Milwaukee’s synth-pop band GGOOLLDD loves to create, from their look to their organic sound.
Playing Savannah Stopover for the first time March 11, GGOOLLDD formed about three years ago when lead singer Margaret Butler and a friend decided to start a band on a whim.
“I was planning a Halloween party and a friend and I, after a couple of drinks, decided to start a band even though I had no idea what that would entail,” says Butler. “We wrote a song and people liked it. It was terrible! But we kept getting asked to play.”
From there, GGOOLLDD downsized, fine-tuned their sound and started taking music seriously — so seriously that Butler, who co-owned a vintage clothing store with a friend, quit her day job to be in the band full-time.
“I had to make a decision at some point. Is music really what I want to do with my life? That was kind of scary.”
Now, Butler incorporates her love of clothing into GGOOLLDD’s aesthetics, designing costumes for herself to wear on stage and in the band’s music videos.
“It’s not really a love of fashion; it’s more of a love to create,” she says. “I still get to do the thing I love to do, which is sew and create by just making my own costumes.”
Over the years, GGOOLLDD’s style has evolved from cheery and overtly poppy to a “dirtier, more organic sound.” Butler says the band’s original members had a different musical vision than the current members.
“We all love pop music, but the original sound was just too uppity and too ‘Top 40’ for us,” she says. “We decided that we wanted to take it on our own and not have one person control all the writing of the band anymore.”
That style shift can be seen through the evolution of their music videos. One of the band’s first videos, “Boyz,” is quintessentially poppy — which is far different than the band’s current sound and style.
“I love that video, but I’ve been trying to get away from that song for a long time because of the intensity of how poppy it is,” Butler says. “I don’t think it celebrates our music currently.”
To help shake that image, GGOOLLDD released a new single in late 2016 with a darker, laid-back pop sound.
“Undercovers” was made into a short horror film that includes murder, gore and special effects — all of which help the band break through their former image.
“I just loved the idea of doing a short film and I love horror. I love kitschy, B-movie, bad horror,” she says. “I wanted to do something that expressed who I am.”
Butler’s new direction for GGOOLLDD has paid off. Recently, the band has been featured on official Spotify playlists, has had some radio play and won the Band of the Year at the Milwaukee Radio Music Awards.
“I don’t even think I’ve had time to think about the fact that we’re bigger than we were two years ago,” she says. “It just keeps going and going and going.”
GGOOLLDD will be playing at Club One as one of the final acts of this year’s Savannah Stopover festival. Butler says seeing the band live is nothing short of a good time.
“We all really love each other and I feel like that energy transports to the audience,” she says. “It’s a fun time — it makes you want to dance, for sure.”
Midnight March 11
Club One, 1 Jefferson St.