Unveiling Red Gold: Fletcher Babb’s musical exploration of the Gold Coast waterways

Unveiling Red Gold: Fletcher Babb’s musical exploration of the Gold Coast waterways

Anticipation's in the air as Fletcher Babb (aka Cold Ghost) prepares to unveil his musical masterpiece, Red Gold, at HOTA on Sun 14 Apr. Crafted during his time in HOTA's ArtKeeper program in 2022-23, the album is a journey from mountain peaks to ocean depths, exploring the flow of the Nerang River and Gold Coast waterways.

Fletcher talked us through the process of creating an album, his excitement ahead of the launch, and his plans for Red Gold after its launch.

1. You’re launching your new album Red Gold with an accompanying live show this week. Can you tell us what people can expect at the event?

I am very excited to be finally presenting this album live at HOTA where I wrote and recorded these songs. We will be in the Panorama Room which overlooks Evandale Park and the Nerang River (Ngarnag-wal). So you can have a drink while the sun is setting and listen to us perform in view of the very places where I sat and wrote the songs. We are also projecting visual footage of the waterways of the GC and some of the more remote creeks and waterfalls of the hinterland as the band play. Luckily for me I have a great band to help me bring the album alive on stage. Jake Morton will be playing his sensory kit which enables him to play the sound design we designed for the songs and Dan Booth is playing his textual electric guitar. My children Banquo and Jonquil as well as my partner Bern are all going to join us on stage to help perform the album from start to finish. I also have the wonderful Lann Levinge giving a Welcome to Country before we play.

2. You developed and recorded Red Gold during your ArtKeeper artist residency at HOTA last year. What’s the process been between then and now?

By the time I finished at HOTA I had written and recorded all the music for the album, so my priority after ArtKeeper was to mix and master the album. I spent a good few months in post production, experimenting with sounds and developing my acute critical listening, something that can take a while to get back into after the creative songwriting process. I learnt a few new things in mastering the songs and thanks to Guy and Jake at Serotonin, I got to use their great studio to polish up the last of the sonic production. I have also released this album on vinyl, which is my first time pressing a record of my own music. I loved preparing all the little elements needed to sign off on a vinyl pressing. I have to thank Emma and Claudio at Artwork Agency for all their help in the design of the album cover. I feel that this project has been a holistic process in the creation, production and release of an original concept album. The question is now, do I start the process all over again?

Image: Art Work Agency

Image: Art Work Agency

Image: Art Work Agency

Image: Art Work Agency

3. Tell us about a favourite song on the album.

Well, this one is hard... I have a soft spot in my heart for the song “Playful Creatures in the Shallows of the Sand” which I wrote with my daughter, and the last song on the album where my partner Bern, Jonquil and my son Banquo sing. I also love the title track which I largely recorded on a creek bed in the middle of a hot summer day. But I think my favorite song is “She is a Swan Who Lives in a White House” in which the title says it all. One day I was sitting by the Nerang River (Ngarang-wal) when I looked across the water to a white house baking in the sun and there was a black swan walking around the back of the house, like she owned the place. Then she walked down the stairs and slipped into the water. A song was born.

4. What are your plans for Red Gold after its launch at HOTA?

I have thoroughly enjoyed the direction I took with this album, so I am hoping to keep finding ways to conceptualize the artistic process and keep experimenting with sound and music that reflect the environments and spaces around us. I would love to travel to other parts of Australia to find new stories and ecosystems to explore. I will keep promoting Red Gold throughout the year, hoping to find new audiences as well as more opportunities to present the album live on stage. I’d love to hear what people think of the album, so come along to the launch and say hi.

Experience the magic of Red Gold's alt-folk songs, fingerpicking guitar and captivating soundscapes on Sun 14 Apr.

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HOTA proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.