Premiere: Tristen, “Gold Star”

Chicago by Nashville's Tristen debuts her shiny, kaleidescopic video for "Gold Star", from Josh Duensing. Her recent album CAVES followed-up Charlatans at the Garden Gate, where her Americana styles that tie the Midwest and South close together were realized in electro pop renderings.

"Gold Star" takes the shape gold steeped stars, illuminating Tristen and friends in every frame, in every shot, and in every scene. Listen, look, see, and feel, as lines like, "another shiny gold star only runs for the sun's grand mirage" are brought to life in the visual beauty of sunsets, night lives, and neon floral tumbles and twirls. Like the complex craft of Kate Bush's close reading of fictional relationships on "Wuthering Heights", the Emily Brontë romantics of the aloof, elusive, and tragic spirits are given a new breath in Tristen's cutting chorus of, "when love's spectated, a tragedy's created." Through the collage of visuals the aspirations of the heart and its limitless passion continues on, running up that hill in the hopes of a requited union.

We had the chance to talk with Tristen a bit about her album CAVES, the video for "Gold Star", and everything of influence between Chicago and Nashville.

How has your Chicago by Nashville experiences informed your music?

I listened to mostly pop music while I was growing up. I was just listening all the time to the radio and writing pop songs in an incubator which was my parent's home until college. I played a show every month or so around town. When I moved to Nashville it was a very clear decision for me to do music all the time and I immediately I fell in love with old country music, for the same reasons I loved the Everly Brothers and the Beatles. At that point I started writing songs that would become my first record, what I would've described as my attempt at a 60s girl group rock n roll record, Charlatans at the Garden Gate. Shortly after that record came out, I was touring all the time and integrated a drum machine into a two-piece set I was doing with Buddy Hughen, lead guitarist in the band. At that point I was also loving some Kate Bush and the Eurythmics, Echo and the Bunnymen, OMD, Prince etc. This led to CAVES, my latest record, which I would describe as my attempt at a synth pop record.

Tell us about the synth sweetness of recording your most recent album, CAVES.

You'll hear my Lowry Organ I have here in my home studio, blended along with some cool sounds from Xpand! and lovely Jimmy Matt Rowland who played his synth specialties on quite a few songs. Also, I wrote string arrangements that were performed by a quartet from the Omaha Symphony with the help of Mike Mogis. Plus, there are some synth strings from Stephen Hague who mixed the record. And Buddy Hughen added some arpeggiated goodness. It's really a synth salad.

How did the kaleidoscopic video for "Gold Star" come about?

Video Star, an app where kids make their music own video, included Gold Star as a featured track. So all these kids from all over the world started making music videos for Gold Star and posting them on YouTube. Some were really cool, edited and all. One of the cool parts of this app is a kaleidoscope feature. So this was just an expansion on those videos you could say. I shot most of the video footage on my iPhone and edited in iMovie. Then my friend Josh Duensing, came up with his own take on a kaleidoscope and added all the animation and fx.

What are you listening to these days?

I've been listening to Irma Thomas a lot. I'm back on Jackie DeShannon. Listening to Billy Bragg and Television, The Soft Boys. Kicking back to some Edith Piaf lately too.

What recordings are next in the works?

I'm working on a new record now but if I tell you about it, I'll have to kill you.

CAVES is available now via iTunes via PUPsnake Records.