Pop punk powerhouse band Gold Steps, had announced that their forthcoming EP "Incandescent" would be out by the summer. With the release around the bend, the band has been active as of late, doing partnerships with companies, down to releasing numerous music videos, to much more planning underway! The band goes into discussion about the EP, company partnerships, and the future plans of activity as well.

1. Why did you want to partner up with Heart Support?

We partnered with HeartSupport because we feel very strongly about their work in providing a nonjudgmental community for people who are struggling with a variety of mental health and substance use issues. We met them at So What Music Fest in 2017, and felt inspired by their mission, and since then have found our own voice and purpose to help this stigmatized group in society. If we hadn’t met HeartSupport, we may not have had the courage to so actively share Liz’s own issues in hopes that it would help someone else.

2. For those who may not know who Heart Support is, can you briefly discuss for us?

HeartSupport is a nonprofit dedicated to reducing the stigma and increasing awareness and empathy around mental health and substance use issues. They also tackle topics like trauma, abuse in relationships and self-harm. They have an active, welcoming online community with support forums and blogs providing perspective and guidance, as well as livestreams on Twitch. They often partner with artists and bands as a way to show that these issues permeate at all levels of society—-even your idols can suffer, and it’s important to see how widely spread mental health issues are.

3. Besides partnering up with Heart Support, you went ahead with not just releasing your single turned video of the single "As Luck Would Have It", but made a documentary for it as well. Can you disclose the details behind why this all needed to happen?

We felt a higher duty to share stories that encompassed different journeys on the path to recovery. Most people who have been following the band for some time now have heard Liz speak about her story, so we wanted to open our message to include more and different stories. Not everyone identifies with one person’s path, so it was important to us to show “hey, no matter what you’re going through, we understand and we’re here for you, and believe there is a brighter future ahead of you.”

4. Why go with picking a song such as "As Luck Would Have It", as opposed to your other single "Firestarter", or another song altogether?

The message behind the lyrics of “As Luck Would Have It” directly reference a support system being the reason why Liz feels that she is growing and coping better now than she used to. There’s more to the story behind what we were able to fit with the lyrics, and it was a chance for us to show that we aren’t just a smoke and mirror mouthpiece for mental health awareness with no action, and this is genuinely a cause we are passionate about both in the band and personally. We didn’t have to take the extra step, but we wanted to. For every person out there who feels alone in their struggle, there is someone else who has gone or is going through it too, and understands. If we can build a bridge between people and help them realize they do have love and support, maybe we can help someone keep fighting to get better or get sober. If we change one person’s mind to realize there is hope, that has made our efforts worthwhile.

5. Liz Mauritz (vocals), went on to write a blog about mental health exclusively for Heart Support, does said vocalist suffer from mental health?

Liz has been very open about her struggles with anxiety, depression and panic disorder. She also spoke with HeartSupport about her past with self-harm. Her journey is as tumultuous as anyone else’s; some days are better than others, but no matter how she’s feeling, her focus is on others and how we can reach them to show care and support. Her position has always been to help others never feel the way she has at her lowest; a lot of people don’t realize how painful it feels, and she does. So she wants to help other people grow from that and learn to cope so they don’t feel that way again.

6. What would you say to someone who is dealing with the likes of something such as mental health? How can they come clean about it, what would be the easiest route to take on?

Nothing is easy about opening up about something you’re struggling with. There is a lot of fear, that you won’t be taken seriously or brushed off. Even if that fear is unfounded, it’s still real. We believe it is a very important step though. If you’re struggling and don’t feel comfortable reaching out to a friend or loved one, anonymous message boards like HeartSupport’s community can be very helpful to alleviate some of the weight on your shoulders without revealing who you are. And hopefully after realizing how supportive strangers can be, that will lead them to enough confidence to share with someone who is part of their daily life, who can provide support and encouragement in their journey to get better. It’s a leap of faith. Support groups in the community can also be a great resource if you aren’t ready to share with someone in your personal life.

7. How would you go about explaining mental health to someone who may not know what it really is?

Mental health is a pyschological state of wellbeing, and it’s a spectrum. Someone who is mentally healthy has a good handle on their stress levels, reacts rationally to stressors and can balance a variety of responsibilities well. We would consider them to be a functioning, behaviorally responsible part of society. Someone who has a mental health issue may fall at a different place on the spectrum depending on the stressors in their life and their coping ability. Even people who are the epitome of mental health can develop an issue after a particularly trying stressor, such as losing a loved one, changing careers or losing a job. Issues can also develop slowly over time, as your ability to cope diminishes with each stressor, or your coping strategy is a detriment to your health, like using alcohol or other substances to deal with stress. It’s important not to judge people who struggle; you don’t know what they’ve gone through, or what psychological imbalances are present.

8. Let's talk about "Incandescent" EP, why should people go forth and check it out?

There is a lot encapsulated in the 7 songs; emotions vary from confidence and empowerment, to exasperation and anger, to bittersweet hope. There’s a song for every mood on there. If you need a morale boost, “Firestarter” is the biggest anthem we’ve ever written. Feeling taken down by life? “Suckerpunch” is all about the swirling mess of thoughts that threaten to destroy all your self-esteem. Worried about a friend who is struggling, and feel helpless? “Manic To Panic” is written from that perspective.

We’ve grown so much since our first EP. The songs are more developed instrumentally, the lyrics are more revealing and raw. The production is fantastic and allows all the different elements to shine at the right time. The song topics aren’t totally new; Liz has written about her anxiety before. But these songs are much deeper, and being so candid about her mental health could lead to backlash or criticism. That’s a chance we were willing to take, because we feel the dialogue needs to be more open surrounding mental health, so we stop losing people who could have been saved if they had the support, or knew it was there.

9. Why did you think that "Firestarter" and "As Luck Would Have It", make good enough singles off this EP?

“Firestarter” just has that punch of energy people want out of pop punk. It’s fast, it’s loud, it’s dynamic, it’s catchy. We knew right after we wrote it that it would be the opening track, to kick the EP off with a bang.

“As Luck Would Have It” aligns perfectly with our overall position on mental health. It’s raw and honest, it’s relatable and emotional. It shows a different side of us than people have heard with our previous releases; we can write more than just angst-filled, loud songs. We have a heart, and it’s open.

10. What do you plan to do in the mean time, leading up to it's release and soon afterwards?

Currently we’re prepping for the release of our third single and video for “Suckerpunch.” We’re continuing to work with HeartSupport and planning a number of projects for Mental Health Awareness Month in May. Our release show is in June, prior to our tour, and we’re finishing our booking and practicing the sets for all those dates.

There’s also a number of smaller, surprise projects we’ve been lucky to be part of that will be announced and released over the next two months. We don’t ever slow down!

Our focus will be to continue to share the messages in ‘Incandescent’ and hope it resonates with people, and gives them a place to go when they need to relate or feel less alone.

11. How else do you plan to spread the rest of 2018 as Gold Steps?

We’re hoping to complete a second tour in the fall, and tour even more if things start to take off. We have plans for a B-side/acoustic EP, so we’ll be taking time to work with Rick King at King Sound later this year. We’ve had a couple people express interest in collaborating, so we’d like to explore that as well. We aren’t the type to take a break; we always go the extra mile in everything we do, so if there isn’t anything on the horizon, we create something to fill that space. You’ll be seeing us consistently through the rest of the year!

12. Why did you want a name like Gold Steps for your band name?

We named ourselves after the Neck Deep song, off ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You.’ It directly captures the sound and energy we wanted to create with this band, so hopefully we’re honoring the name with what we’re accomplishing.

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