LOUISE GOFFIN Reflects On Past Favorite Shows, Her Newest Album, ‘Two Different Movies’ and Much More!
The Grammy-nominated producer and singer-songwriter Louise Goffin released her new album“Two Different Movies” last month on June 12th. The 10-tack album is co-produced by Goffin and 4x Grammy-winner Dave Way (Fiona Apple, Ziggy Marley) and offers a musical-map of Goffin’s lifelong influences and musical pedigree.
This collection is a cinematic record that finds its creator nodding to multiple influences: classic pop, rootsy rock ‘n’ roll, jazzy piano ballads, strutting glam, and the California folk-pop that’s emanated from her Laurel Canyon stomping grounds for decades. The album cover is special, too: it is a hand-drawn portrait of Goffin by Joni Mitchell, which connects her inspired present with her equally inspiring past.
American Songwriter says the album “encapsulates the Grammy-nominated artist’s soulful, California, folk-pop roots,” while Glide Magazine echoes Louise “brings to mind artists like John Lennon as Goffin stretches out her verses and builds the emotion alongside rich orchestration.”
Louise Goffin is a songwriter, musician, and producer with a rich, multi-decade career, spanning 10 solo albums as both a major-label act and her current status as an independent, business-savvy creator both on and off stage. Goffin became a dedicated musician at an early age, opening for Jackson Browne at the world-famous Troubadour when she was 17 and releasing her debut, “Kid Blue,” as a teenager. She has since performed with some of music’s biggest names; a personal highlight was playing lead guitar and singing harmony on tour with Tears For Fears. She also is a trained producer – recently a graduate of a six-month course at Nashville’s Blackbird Academy – who produced Carole King’s GRAMMY-nominated LP, A Holiday Carole.
A natural historian who remains dedicated to exploring, preserving, and demystifying iconic songs, Goffin is behind the new Song Chronicles podcast, the successor to the acclaimed podcast she co-hosted with Paul Zollo, The Great Song Adventure. As the creative director of The Goffin & King Foundation, Goffin also works to preserve the legacy of her parents, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, through providing educational opportunities for songwriters, performers, and musicians.
Connect With Louise Goffin Online Here: WEBSITE
Read more about Louise Goffin in the following All Access interview:
Thank you for your time. So given these unusual Covid-19 times, what does a typical day look like for you? How have you adjusted to these times?
I’m an early bird. I usually wake up before 7 but don’t usually rush out of bed. I make coffee most days, check my phone. Exercise on my Peloton.
I have different things to get done on different days, but it’s typically editing or recording video or audio or both.
Lately, there have been a lot of interviews. I’m more forgiving of wasting time, which never feels wasted if I’m enjoying myself. I spend the time at home with more writing, journaling, studying or reading. I try to take a walk a lot of days, but sometimes I just go outside on my deck. I always wear a mask in public and I’ve been cautious about going to businesses that I don’t have to go to. I print postage at home for my vinyl and CDs that people have ordered.
I think I’m probably not managing my time in the same way as pre-Covid-19 , and I seem too caring for my heart more than my to-do list.
What has been the hardest/most challenging part about being quarantined? Is your city starting to open up more now?
The hardest/most challenging part is not being able to play with other musicians. I miss that so much. It’s also challenging to nourish relationships by phone and not be able to have social gatherings. LA is very opened up now and it’s disconcerting because so many are not wearing masks and putting other people at risk. Meanwhile, cases are spiking up here.
What has it been like having to reschedule so many of your spring, summer and most likely fall shows? What shows in 2021 are you are already excited for?
I honestly haven’t been able to plan that far – I don’t think anyone can know what the world and the economy with look like next year – but it feels like releasing a new album during this time is a good thing. Exposing the music to people in ways that don’t involve traveling has leveled the playing field. It’s inspiring and motivating to make interesting content to open up possibilities, where before you had to compete with multi-million dollar tours and I felt that not having the backing to be able to tour with even a few people compromised my ability to promote. Now it feels like once the health risk has passed, what people did during the pandemic to adapt will inform the next chapter of how they present themselves live.
Since we are all desperately missing live music, can you recall a favorite show of yours from the past? What do you think ultimately makes for a great show for you?
