Gavi Torres-Olivares and Arias James Goldanloo, aka FloatGoat, released their first EP, Whatever Floats your Goat, in January and have been expanding their audience ever since, playing frequently in Denver and other Colorado locales. The EP and several singles are available to stream through the band website, FloatGoatMusic.com, or on SoundCloud, and the band’s newest single, “Scrumpies,” will drop Wednesday, Dec. 27.
Their efforts are paying off, with recognition coming from 303 Magazine, which includes FloatGoat tunes in its playlist of Denver’s Best Electronic Music, along with music by bands like GRiZ, Big Gigantic and Pretty Lights. Unsigned Unheard – 5280 also chimes in, extolling the band’s “combination of synthesizers with groovy bass lines and sick guitar riffs.” In other words, FloatGoat may just be the best Colorado band you’ve never heard, and if you haven’t heard them, you should catch this up-and-coming duo 9 p.m. Saturday at The Eldo in Crested Butte.
Even folks who have heard FloatGoat will want to check out the Eldo show as it will be the band’s first gig playing with a kit drummer for the entire performance. “Having a drummer brings in more energy, gets more people dancing,” said Arias.
Both Gavi and Arias developed an interest in music at a young age. Arias “got into rhythm playing percussion with bongos” but then discovered electronic music. “I was amazed by the sonic capabilities of production,” which led him to explore synthesizers and later acquire his first drum machine in high school. By the age of 14, he’d started playing bass but has always maintained an interest in music production.
“I got more into (playing bass) in college,” he said. “I studied jazz and got into funk, which really helps my bass playing. … I started writing and playing more and more.” With a heavy dose of metal influences from his earlier days, he mentioned Fieldy of Korn as an important influence, but upon discovering ’80s funk, he also came to appreciate bassists like Victor Wooten and Mark King. Listening to and learning about these legendary bass players “helps my style, helps me understand more about technique.”
Gavi started playing guitar at the age of 12: “My mom got me into classical guitar at a young age, and I went to high school at Denver School of the Arts.” He attributes his early interest in rock guitar to his father, who turned him on to classic rock. From there he progressed to listening to harder stuff, especially metal. “Listening to bands like Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden made me want to be a guitar player. … When I got to college, I really got into jazz and that led to other genres like funk and different types of fusion, which pushed me to become well-rounded on guitar.”
Both musicians attended college at the University of Colorado in Denver, where Arias majored in recording arts and Gavi majored in music business. Ironically, the two met in Las Vegas but soon began playing together after returning to Denver, which, of course, led them to form FloatGoat. At the time, Arias was involved in a music project called Floating Oasis.
“My initials are GTO,” said Gavi, “so everyone called me ‘The Goat,’ which was the nickname for the ’70s muscle car, the GTO.” And of course, the combination of Floating Oasis and The Goat produced FloatGoat.
The FloatGoat guys count musicians like James Brown, Prince and Rick James among their important influences, along with bands like Parliament, Daft Punk and Deadmau5. Even though Floatgoat’s music is decidedly new, with plenty of synthesized sounds, these legendary influences come through in music that should make anyone with a pulse want to get up and dance.
As Gavi said, “Our new single is really a late ’70s vibe mixed with new electronica stuff.”
“We were inspired to write it while touring with Evanoff,” Arias said. “After we played Animas City Theatre, some dude out in Durango kept making up funny words for things and one of them was ‘scrumpies.’ He used scrumpies to describe ‘stuff that sticks to your feet after a raging party.’ We thought it was hilarious so we worked this track in honor of the word scrumpies.”
Building on the band’s strong start, Arias and Gavi are not slowing down or looking back. “We’re working with our first management company,” said Arias. “We’re hopefully setting up a tour pretty soon – our first official tour. We should be releasing a lot more music. We’re working full-time on our music, and we’ll be releasing more singles, possibly another EP. … We have a collaboration in the works with Kaleidoscope … working on a track with them.”
“We’re also planning to do more tracks with lyrics,” said Gavi, “with us singing, plus guest vocalists. The main thing is our songs, we’ve always wanted to make people dance. So we mix pushing ourselves as musicians … with keeping pop sensibilities so it’s memorable and appealing.”