Ari Gold :: The Spirit & Flesh Interview
I’m now like on my third date with pop music sensation Ari Gold. Although we’re meeting to talk about his newest album the amply named "Sir Ari: Between the Spirit and the Flesh," I ponder other intentions with the handsomely talented music-maker. Like all of Ari’s projects it’s a labor of love. I know this because ever since he played for me back in 2010 the first single "Make My Body Rock" - a much more robotically-technophied departure from Gold’s usually r&b/dance beats - he was the most excited he’d been in a long time about the tracks he was laying down; music he promised would indulge the spirit and the flesh.
Hence my excitement when Ari tells me to meet him near his Lower East apartment. In my own imagination, I thrill to the intention that Mr. Gold will finally declare his true feelings for me...that after listening for weeks to an advance copy of his new album, I’m the "Favorite Religion" he could be referring to in the song of the same name. Instead when I finally meet up with Sir Ari Gold - he was after all recently knighted by the Imperial Court of New York in a spectacular event at the Night of A Thousand Gowns - he asks me if I’ve ever had a "spicy pickle".
I’m taken aback! Perhaps it’s Lower East Side slang for something. This is the man who has been making my body rock - his new tunes invading my iPod’s playlist; I’ve been sweating him something awful at the gym treadmill just that morning for more than 45 minutes - so of course I want...I need that spicy pickle!
First Base with Ari Gold...
So that’s exactly what we do - we stop at a pickle shop and Ari introduces me to a spicy pickle. Not exactly the "pickle" I was expecting, but how many people can say they took a bite out of Ari Gold’s spicy pickle? Truly Snookie would be jealous! My mind may have wandered that thought as Gold enthusiastically reminds me that he’s proudly a "fourth generation Lower East Sider". His family has had a connection to this part of Manhattan for some time and it’s also where he calls home. For all of his non-conventionalism as an artist, Gold is very much a traditionalist - he likes to set down roots. "I like being at home," he tells me. "I like feeling settled." As such he’ll be representing his home turf when he headlines the Pride Goes East event on June 4th. His connectivity to New York City has often been apparent. "It’s like I say in ’New York Attitude’", another track on his latest album, "’Why melt this pot...when we can make a rainbow.’" Certainly that would describe our bite of the Big Apple.
We’ve sated our pickle cravings - and finally sit, and over a pair of iced vanilla latte’s - the contrast in flavors from hot and spicy, to sticky and sweet perfectly segues into discussing the new disc. "Between the Spirit & the Flesh" isn’t much of a departure as some would expect from Gold’s previous works. He touches on familiar themes, but the resonance and deliberate performance on this album is much more textured - like the title insinuates this time the music is a deeper exploration into Ari’s personal passions.
"It’s a big deal for me," he tells me, "every level of my identity: as a Jewish person, where we are in the gay civil rights movement. It’s important to me - all these layers of my identity." And it’s very clear that he was centered on peeling back further the layers of his pop persona with "Between the Spirit & the Flesh." Assuming the role of a blood thirsty vampire for the video to "Make My Body Rock" shapes to a degree this metaphor of revelation and transformation.
"I thoguht about that," he admits. "I wondered if this album is as revealing as the last ones. I also noticed my own themes being repeated - but like painters who repeat the same themes in what they paint - each time it’s perfected." Though steeped in powerfully addictive rhythms Gold has always used his music as a platform for sharing his journey, giving his point of view. "I’ll always still want to grow and be open to exploring new things - but in one sense I felt very free in the creative process of this journey." It’s what sets this album project apart from the rest.