With two parents that were artists and educators, Philadelphia’s Harrison Metz — also known as Rolled Gold — was encouraged at an early age to embrace creativity. That Harrison did. He’s worked for years as a producer for singers and rappers and has even released several beat tapes of the music he has created. But for the first time, Metz is working on music that is driven completely by love and freedom. With no prior notions of what it could be (a chance at fame and fortune) and more of just what it is.
When I sat with Harrison to talk about his new music releases, our conversation moved further away from a formulaic discussion about the actual songs, to more about what music and creating can mean, and its spiritual effects on all of us.
Josh Leidy: You’ve been producing music for several years under the Rolled Gold name. Can you give us a little background on how you got started in music?
Harrison Metz: Yeah, I have, I’ve been into making music since I was a kid. I took drum and guitar lessons. Both of my parents encouraged me and my brother to explore our creativity. I was taking music lessons from a young age. When I was a kid I loved music, visual art, and skateboarding. At a certain point, I made the decision to dive head first into music, but I still want to keep those other activities alive as hobbies.
JL: Do you think having parents, although in the academic area, and involved in the arts, made you believe that is a legitimate career path?
HM: I definitely think so, at least subconsciously. The love they have for art and music was definitely felt. It was a very hippie-dippy household and very anti-capitalist, so knowing who I am now, those ideas and that love were undoubtedly a core factor. My family even further back was musicians and artists, so it definitely played its part.
JL: I think it’s really important to live and nurture what’s the driving force inside of us, so with you having such a huge support system in your parents encouraging you, I’m sure it feels natural to embrace that creative driving passion you have, correct?
HM: I certainly feel like art can be healing. It’s absolutely been that for me, so yes, I feel in a way music and art in general are a healing force. It’s a huge contribution to a collective, to a community. It’s a loving act to create. And you spread that when you share your art. Reading and listening to Sun Ra a lot over these last few years has really shaped how I feel. Music is a universal language, and whether it is vocals or harmonies, or percussion I think it’s more impactful and expressive than the English language.
JL: I mean, that makes complete sense, especially with you being and coming up primarily as a drummer, because the drum is the heartbeat of the music.
HM: I was listening to a Sault song and there’s a line spoken by a woman that said “imagination is the universe speaking through you” and I was like, oh shit, that’s it. Everything we create is really from nothing or just the most basic ideas, like banging on something or a melody we hum. There’s a spirituality to it for sure.