In the silence of 2020’s lockdown, Milena Eva was confronted with parts of her past that had been long buried. Bubbling up to the surface, repressed memories and traumatic events pushed their way into her daily life until they could no longer be ignored. With no choice but to confront her past, she accepted its presence in the present, an unwelcome houseguest during already uncomfortable times.
Around the same time, Roadburn Festival approached GGGOLDDD to propose a commissioned performance for the 2021 online edition of the festival – and the opportunity granted Milena a creative outlet to process her emotions. Shortly before their Roadburn performance, Milena revealed that she had been raped aged 19; it is the memories of this time and its lasting impact on her that informed This Shame Should Not Be Mine.
Writing together with her life and creative partner, Thomas Sciarone, in their apartment led to a new way of working. The intimate setting allowed Milena to be vulnerable when committing her story to words. Without their bandmates’ additional instrumentation during the writing phase, the pair leaned towards digital creativity to build the structures for the songs that would make up their live performance – and later the album. Building the songs from beats, samples, heavy synths and warped string arrangements opened up the GGGOLDDD sound to new sonic possibilities, which would later be fleshed out with guitars, drums and bass guitar.
Following the Roadburn show – which was the most viewed and talked about set of the festival and was likened by viewers to acts like Portishead, Massive Attack and Björk – GGGOLDDD had a desire to commit the work to record as soon as possible. They returned to Jaime Gomez Arrelano’s Orgone Studio (Ghost, Grave Pleasures, Paradise Lost) in the UK where they also recorded 2019’s Why Aren’t You Laughing? Granting themselves more time to record than with previous sessions, they worked at a pace that allowed them room to breathe and process as they went. The remote location of the studio returned Milena to the silence of her previous emotional confrontations; only this time she embraced the quiet, the distance from ‘real life’ and the capaciousness of the setting. Mastering was undertaken by Cicely Balston, ensuring that the story and all musical ideas transpired with maximum impact. This setup alongside the recording environment allowed GGGOLDDD to craft the album as they had envisioned it: a dark and contemporary pop album that exists in its own sonic universe.
The early tracks on the album are heavy with trauma and darkness; the opening track yearns for the freedom of not being burdened by overthinking. The lyrical presentation of the source of Milena’s trauma in the next three songs is bruising in its frankness. Whilst the album progresses, more light filters in as she works through acceptance of the indelible mark this has left on her life and relationships. There’s no Hollywood ending, no neat closure, but there is some peace to be found, some relief from verbalising these experiences. The final track’s refrain, ‘It’s time for some healing now’, is indicative of the ending of this particular chapter; but the tale is far from over.
Visually, the album is complemented by stunning artwork courtesy of Milan-based photographer Szilveszter Makó. The images depicting Milena as a pre-Raphaelite-esque beauty encased in armour display a metaphor for the emotional armour she has worn for years. This Shame Should Not Be Mine is one step towards shedding the heavy burden of the external shell that has weighed her down.
With This Shame Should Not Be Mine, GGGOLDDD have delivered the most bold and ambitious work of their career to date. Capturing the essence of both extreme vulnerability and the strength gained from the process of reclaiming ownership of one’s past, these ten tracks are an intimate anthology of transformative power.
This Shame Should Not Be Mine is due for release on April 1st, 2022, via Artoffact Records.
GGGOLDDD have released four previous studio albums to widespread critical acclaim, and have caught the eye of international media with their dark, hypnotic take on pop music. With their roots in rock music, the band embrace experimentalism and are unrestrained by genre boundaries within their work. GGGOLDD have toured with bands as diverse as Converge and New Model Army, and performed at internationally renowned festivals such as Hellfest and Roadburn – the latter inviting Thomas and Milena to be their 2022 curators.
Danielle Warners – Bass guitar
Igor Wouters – Drums
Jaka Bolič – Guitars
Milena Eva – Vocals, electronics
Thomas sciarone – Guitars, electronics
Vincent Shore – Guitars