Adam Goldberg makes music we actually want to listen to
So we posted the video for “BFF!” a little while back…and then we scored an interview with the man himself on LANDy. Check out excerpts from a chat on going from being overwhelmed by years and years of drives of music to working with Steven Drozd from the Flaming Lips and Aaron Espinoza from Earlimart on Eros and Omissions (in stores now).
What does LANDy mean and how did you come up with concept for the album?
LANDy is anything you want it to mean really. As I always say, “This LANDy is your LANDy – this LANDy is my LANDy” so it’s open to interpretation. Some people have their own ideas of it – [during recording we] did start referring to my dog the sheriff as sheriff LANDy [dog barks on cue -- seriously].
I didn’t have some sort of over-arching concept for a record per say. I had just been recording stuff for years and years and years, but I didn’t really feel like I had found my sound. [Then] the song writing had evolved to a point where I felt comfortable with putting it out. I met up with these guys – a guy from a local band called The Black Pine here [in LA] and just started playing and recording with them a little bit. Around that time in 2002, I started writing more and more. The first song we recorded was “I’ll Be Around,” which is on the record.
It wasn’t until I went to Oklahoma and recorded these three songs with Steven that I felt that maybe that’s the beginning of an actual album. [...] It was the first time I was trying not to just wing it all on my own – there was a lot of people who collaborated musician-wise.
What’s the first record you remember holding in your hands?
Oh boy – I think it was a Phoebe Snow record – the all white one.
How long have you been making music?
Well it’s subject to debate and interpretation whether it was music or not – I’d say it was ’93. I just woke up one day and got a guitar and amp and a 4 track and started writing and recording stuff. I played drums in high school – but never that seriously.
Can you explain the process of getting people involved with the record?
It was really organic – basically there’s sort of the same four or five groups of people that reappear. There’s this one guys named Eric Siegel who plays bass in the live configuration of our band. On the record he plays bass, guitar and piano. I went to high school with Eric – he and I were a band in the ’90s – occasionally we’d play out. It was a different kinda of music – I’m not entirely sure it was music.
And then I met these Black Pine guys and they became collaborators on this and I did stuff with them for my movie I Love Your Work. And then I met Steven at a Flaming Lips show and I asked him if he wanted to have some music in I Love Your Work – so that was the first collaboration we had. And my assistant editor from I Love Your Work plays violin on a couple of tracks. My sound designer did some drums loops and effects stuff on a couple of tracks [...]
Did you start out as a fan of Steven or were you already friends?
I was a huge Flaming Lips fan and a couple friends of mine said that they had met him when they were [in LA] rehearsing with Beck – and they told me he really wanted to meet me. And I was like “Really?! Wow.” And then a friend of mine at Warner Bros was working with them on the radio circuit – and she took me to my first Flaming Lips show at the Knitting Factory [in Hollywood] and of course blew my mind. And I met Steven after wards and at the time I was actually second only after Thom Yorke (I don’t know how I made it up the list that far) of his list of man crushes. I think I’m no longer on the list – it was a hot period for me on this list. And I reciprocated – and we hung out a couple times and I was sort of on my way to asking the Flaming Lips to do music for I Love Your Work [...] and it became clear to me that they were just too busy. So by default I had to come up with something for this last sequence in the movie was in fact a musical sequence so I had to write something – so I just started writing it. [It] was one of the first things I wrote on piano – so I got Steven to work on that. If I was to add up all the days I’ve spent with Steven it’s probably 15-20 days or something – but he’s one of those guys you feel like you’ve known for a long time.
What was it like recording at The Ship with Aaron?
It was a total cluster fuck. He had a finite time frame and I had a finite budget, so taking all this stuff and simultaneously recording stuff – “BFF!” being one of the more epic ones and all this old stuff I had that wasn’t labeled. [...] I had the flu – it was definitely intense. It started out as a two week booking – I spent most of that recording new songs – and then I added another about two weeks.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I have so much music that I like that I’m not even sure where I would begin. I can hear something and be like, “Let’s use that sound.” But I’ve never been as a songwriter that can hear something and say “I’m going to write a song in that style.” I’ve definitely never been one of those people who can listen to something and then play it.
I can remember listening to a bunch of Divine Comedy a few months prior to writing “BFF!” The outro of “I’ll Be Around” – I wanted it to be sonically-inspired by the layering and looping of Elliot Smith’s “Everything Means Nothing To Me.” When we were recording in Oklahoma some people said it was sounding a bit Pink Floyd-ish – I obviously have a lot of reverence for them but everyone is going to have their own subjective opinions. When I was a kid Bowie and Elvis Costello were who I listened to A LOT of -
When I got back to LA in March [after living in Williamsburg for three months] I turned part of the garage into a rehearsal space – and now we’re up to eight in the band including me. We’ve played twice before – once at the Echo and once at Spaceland – 9 o’clock gigs – just trying to get our footing. I’m not the world’s most comfortable live musician – but I think we’re getting a place that is interesting and cool. We’re just kinda booking gigs – to see how it goes.