The last time VICE saw Gold Chains was in March. The hairy San Franciscan sex dwarf was scampering around a thickly carpeted VIP lounge with a cordless mic in his hand, gnawing at the tattooed ankles of celebs like Kate Moss and troubled British soap starlet Martine McCutcheon. We were at a party in a ritzy central London club thrown by UK style mag
Dazed & Confused
. Along with bimbo rapper Misty Martinez, Chains was being paid to entertain a roomful of disinterested media slags with his lusty low-end electro-hip-hop cabaret. He was really just there to entertain himself.
Though the hype wasn’t quite up there with the hysterical ascendance of Andrew WK, Gold Chains’ self-titled debut (on co-producer Kit Clayton’s Orthlorng Musork label) has the British press drooling in their pints. This gravel-voiced Romeo’s striking music — a killer combination of scrambled Autechre-y rave, thumping glitch-hop, reprocessed ragga, and metal-dumb choruses — seems like the perfect marriage between asexual electronica and booty-rooted ghetto rap.
A computer genius who until recently created e-commerce packages for Walmart (he’s since left that job to concentrate on his music, having signed to PIAS in Europe), Gold Chains is really the first artist from the Bay Area’s incestuous Tigerbeat6 laptop scene (Kid 606, Twerk, Blechtum From Blechdom, Cex, etc) with genuine crossover potential.
“My songs are fucking pop songs,” booms the 29-year-old nicotine addict also known as Topher Lafata, “but at the same time it’s like super-weird, more like I’m just making music that I want to hear myself. Like I’m not really trying to say anything with it. I love music and my ear needs to be constantly entertained when I’m listening to something. I get bored really easily.”
The lyrics are equally over the top: “You’re like a flower in the moonlight, waiting for the dew to moisten its roots so it can bear fruit / You’re like a candle burning next to a champagne glass, but you thought that all I wanted was your tits and your ass” comes from “Fuk Don’t Fuk,” a track so inspiring Adult. made a version of it for their excellent new synth-rock compilation, Misery Loves Company, on their Ersatz Audio label.
Don’t expect any albums soon from Gold Chains, though. “Fifteen minutes is plenty. I get sick of listening to a 50-minute record,” he sighs. “I don’t think even I could handle listening to my shit for that long.”
The Gold Chains EP
Misery Loves Company LP
(Ersatz Audio) are out now.