Today, we’re going beyond the exterior of Gone Gone Beyond’s brand-new album 2030. Released on June 25th, the band’s sophomore full-length effort is an amalgamation of love songs that examine our connections to one another, and our relationship with planet Earth. Thematically, 2030 delivers a message of hope and change, meant to inspire throughout, twelve powerful songs that are representative of the times we live in. Musically, it honours classic folk and Americana music, while pushing those genres forward towards something more modern that incorporates electronica, jazz, soul, and world music.
The band first formed when David Block introduced Danny Musengo, Kat Factor, and Mel Semé all to each other. Block had previously known each band member from his collaborations in his solo project The Human Experience. Previously, Gone Gone Beyond released their debut EP, 49 Bogart, and their debut full-length record, Things are Changing, in 2019. The buzz surrounding that album got the band on the bills of such festivals as Coachella, Lightning In A Bottle, SXSW, and Red Rocks.
With 2030 now having been out for a week, it seemed like a good time to sit back and reflect on Gone Gone Beyond’s latest work. We caught up with the band for a special track-by-track rundown of all twelve songs, where they share with us the details behind how each track came to be.
“Having been on the road for the better part of two years, Danny and David were left without a place to go when the pandemic hit. After a few weeks of sleeping wherever they could, an offer for an artist residency in Topanga, California came in. ‘Canyons’ was the first song the band wrote after moving to the storied little town on the outskirts of LA. The resulting track is a dreamy voodoo lullaby with all the whimsy of Alan Watts and all the heart of Neil Young. The track begins with the first words that came to mind as they drove into Los Angeles that first night, ‘I’ve been traveling a wave, that has led me to the water.’”
2. “Little Moon”
“‘Little Moon’ is all starry-eyed romance with a chorus that seems to howl at the night sky. During the verses, Kat and Danny trade come-hither lines with a wink and a smile, while a lamenting banjo keeps time underneath. The chorus takes the song to surprising new heights with the addition of a deeply satisfying sub-bass and Nigel Armstrong’s gypsy jazz string arrangement. A tale for the galactic doter, ‘Little Moon’ pledges its undying love on one condition, ‘be light, and I’ll follow you.’”
3. “Rain Down”
“With a production that smartly recalls the peak of Peter Gabriel, ‘Rain Down’ tells the story of future climate refugees in an anthem fit for 2021 and beyond. David’s space-age production is a perfect counter to Mel’s intimate falsetto and Spanish guitar in a track that pushes past borders, both culturally and musically.”
“On the band’s collaboration with Canadian band Moontricks, 808s and banjos make a rare appearance together, uniquely supporting the transcendental, sing-song chorus, ‘It’s out of my control, so I’m gonna coast for a little while.” Written while on tour together in the fall of 2019, the members of both bands were in Santa Cruz recording ‘Coast’ when news of the lockdown hit. They recently got the chance to play it live for the first time since its release over a year ago.”
“‘Riptide’ is an aching soul ballad written after a real-life scare Kat had off the beaches of Costa Rica. Held steady by acoustic bass and Motown backing vocals, Kat’s voice is able to soar to new heights on the melancholy but memorable lyric, ‘Oh, it’s dragging me down. Like a riptide on my inside and I think I’m gonna drown.’”
6. “Lost In America”
“‘Lost In America’ uses Mel’s transient life story to hold a mirror up at American culture. Mel’s daughters start the track with an adorable sing-song backing vocal, accompanied by their proud father’s prodigious guitar work and infectious laughter. It only gets better from there, with meaningful, layered lyrics and a moving rhythm section leaving the listener no choice but to sing along to with the anthemic chorus line, ‘I’m lost in America. Mama, pray for me, I’m lost in America.”
7. “She Just Can’t Help But Shine”
“The closest song to Danny’s country roots, ‘Shine’ is the band’s gospel-tinged tribute to the divine feminine. Again, we hear Kat and Danny smirking through their deliveries of the clever lyric, leading the listener through the tile refrain, ‘She just can’t help but shine.’ It’s in the second verse that the band opens up the revival tent and lets Danny howl. Tru Osborne lends his talents as choir director and his inspiring arrangement pushes this track over the top.”
“Featuring Sean Rodman of Moontricks on vocals, ‘Everything’ takes the listener on an unlikely journey both musically and lyrically. Starting as a star-crossed love letter, the track picks up the pace at the stomp and clap chorus before finally dropping into David’s fantastic dancehall production. The most optimistic of break-up songs, ‘Everything’ manages to both tug on your heart and move your body at the same time.”
“Written after Danny left New York City to join Gone Gone Beyond on the road, ‘Gravity’ is a sort of cosmic acoustic prayer that seems familiar yet completely without time or place. Danny pleads his lonesome case in the first verse, setting up Kat to completely break your heart in the second.”
10. “Another Earth”
“‘Another Earth’ is an esoteric love song that gradually becomes spiritual mantra. Kat delivers a haunting performance over the hypnotic pulse of finger-picked guitar, piano, and Shane Borth’s otherworldly string arrangement. The track keeps upping the intensity without reprieve until the last note leaves you gasping for air.”
11. “A Better Way To Love”
“It takes a moment to realize that this is the exact same song as ‘Canyons,’ given new life by a pitched down vocal and David’s downtempo production. In this interpretation, the lyric, ‘There’s a better way to love her…’ becomes the focus, leaving ‘I’ll see you in the canyons’ for the climactic drop.”
“Mel closes the album with a message of hope in ‘Marigold.’ In this love song for Mother Earth, a simple strummed guitar accompanies Mel’s fragile but earnest falsetto on the refrain, ‘After all the trouble of a thunderstorm, the sun came out again, and it was Marigold.’”