Marin Wilts
’21, Shakopee, Minn.
Major/Minor: Vocal Performance; Business

Max Mona ’21, Annapolis, Md.
Major: Finance

Please tell us about Golden Age and how your musical collaboration began.

Golden Age started in the Offutt School of Business in Dr. Scarpin’s Managerial Accounting class. Max’s roommate Kyle introduced us. After grabbing a cup at the Coffee Stop to talk about music opportunities, we started working on the concept for our first album. For most of our first spring recording, we were fortunate enough to use the Concordia College music studio with the help of professor Russ Peterson.

After releasing our first album, “The Monologue,” during the March 2020 quarantine, we were surprised by the initial reaction and outpour of support. With virtually no marketing budget, we received almost 50,000 streams in the first month of release.

Since then, we’ve tried to make strategic partnerships and connections throughout the major music hubs in the United States, started planning future projects, and are eagerly nearing 1 million streams on all music platforms.

How did each of you get into making music? 

Max: After deciding to not play on the Cobber men’s hockey team my sophomore year, I had more free time and gravitated toward production. Music has been something that my younger brother Cameron and best friend Garrett had been doing for years and I immediately had a lot of help and support getting set up. After watching many YouTube videos and trial and error, I think that I’ve really found my niche as a producer-songwriter with Golden Age.

Marin: I was surrounded by music growing up and have always been in choir, band, and theatre. I have always been interested in being a songwriter but never felt like it was an opportunity made for me. It wasn’t until Max and I started working together that I found a passion for writing. Writing about lived experiences is a healing, yet empowering process. Max and I have found great success in trying to write songs that mean something to our listeners.

Can you share your music-making process as a duo?

We have a unique process that requires a lot of flexibility and communication. Because of our schedules and location differences throughout the year, we tend to work independently on idea creation and then collaboratively develop each track together. Each track presents its own unique challenges and rewards, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable. We enjoy our process because we never get stuck in a rut. We are able to share ideas with each other and not be afraid of what it would take to bring those ideas to life.

What inspires your musical style?

Max: Growing up, I always listened to music any chance that I could and I continue to operate in this way. My personal taste in music can change by the day and I think that we’ve utilized that same mentality with Golden Age. Through our releases and upcoming catalog, we’ve tried to create a unique style and sound that doesn’t necessarily conform to any genre.

Marin: I am inspired by the traits of many different types of music. My musical theatre background has exposed me to songs that are full of storytelling, and my choral background has given me a strong foundation of how to create harmonies and layered voice textures. Some of my favorite artists include Beyoncé and Jon Bellion, but I take inspiration from a variety of artists.

Tell us about your new recording label.

One of our latest songs, “Bloom,” gained more than 150,000 streams within the first month of release and we were contacted by a senior A&R rep at FrtyFve Records in London. They expressed an interest in pursuing a record licensing deal on that track that would compensate Golden Age over the short and long term. The deal that we agreed on incentivizes FrtyFve Records to promote our track and has helped us become better connected within the industry and throughout the European markets, where Golden Age has done surprisingly well.

Another important piece for Golden Age has to be our connection with Ken Lewis. He is one of the most acclaimed music producers in the music industry with countless credits on Gold and Platinum tracks and more than 50 Grammy nominations. Ken has been one of the biggest advocates in our development and has helped Golden Age find its sound with a professional quality.

How has Concordia influenced this musical journey?

We don’t think Golden Age would have grown into what it is now without Concordia. Whether it was using the recording studio in the music building or bouncing different ideas off of faculty, Concordia has been an important piece of our journey. Our journey began at Concordia and has grown into something that we’re really excited about.

You are both involved on campus; how do you balance academics while making time for this musical endeavor?

We definitely try to manage our time as efficiently as possible. With both of us involved in student organizations on campus and constantly working on multiple projects, it can be difficult to stay on top of our goals without a set schedule. We maintain a schedule that allows us the flexibility to create but also keeps us on track in order to continue growing our platform. We’ve both been applying to grad school programs as well – Max for finance and Marin for vocal performance.

From the beginning, we had a mutual understanding of the importance of building Golden Age while simultaneously continuing to advance our careers. Through that, we’ve received a great education at Concordia and are looking forward to using everything we’ve learned following graduation.

Do you do many live performances?

Due to COVID-19, we haven’t yet had the opportunity to perform live outside of Zoom. Marin has experience performing from theatre, choir, and her a cappella group, Harmonia. Max has been using the quarantine downtime to work more on developing his live sound. We’re excited about playing live shows when that opportunity returns and think it would be a great way for Golden Age to connect with fans. We were looking forward to the possibility of being an opening band at Cornstock our senior year but hope the opportunity will return when we are ready to be the headliner.

What are your hopes for the future of Golden Age?

Marin is looking to pursue her master’s degree in vocal performance while Max will continue his studies in Nashville after being accepted to Vanderbilt University’s Master of Science in Finance program. Golden Age will continue to produce music and we are expecting to release multiple new singles and an EP in the coming months.

We’ve been working more on developing our network and making mutually beneficial partnerships. Our goal is to break into the music scene and eventually operate in one of the major music hubs in the U.S. We’re excited to have built such a solid foundation of streams and content and look forward to the challenge of taking Golden Age to the next level.

How can people best connect with you and follow along with the journey of Golden Age?

Follow us on social media (@WeAreGoldenAge) and check out our website. We are releasing merch and love to hear about which songs people love and connect with.

Published March 2021