THE METHODICAL AND CREATIVE MIND OF KATY GOODMAN
Story by Laura Cappe
It is fair to say that Katy Goodman is a woman grounded deeply in multiple worlds. Before music she was pursuing a career in sciences – receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Physics and her Masters in Physics Education. She loves video games, breaking the rules of fashion (deliberately wearing white dresses after labour day), and listening to music on cassette tapes (a medium that she has released her own music on). On top of all of that she has also found a passion for writing and creating her own sound.
It all began in college when her interest in Riot Grrrl music became more than just a genre that she listened to, joining her friend’s garage punk band. At 20 she learned how to play the bass and from there she became one of the three Vivian Girls (with former college band member Ali Koehler). After experiencing multiple successes with the band and the long slew of touring that accompanied it, Goodman found herself “accidentally” writing an entire album’s worth of songs. Songs that soon after became those of La Sera’s. Poppier in tone, Katy was able to put her own fresh spin on the Vivian Girls hard rock sound with her solo project.
I spoke with Katy about her latest album, touring with Father John Misty and the pleasures of having both a methodical and a creative mind.
What’s writing like for you? What do you get out of it?
I only recently started writing – like two or three years ago, it was the first time I attempted to write a song by myself – well the lyrics at least. It’s a learning process. I find it very therapeutic. I’d been in Vivian Girls for so long and all of my friends decided to start their own bands so I thought that I should give songwriting a go. I’d never really thought about it before, I’d always just been a “band member”. I generally don’t write finished songs for Vivian Girls – I only write bass parts and I’d worked collaboratively, but I had never written something entirely on my own. So when we had 2 weeks off touring I thought it would be the perfect time to buy myself a guitar, which then led to me writing the entire first album. I had no plan for the songs that I wrote. I didn’t really understand what I was doing. I just sat down and wrote a bunch of songs. I didn’t really know it would become an album. I didn’t really have a plan. I like to roll with the punches.
So you wrote your first album “La Sera” over the span of 2 weeks. How did “Sees The Light” come to be? Was it a similar experience?
It was the opposite actually. The first album I wrote within a two-week period; one song per night. For the second album I wrote one song a month and all during the day. It was the complete opposite. I think I preferred writing during the day though.
You’re on tour A LOT with both La Sera and Vivian Girls – what are the highs and lows of touring and how do you prepare for a big tour like the one you’re on now?
Practice a lot! My friend is watching my cat. I bought some tour outfits – things to wear onstage. I don’t prepare all that much. The best is getting to play every night – I love performing and singing and playing music. I love hanging out with everybody. There are a lot of people on this tour. About 20 of us right now, so it’s kind of like sleepover camp. The worst part I would have to say are the long drives. The loooong drives. Today we drove for 8 hours. Tomorrow we drive for 7. I’m really tired – I’m going to try to go to bed early tonight. I can’t sleep in the car, but we listen to Podcasts and I play iPhone games. I’m playing this farm game now. It’s kind of embarrassing.
I love your new video for “Break My Heart”! Do you often help create your music videos or do you just let the director take charge?
Usually I just let the director do everything. Making a music video is art too, so I like to let the directors create their art. For the video Real Boy/Drive On I came up with the concept – it was my idea to do a joint video for two songs, but then Travis Peterson came up with everything else… so I like letting the directors do their thing and be creative.
Katy continues to play with both Vivian Girls and La Sera. She is a renaissance woman indeed and a busy one at that.