Comprised of artistic wife and husband Rachel Staggs and Carlos Jackson, All in the Golden Afternoon are one of Austin, Texas’ musical powerhouse gems. With Staggs having played in Experimental Aircraft in the late 90’s for a decade and the duo having shared the stage with Beach House, Animal Collective and Spectrum, All in the Golden Afternoon have been steadily gaining momentum in Austin’s music scene and beyond. The band is set to release their LP, The Fog is Filled with Spirits on October 18th with a celebratory record release party taking place tomorrow night at Cheer Up Charlies. We got to chat with the band about their upcoming release, their paranormal tour adventures and the wax and wane of Austin’s local music scene.
ANON: How did All in the Golden Afternoon initially come together?
Carlos: Rachel was playing bass for the Black Angels in 2004. She invited me to try out for guitar, as they were still developing their sound. My proto-pop band the Shells was dissolving around the same time, so when Rachel decided to leave their band, we started tracking all of the ideas we always wanted to make but felt restricted to before. I had been using a Tascam 38 with one broken track that only recorded backwards, and our first EP was a direct result of flipping tape back and forth for months. Rachel and I have both written countless songs and there are certain aspects of composing that annoy the hell out of us, so our automatic composition process produced anomalies we couldn’t achieve with traditional composition methods, and we immediately connected.
ANON: What vision did you have for your upcoming LP, The Fog is Filled With Spirits? What was the recording process like?
Carlos: We began recording the tracks on the same broken 8-track, then took the analog recordings to London in two different sessions. We brought tracks back each time adding more tracks at home, then finally mixing everything with Louie Lino at Resonate studio here in Austin. Many of the lyrics were written and inspired while touring the Czech Republic in 2011. Bohemia was misty and eerie; a local band told us about the white lady who often appears over Jindrichuv Hradec’s lake.
Rachel: Our previous album was called Magic Lighthouse on the Infinite Sea and we wanted to continue this mysterious line of exploration. The Czech Republic and traveling in general was a huge inspiration.
ANON: Can you tell me about one of your most memorable touring experiences?
Carlos: We saw ghosts in two different towns in Moravia, but only while we were performing. One was sitting in a corner in a basement in Olomouc, and the other was near the sound board in Sumperk. I also loved playing in Nantes, France during SOY Festival. It was like a small SXSW but the main venue was part of a castle.
Rachel: The ghost in Sumperk was hovering at the front of the stage while we were setting up gear. I could see him in my peripheral vision and when I would look up to where he was standing, there wasn’t anyone there. I wrote about it on my travel blog, Artist Wandering. I remember calling across the stage to Carlos as we were both plugging in pedals and such, he said he saw and felt it too. I thought it was the sound guy, which is why Carlos remembers the sound board. But the sound board was way in the back, far from the stage. The presence was so intense and he certainly wanted us to hurry up and get the hell out. Once we started performing, he disappeared. It was my birthday and we really connected with the local band and host.
During our second sighting in Olomouc, Carlos wasn’t able to see the ghost, I could only see it when I would look over at Carlos’ hands to see where he was in the song. So, this particular ghost, another man, was sitting in a corner and when I first spotted him on the other side of Carlos I thought, “Oh man, I hope he likes our set because he’s stuck back there behind our equipment.” But when the set was over, there was just an empty chair there. It was a bit unnerving to see him every time I looked over at Carlos during the set, but he quite enjoyed the music! He had very good vibes.
Bohemia was more visually mysterious, but the otherworldly visits in Moravia, I suppose. I’ve always been open to the unknown but I’ve never had such vivid contact with the paranormal. In general, I prefer touring in Europe. Music is treated more like the form of art it is and musicians are taken care of in ways that seem basic (dinner, a place to sleep, payment) but when you’re doing things on your own (booking, promoting, driving, loading, unloading, performing, etc) it makes a huge difference in how we function.
ANON: What are your thoughts on being a musician in the Austin music scene? How have things changed since you started playing music in the late 90’s?
Carlos: I moved here in 2002, and it’s quite a bit different. There are so many bands now; it’s easy to get lost in it all. There are no shortage of ideas floating around and we’re meeting more and more people we are cosmically connected with.
Rachel: I’ve been playing around town since 1997. I’ve seen so many of my favorite performance spots close. Electric Lounge, Liberty Lunch, you know. I even remember when Red Eyed Fly opened and they had the cleanest women’s restroom in town! Also, they didn’t have a patio, everyone wanted to play there and the inside room was often packed. I haven’t been in there in years. Emo’s (on Red River Street) was our hub. I played so many great shows there and saw so many great shows there. It was home. When that closed and moved, no matter how divey, it was the end of an era.
15+ years ago the community seemed more tight-knit. Maybe because it was smaller? We would all want to book each other so we could perform together and hang out. There wasn’t any sort of competition vibe. We were all in it together. I booked shows, entire bills, all the time and never took a cut as the booker. I was young and the extra work was part of the passion. I’m slowly getting back out there locally and finding the new generation to be supportive, inspiring, and super creative.
ANON: What albums have been on your playlist as of late?
Carlos: MJQ era Milt Jackson, Gal Costa’s 1969 s/t record, Harmonia’s Deluxe, lilys the three-way, Booka Shade’s Movements, lots of King Tubby & Eno.
Rachel: The Kills’ Ash & Ice, S U R V I V E’s RR7349, Prince Rama’s Extreme Now, Stereolab’s Switched On (always), and anything by Walter Wanderley.
All in the Golden Afternoon’s LP, The Fog is Filled With Spirits, includes enigmatical cover art by Iker Spozio and inside artwork by Rachel, limited to 250 copies. Their LP will be officially released on October 18th via their website for purchase, and for those who live in Austin, Texas, you can pick up an early copy of their vinyl on Saturday, October 15th at Cheer Up Charlie’s for their release party! It’ll be a stellar, shoegaze-filled night starting at 9PM with sets by Dead Leaf Echo from New York, Pale Dīan, Moving Panoramas, Single Lash, Grivo and All in the Golden Afternoon set to take the inside stage at midnight.
Trish Connelly is the Austin-based guru who does booking and promoting at Cheer Up Charlies under The Nothing Song. She’s always down to collaborate and plan a show or event in town. She’s an expert with mixtapes (for all musicians out there you’ll want to send her your stuff!), and making connections with the cool kids. She may have a tad obsession with comics and Corgies, but she keeps it under control. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.