In conjunction with his upcoming tour dates that will be beginning on November the 21st at Thekla in Bristol (which can be read about here), we caught up with Canadian singer songwriter Matt Goud (Northcote) for a quick Northcote Q&A.
What is your most memorable concert to date and why?
A few come to mind right away. Munich summer of 2014 supporting Chuck Ragan. That show was one of the larger shows on the tour and I felt like I just got to see one of my heroes rock a big show. Plus we got to open. I loved that one. That night we got to hang around and visit backstage for a few hours until the bus was ready. Another one that comes to mind is the show in Glasgow supporting Dave Hause in fall of 2013. I remember this one because driving in to the venue Dave was telling me how humbled and psyched he was for a sold out show so far from home. This summer me and the guys headlined the horseshoe tavern in Toronto and that is a pretty cool one. On the same tour we played a small show in Kelowna that was pretty wicked too. Those are a few that come to mind.
“I felt genuine gratitude and energy to enjoy the show that night. There was a message in Dave’s energy that I have not forgotten when I go out touring.”
What is your favourite country to perform in?
I don’t really have a favourite country to play in. I have never been to Scandinavia but would love to go. I am naturally drawn to northern places. I think of our one scotland show often and the Canadian Prairies are home to me. Those places will always have lots of meaning and life for me.
Are there any fan encounters you can’t forget about?
There have been a few times on tour where fans have followed us from stop to stop. It makes me think of bands that I would travel to see. I have travelled on tour seeing Shai Hulud and on another occasion with Living with Lions from Vancouver. One that stands out recently is getting to meet two of my favourite sports journalists in Canada at a show. When I was younger I wanted to be a sports writer or a radio voice. The dream is still alive i’d say.
You’ve mentioned on your website that you’re trying out genres and styles of music that challenge you most – where do you think your music will be headed next?
This summer I wrote a backlog of simple songs that I think would be more categorized as soul or maybe i’m confusing that with big voice ballads. I think singing in that way takes a lot of courage and passion. I often think of doing something louder again like when I was younger.
You’ve also mentioned writing and recording some tracks in unique places, like “the basement of Lydia’s bar on Bank Street in Ottawa”, just a matter of convenience or comfort?
Finding rehearsal spots and work spaces is really tough for artists. On the west coast in Canada it’s not very easy to rent a space that is affordable and conducive to how you work best. I am finding these days that being alone works best. But these things are always changing.
Are there any particular inspirations for the latest album and its tracks?
Hope Is Made of Steel is not necessarily a concept album and I usually batch together my favourite songs for a record over the course of a couple years. At the moment when I think about Hope is Made of Steel I think all the effort it takes to grow through our twenties. I had a raw energy to believing that the process was going to prove all the people I loved right. I was pretty angry about my wife and her struggles in dog shit academic circles, facing obstacles that half the population doesn’t face. I think of the people in my life, mostly my family that inspires the stories and characters in the songs. I know these thoughts are somewhat vague.
“I felt genuine gratitude and energy to enjoy the show that night. There was a message in Dave’s energy that I have not forgotten when I go out touring. The record to me feels more like ten separate photos in an album than say a novel.”
Which is your own favourite song from the album?
Hope is Made of Steel
The best reaction you get for a song when performing to a crowd?
Hello Charlotte was pretty good at our last show.
With the tours you’ve been on, have you found yourself preferring smaller or bigger crowds and why? Intimacy, volume of people? Etc.
When I have the guys out with me, it is nice to play in larger spaces so that the amps and drums aren’t overly offending anyone. For smaller places its more suitable to be stripped back.
Do you prefer life on the road or are you thinking about staying in the States for a while after the tour is over?
I have always loved touring. Since i was in high school it is really all I have ever wanted to do. Nowadays I really value my time at home with my wife and dogs. I enjoy working on the side as a house painter, but the desire to be out there has not gone away but I get more tired after a tour now that I am a bit older, and there is a bit more work involved.
It says on the Northcote Facebook page that you came to find punk and hardcore music to have a kind of healing and therapeutic power. In what respect? How so?
I am drawn to punk and hardcore music for its raw expression and how it is by nature in resistance to the mainstream. I can be self conscious and a people pleaser at times so those are attributes that I want to have as a person.
Are there any plans for another album anytime soon?
What’s it like working with Jon Snodgrass?
Jon and I supported Austin Lucas in the fall of 2014 across America. We all travelled together in Austin’s green van. I was pulled towards Jon because of how he sounds on stage and his humour. His attitude towards performing is really fresh – instead of trying to convince you that he is the cool guy in the room, he speaks to you just as he would off stage. I’m happy that he is my friend.
Are there any specific songs you’ve written that hold a particular emotional resonance or personal attachment to you?
Yes lots of them do. In my experience the ones that were written to try and impress others are usually a miss but some of the ones that were written from emotion and experience have stuck. It also depends on what is happening at the time we go to sing a certain song. Its pretty amazing how some songwriters have a type of prophetic force behind their work; that is fascinating to me.
Is there anyone you’d love to perform alongside in the future?
Mo Kenney, Nick Sherman, and Worriers.