DIVINE INSPIRATION: The Origins & Style of Seattle-based Band, Golden Gardens

From the beginning it’s been esoterical, it’s been magical. All the songs have to do with magic and Spirit. I think this record [REIGN] was the most direct and intentional experience with that.
— Aubrey Bramble, co-founder Golden Gardens
Aubrey Bramble in her North Seattle home | Photo by Allyce Andrew

Aubrey Bramble in her North Seattle home | Photo by Allyce Andrew

Meet Aubrey.

  • Co-founder, Golden Gardens
  • Proprietress, Swan Children Alchemy
  • Makes Twin Peaks-inspired oil blends like Agent Cooper and The Log Lady


While it shares a name with the iconic Seattle beach - "I thought the name sounded whimsical and magical," Aubrey says - Golden Gardens has a unique cross-country origin story. The band was founded in 2010 by Aubrey Bramble & Gregg Neville while they were living over 3,000 miles apart from each other. “Gregg was in Florida and I was here [Seattle]," Aubrey says. "Gregg had been in a bunch of bands and was working on some dreamy, ethereal music. He posted something on Twitter or Facebook or maybe it was even Myspace [laughs]. I had never been in a band. I just remember feeling like I wanted to try. So I messaged him."

From there, Gregg sent Aubrey music over email. The music became a song; their very first called, “The Uses of Enchantment.” Within a month, Golden Gardens produced their first EP called “Somnambulist,” and two years later, Gregg moved to Seattle. Soon they were getting shows and KEXP started playing their songs over the airwaves and they've been creating music together ever since.


Aubrey has always been obsessed with Twin Peaks. I know this too, because when we first met at a Yule party a few years ago, we talked about the iconic series. Aubrey credits Julee Cruise, who sang most of the songs on the original soundtrack and Angelo Badalamenti's ethereal, dreamy score from the original series for providing inspiration for Golden Gardens' sound. "I think Gregg and I both strive to create a similar dreamlike and "mysteriously spellbinding" sound in our compositions," Aubrey says. "I naturally gravitate towards darker, somewhat surreal themes in art, so it just makes sense that I would be so heavily influenced by [David] Lynch."


Twin Peaks Cover "Into The Night" as performed by Golden Gardens


Aubrey and Gregg don't work together when they compose their songs.

That's right.

"We are just in our own worlds," Aubrey says. "Sometimes Gregg will send me a piece with a guitar and or synths and a beat. Sometimes it’s 30 seconds, sometimes it’s 4 minutes. I’ll work with that to come up with a verse melody or a chorus. Or I’ll come up with something and he’ll add to that and send it back. We’ll just do it until it’s done. 

Aubrey says she's often surprised by what she discovers listening to parts of their songs again. She likens the tracks to spells "because they are so complex. They open up worlds if you want to explore. There is so much happening." 


Queen of Air and Darkness, off the new album REIGN


When Golden Gardens started working on REIGN, Aubrey was in a particularly frustrated place. As a female-bodied person, as queer-identified person, and as someone playing shows in the Seattle music scene, Aubrey says she finally reached a boiling point: “I was just kind of over it. My voice and the voice of people I know, especially in the arts, just weren’t being heard.” She spent time in conversation with the Goddess asking for clarity around what she needed to say and what people needed to hear. "It became REIGN," Aubrey says. Even still, Aubrey found the lyrics exposing and vulnerable since the lyrics "were so connected to the Goddess because it felt like it was her speaking through me." 


That Divine connection and the vibrational energy that's created between the audience and the band becomes it's "own living breathing thing," Aubrey says. She taps into that potential, that resonance to fuel her performance. "When you're doing your work and you’re in it, it’s almost like a trance. You don’t really put too much thought into it because you’re linked," Aubrey explains.

"Being on stage is a very shapeshifting experience - both for myself as a performer and in regards to how one performance is never the same as another. A lot of factors come into play. What is the venue like? The audience, are they interested? Have they seen us before? Do they "get" our sound? How am I feeling? Did we have a good practice for this show? Am I in my head or in my body? My favorite sensation on stage is when I feel like my energetic and physical body are working in harmony to create sound as well as emotion. That sensation almost feels like a dissolution of self into the music, into the art. It's pretty dreamy."

Favorite venues for Golden Gardens include The Steep and Thorny Way to Heaven in Portland and Gargoyles Statuary in Seattle. "Gargoyles isn't even an actual venue, but we've played some of my all-time favorite shows there," Aubrey tells me, "Usually stripped down and super intimate. It's quite a magical setting. My dream is to play The Neptune Theater here. I really feel like that space would suit our music beautifully."

For more ethereal soundwaves, find Golden Gardens on Spotify, Soundcloud, and YouTube.

For more on the band and upcoming shows, merch, and more, visit: https://goldengardens.bandcamp.com/

Aubrey's witchy oil blends as well as Twin Peaks-inspired scents, gem healing, and classes visit Swan Children Alchemy: http://swanchildrenalchemy.com/

When I first started playing around with making my own scents with Swan Children, I thought, ”wouldn’t it be curious to imagine what certain characters or locations on Twin Peaks might smell like?” So I went down a bit of a rabbit hole and came up with a selection of oils that I felt embodied the essence of the people and places of Twin Peaks. It’s been really fun to explore. My favorite is Audrey Horne - it’s a little bit demure and a little bit dangerous, just like her.
— Aubrey, Swan Children Alchemy