Photo courtesy of My Goodness
By Shandana Mufti
After releasing Shiver + Shake this Tuesday, vocalist Joel Schneider of My Goodness answered a few questions about the record, songwriting, and the Seattle music scene.
Drummer Andy Lum rounds out the group’s line-up.
ABScream Media: Congratulations on the record release! Is release day filled more with excitement, nervousness, or an even split of the two?
Joel Schneider: I think mostly excitement. We are just very happy that we got the record out there for people to hear. The more ears that get to hear it the merrier.
ABS: How long has this record been in the works for?
JS: We’ve been working on the record for a couple years now. That being said, the majority of 2012 I was not sure if the record was ever going to happen. I had stopped writing for most of the year and was waiting for a previous band mate to figure out a personal issue that was tearing us apart. After waiting it out and offering my help, I finally realized it wasn’t going to happen. In the end it was for the best, as I had just reconnected with Andy. We started playing near the very end of 2012 and got to work on the record with a renewed purpose.
ABS: Which song off the record is your favorite?
JS: Andy and I both love to play “Hot Sweat.” It’s our most aggressive song but also one of our more dynamic as well. It’s also a song we were able to let loose on during the recording process. It’s one of the few songs on the record that was never changed or re-structured from the moment we wrote it.
ABS: Have your writing and recording processes evolved since the group’s formation or as a result of Andy joining?
JS: Yes. Andy has a phenomenal meter and makes it incredibly easy to record without a click track. I’ve always loved a little bit of push in the tempo here and there but it has to be done in a very subtle way without sounding rushed. Andy has that ability. He’s also been a huge help in songwriting because he plays various instruments and has a good ear for chord changes etc. We did a session in San Diego last year where we tracked vocals, guitar drums at the same time and then on another take I jumped on bass and Andy played the organ. I think we knocked the whole song out in less than an hour. That is something that would have been impossible for us to do before he joined the band.
ABS: Seattle is a great hometown for rock bands - how has that shaped your sound and approach to music?
JS: In high school, both Andy and I were very into the all ages Seattle hardcore scene. We’d try and go see bands like The Blood Brothers, Botch and These Arms Are Snakes as much as possible. We also grew up with Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, etc. on heavy rotation on most Seattle radio stations. It definitely has given us an affinity towards louder more aggressive music. Our musical tastes have obviously grown a ton since then and now we listen to a ton of soul, blues, and some country. We try and reel it back a touch in My Goodness but deep down there is an aggressiveness in our music that is directly related to what we listened to growing up in the Seattle area.
ABS: Do you feel any identity with the more famous musical roots of Seattle - the grunge movement - or do you feel that’s something that you try to form an identity apart from?
JS: Soundgarden and Nirvana are two of my very favorite bands. I don’t feel like we actively try and set ourselves apart from the “grunge” era. Honestly, if we were to be lumped into a genre and group of bands, I can’t think of another that I’d rather be in. That being said, I think what we are doing is our own. It pulls from those bands in a lot of ways but also from all of the other things we love to listen to. From ‘60s bands like The Sonics to Betty Davis and the soul and funk artists we listen to on a regular basis. If anything, we try and not ever hold ourselves back musically. We just try to keep it simple and play what feels good to us.
ABS: Is being in a two-man group limiting in any ways? Does it make disagreements easier or harder to work through?
JS: I think it makes things a lot easier if you get along well with the other person. Fortunately, Andy and I get along great and usually see eye to eye on most things. We just added bass to our live show and our good friend Cody has been touring with us. He’s been a great addition and it’s like we haven’t missed a beat. I’d say on the flip side though, if you’re a two-piece band and a serious issue arises, it definitely compounds whatever that thing is. It’s not like a usual, couple of band mates not getting along type of thing. When there is no one but the two of you, it’s a way bigger issue. Practices stop, etc. There’s not really any mediator there to help. I dealt with that a couple years back when the band first started out. I am super fortunate to have such great solid people in this band with me now. It makes it so much easier to focus on what’s important…the music itself.
ABS: Now that the album’s out, what’s next?
JS: We are going to hit the road soon in support of Shiver + Shake. Also have been working on some new tunes. I’ve been feeling pretty motivated lately and want to get a head start on another record.