Interview With GGM — Part Two

Continuing a discussion with Sacramento indie band, Goodness Gracious Me, a few interesting topics were addressed Wednesday.

The band’s vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Greene, bassist Sean Arrent, and drummer Skyler Henry shared what they knew from their success with performing and recording in the local area.

Their views on what may be necessary to make successful strides in the music industry consisted of bright ideas, enameled with constant humor.

The first thing a budding band needs is camaraderie with other local bands. This was the paramount theme and the pinnacle of our conversation, and it seemed to surface of its own accord.

Beyond networking with other local bands, a requisite for success was also placed upon accurate portrayal of style. Without focus, recognition is blurry.

When asked what other bands GGM has worked with, Jeremy provided a few examples, “Phantom Jets, Darling Sweetheart, Prieta, and Lite Brite. Good people. Stand-up people.”

Apparently camaraderie among local Sacramento bands was high. The question then presented itself, “Why not just combine forces and rent a studio?”

In response Sean pitched the name of a local recording studio, The Hanger, and explained how they already record frequently at the well-known location. “There’s a gentleman there, John, who has more gear than you can imagine. People are always going in and out. Other bands have come in during the course of our album recordings and helped us dial in parts, gave constructive feedback — they’ve even sat in with us during mixing, eating our snacks.”

Jeremy couldn’t help but chime in, “Oh, yes, we have the finest snacks. We are into chips and dips

I thought of this as I peered down at the Sierra Nevada I had been hospitably offered just prior to taking my seat.

There was too much kindness flowing through the air. Was there anybody Goodness Gracious Me did not like?

In a light-hearted sense of rivalry Jeremy declared, “U2.”

Skyler followed with a jesting warning, “Wow, watch out. Bono is gonna show up at your door in the morning.”

They of course were playing upon the notion of U2’s uncanny success over many, many years.

All joking aside (for the moment), Jeremy offered a level-headed evaluation of the world’s variety of genres and bands. “If it’s something that you dig, it makes you happy, and you’re making it, then it’s good. To each his own.”

That statement, shared by other local bands, has proven valuable in many situations. At The Hanger especially, members of different bands frequently lay aside individual tastes, in favor of a more appreciative sense of the overall artistic initiative involved.

Swinging back to the realm of wittiness, Skyler proposed the idea, “I think it’s safe to say that if you put the names of, say, fifty emo-screamo bands up on a wall, and threw a dart, you wouldn’t be doing the world any great disservice.”

“They’re all coming after you, now,” Jeremy cautioned.

“Yeah, I’m gonna get marauded by a bunch a dudes with fucked-up hair cuts,” Skyler replied.

Funny impressions ensued.

“… I wrote a poem for you … “

” … You make my soul weep … “

Back and forth the guys volleyed the image of pissed-off emo bands whining at Skyler’s door. It was the only thing that could balance out their otherwise saintly and benevolent camaraderie.

The benefits of working alongside bands who are in the same locale is obvious. People need each other.

The idea of refining style, however, is less aptly understood.

On that note, Jeremy advised, “It’s important for whatever you release to have a general feel or an idea behind it. This helps balance out what you’re doing. Early on, any budding band is going to have to deal with this.”

Know Thy Self.

In Sean’s words, “It’s not like there are corruptible levels of cash laying around anymore. It’s important for bands like us to find a solid way to present our music the best we can portray, with just what we have.”

Back to Jeremy, “In every genre, there’s a shining example of how to make that work. It’s never just a bunch of songs thrown together.”

Throughout the conversation, Skyler did a good job reminding everyone about the importance of touring and it became easy to see why stylistic consistency is necessary. If money is going to be spent for touring, it should be done so when a noticeable forte has emerged and been sufficiently developed. In that way, audience members and prospective fans may find what they need in order to latch on for good.

Recognition is the desired end result, and it’s hard to be recognized without specific markers — intellectual or aesthetic. That’s why it’s essential to take a stand and to maintain integrity. Equivocation and indecisiveness are the killers of artistic ambition.

Apparently finding a niche is just as important for up-and-coming musicians as finding companionship among coequals. These two aspects of massive importance, unearthed now, are relatively hidden from those who need them the most. Combined specialization and networking will obviously produce positive results in nearly every venture, but nowhere else are these factors more convoluted by tapestries of variety and the temptation of rivalry, as they are in the arena of upstart musicians. When life is all about playing music, who really cares about strategy? Goodness Gracious Me and the rest of the supportive Sacramento bands with refined styles care, and what’s more, they’re making huge strides in the right direction.

See GGM in the news: KCRA3 Concert in the Park —


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