issue?
Hmm… I’d love to say that we all have a ritual, or that we’re all super religious and have a crazy prayer circle or something. But honestly no, we just give each other a look that says lets kill it tonight and just have fun on stage. I can’t speak for the other band mates, but nerves were a big issue for me when we first started. I used to feel terrified before playing on stage. But now it’s like second nature, muscle memory. Any nerves I felt or feel completely dissolve once we start playing.
You’ve had opportunity to play some great shows… any favorites that made an impression by the venue surroundings or the crowd energy?
I always feel like its the crowd that makes the show. It doesn’t matter where you’re playing, or what time, if the crowd is into it then it’s a great show. We had the pleasure of selling out both of our Canadian Music Week showcases last year and this year, those were both really fun.
Gold Complex seems to be making a name for itself, placing 2nd at Indie Week Canada 2015 as well as recently performing during Canadian Music Week. Do you think being in a larger, music centric city is a benefit, or does it at times seem deluged with bands all vying for set time at the local as well as more known establishments?
That’s a great question. I think you might hear a range of opinions on that one and I don’t know if there’s a correct answer. Certainly, I think if you have a great product, people are going to want to continue to hear that product so you’ll continue to gain traction. Toronto has been very good to us. But I know we want to expand our market around Canada and outside, internationally as well.
What is your favorite thing about being involved in the whole music experience? What gives you the most satisfaction and what is most frustrating?
My favourite thing about being involved in the whole music experience is knowing that its me and my friends in the band that have allowed us to experience any semblance of success we have – that we made this happen for ourselves. I grew up in an industry that hinges on someone else giving you the opportunity. You know, in acting for example you have to be judged, analyzed and approved by a panel of people in order to even be short listed for a role. That’s not a criticism that’s just the reality. I’m just saying that it’s so gratifying to know that we wrote these songs ourselves, we booked this show ourselves, and we sound this tight because we practiced every week. We don’t have a manager or anyone helping us at the moment. That being said, it’s tough. I hope I’m not making it sound like it’s easy because it’s not. It’s hard work and thankless some of the time. Imagine it’s two in the morning, you’ve been singing for hours in an empty bar where no one really cares, you’re hours away from home and you know you have to be up for work in the morning. Those are the times that it can feel soul sucking. But then maybe the next night you connect with a great audience and have the time of your life. It’s a lot of work but like anything in the arts, you do it because you love it.
Let’s step away from the band for a moment and touch on your other work. Do you intend to stay active in the TV/film industry? And if so, how do you balance your music with your other work projects, as you are a bit prolific with credits as an Actor, Director, Producer, Writer and Editor?
Aw, Jayne I’m going to be so arrogant after this interview now, haha! Thank you. It’s a difficult balance at times but I love being involved in so many things and I’ve had some really sweet creative experiences along the way. Directing is my ultimate passion, so I definitely want to continue in that field for sure. I’m so excited to make music video’s with the band, because I will be able to use all of those skill sets together.
You are also listed with a credit for Digital Producer which I’m not as familiar with… can you share a little more about what this job entails?
Sure. For four years, I worked as Digital Producer on the television series Degrassi, its a teen drama series that has been alive in Canada for nearly 40 years if you can believe it. My role was to direct and edit digital content such as web series, interviews and behind the scenes pieces. It was a really great job and I learned a lot. I stepped away from it earlier this year so that I could pursue the other things that I love doing, full time.
You are credited with appearances in the new season of Dark Matter on Syfy as well as a series titled Taxi 22. Anything you can tell us about these series? Any other upcoming projects in the works that you might be able to share?
Yeah. I have a recurring role as an Authoritative Agent on board a space ship in the new season of Dark Matter. That premieres on Syfy on July 1st. I actually got to reunite with my former Copper cast mate, Franka Potente on that which was fun. Taxi 22 was a CBS pilot that I did with John Leguizamo last year. Unfortunately, it didn’t get picked up to series but he was so much fun to work with and he’s now on one of my favourite Netflix series, Bloodline. I am currently shooting a mystery-musical in Montreal called Pulse. No idea on the release date of that, or if that will be the official title but I’ll let you know! And I’m working behind the scenes on Alias Grace, a new mini-series adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel that’s shooting here in Toronto this summer!
Where would you like to see yourself as well as Gold Complex in the next five years?
I definitely want to go on tour with Gold Complex. Just continue to build the audience and play more shows for more people who haven’t heard us! And a friend and I are developing a feature film written by a talented friend of mine named Daccia Bloomfield, which would be a directorial project for me that I’m really excited about. We must catch up in a year!
I will totally plan on catching up with you then… so many things to chat about! So, are there any upcoming plans for gigs or tours we can look forward to, and will you be promoting the album with dates once it’s released? Any thoughts on locations outside of Toronto? We’d love to see you in the States!
If you’re in Toronto, you can catch Gold Complex live at The Drake Underground on Thursday, June 16th as well as Lee’s Palace on Friday, August 19th. We’re also planning to do a frosh week tour this September around Ontario. And we’d love to come to the States for sure! Any suggestions haha?
Cat person or a dog person? I hate all animals. I’m kidding, uhhhh dogs.
Favorite pizza topping? Pepperoni.
If you were a t-shirt, what color would you be and why? A gold one and I’d wear it on stage to promote the band.
What was your first car? I haven’t bought a car yet, maybe I’ll crowd fund my first car…
If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be? Dr. Seuss.
Will can be found on Twitter