Hi Tom, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
– Life is good! Busy, but good!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “All My Life”?
– All My Life is at it’s core a love song, but a love song with more complicated undertones. It’s a song about striving for something greater, holding on to what you believe and fighting for that which you hold most dear. It’s complicated and conflicted; just like actual love.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
– I wrote All My Life at a time in my career when I was really doubting my ability to create quality art. I had just gotten off a 3 month, 50 city tour and I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I was spending a lot of time doubting what I was doing and what I was fighting for. The first day back from tour I sat in my house, picked up the guitar, and wrote All My Life. It was a great shift in thinking for me, re-focusing my energy on what was important and reminding me not to pay attention to the chatter.
How was the film experience?
– These days, I am known for my high concept, polished music videos. Over the years they have become more complicated, more involved and more expensive. For All My Life I really wanted to strip everything down, leaving only the song, lyrics and the emotion. I went over to YouTube Studios, booked a camera and lights, and sat alone. The music video for All My Life is what came out.
The single comes off your new album What Doesn’t Break- what’s the story behind the title?
– The songs on What Doesn’t Break tap into many of my greatest regrets, struggles and failures. The title is a play on a lyric from Forbidden (a song about falling in love with a man while in Catholic Seminary). The lyric reads ‘What doesn’t bend will surely fall.’
The fact is, life isn’t always easy. What Doesn’t Break speaks to those moments that I have struggled through, to become the strong, honest, hopeful and driven individual that I am. I don’t believe this to be a singular experience. That what are most ashamed, is often time the thing that has most forged who we are.
How was the recording and writing process?
– The songs on What Doesn’t Break were written over a several year period. In many cases, these songs were cut off previous records because I was afraid of how honest or vulnerable I was on them. I want people to know that I am happy, in a loving marriage and strive to do good. It’s much harder to tell people that I used to kill animals when I was a kid, or that I sometimes struggle with my family/husband/self doubt. I kept these songs under wraps for so long.
When I decided to work with Marr Zimm, I sent him 30 song demos. In the past I would have edited these songs to include only the songs that I was topically willing to record. With What Doesn’t Break I sent him every song that was strong, even if that meant it touched on issues that I was afraid of. What’s the worst that could happen? Well my worst fear came true, he picked all the songs I was afraid to record.
What Doesn’t Break was recorded over a 6 month period, in 50 different cities. I recorded guitar and vocals at home in Los Angeles and Marr Zimm recorded, programmed and mixed while traveling from city to city on a circus train (when not producing, Marr Zimm plays the keyboard in the Circus). It was such a different process for me. I loved being able to take our time, to come back to songs and adjust as need be, and not feel the pressure of the studio clock ticking.
What role do the cities LA and NYC play in your music?
– Hmmm, I’ve never thought about that. These days I live in Los Angeles, so that colors everything. Every note I played or sang on this record was in Los Angeles. I have a sunny and beautiful one bedroom apartment that has transformed into an enriching creative space. It’s really allowed me to increase my creative productivity, while still feeling relaxed and at home.
How vulnerable did you intend to be on this album?
– This is, without a doubt, the most vulnerable I’ve ever been on a record. I am loving it.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
– I always pull from personal experience to write my songs. Honestly, when I sit down to write, I usually have no idea what the song is going to be about. The chords, the movements, the vibe point me in the right direction. Once started, I really try to stay attuned to the emotion and the message, letting the words come to me, rather than force words into a song. It’s a very subconscious process.
Any plans to hit the road?
– I just got back from a bunch of dates in the Deep South, Midwest and Northeast. I’ll be playing a Caribbean cruise in October and then will be off the road for the rest of 2016. I start my 2017 with a handful of dates in Puerto Vallarta, if that’s any indication, 2017 is going to be a fun one!
What else is happening next in Tom Goss‘ world?
– I’m in the process of producing a new music video, scoring a short and a movie and writing new content for myself and collaborative projects. I have a feeling the best is yet to come!