I’ve loved all the shows I’ve done at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. There’s an intimacy there that’s unbeatable. At the same time, nothing can compare to opening for my mom and Don Henley for British Summer Time in Hyde Park. I played my own set but also joined my mom during hers. When we were rehearsing, I had to jump from one rehearsal into another and my mother said, “Louise you take the guitar solo on Smackwater Jack between Danny (Kortchmar) and Dillon (Kondor).” That was crazy! Here were two seasoned guitarists, and I’m supposed to grab a solo with Robbie MacIntosh watching (who toured with Paul McCartney and was in The Pretenders) in front of 65,000 people?
So backstage, I borrow a guitar and my boyfriend keeps making me play it over and over like he’s cracking the whip. “Play it again, you gotta practice!” until a tech comes to the trailer and says, “I need that guitar to take to the stage”.
The entire time I’m on stage, singing these deep and meaningful verses to Will You Love Me Tomorrow, the ONLY thing I can think about is that this guitar solo is coming. Finally, it comes, I almost botched it but didn’t, and then when I walk offstage relieved afterward, I see the legendary Lou Adler at the side of the stage (he produced Tapestry and the Mamas and the Papas) and he smiles at me and says “nice solo”. That was a fine moment.
Let’s talk about your recently released debut album, “Two Different Movies.” What was it like recording this collection? Did anything surprise you about the overall process of putting it all together? Did it get finished before the quarantine began in March?
The album was mastered in October 2019 by Pete Lyman in Nashville. The project was itself a surprise, along with the previous album, ‘All These Hellos,’ which was recorded at the same time. It’s one of those experiences I’ll forever cherish in life, where you think you know the ceiling of what’s possible, and then find there’s a pathway where you never even looked – couldn’t know to look – that leads to a new world. The opportunity to record all those songs and create in the studio with some of my favorite musicians was unexpected, but I was definitely prepared and ready for the opportunity. As the phrase goes, “I was born ready!” I wasn’t sure what the record was going to be when we were recording it- I originally wanted to make a double gatefold album – but it turned out to be two separate albums. I didn’t know the titles of the albums or which songs would go where. I didn’t know the cover of Two Different Movies would be a sketch Joni Mitchell made of me when I was a little girl. The idea to use that didn’t come until after the album was made and I was equally surprised and freaking out with gratitude when I got Joni’s approval that I could use it for the album artwork.
What was the inspiration for the songs on “Two Different Movies”?
Every song has a different back story. The title track was written with Dennis Matkosky and Greg Barnhill nearly twelve years ago after a heart-wrenching breakup and I had most of the lyrics in my notebook as scribbles without meter. The song’s music and melody were so different to how it now when we originally wrote it. How could I have known that one afternoon in a Nashville co-writing session would turn out to one day be the name of a future album with a Joni Mitchell sketch on the cover? Greg Barnhill sang the demo, Dennis Matkosky played piano. I later rearranged the song, putting chordal substitutions in to make it have this smokey drifter picturesque feel to it. There’s a time signature change in the middle of it that was never there. The verses are a waltz and the chorus is in 4/4. That’s unusual. The song was always there but I felt compelled to pull something more out of it than time would allow in the quickness of a Nashville co-write.
The songs co-written with Billy Harvey were songs we had written for us to do in a duo we had for a brief minute in 2013. We did some gigs and many great demos but we couldn’t sustain it for a myriad of reasons. Yet the songs remained as well as a great chemistry together. Those songs on this album are “Made To Be Good,” “Rattle and The Roll,” “Every Love Song” and “Heart Attack.” “The Heart Is The Last Frontier” was a song I’d written with Reid Savage in the early nineties, and I rewrote parts of the music, got rid of a middle eight I thought unnecessary, substituted a lot of chords, and then made a demo of the new arrangement in 2014. That demo was among the songs I brought over to Dave’s.
“Oh My God” was a backing track demo – the most recent thing I’d written on the whole album – I had played all the parts on the demo and had only nonsense lyrics between the lines “Rollercoaster hologram” and “We keep on coming back.” It was unfinished but it was new and I was excited about it. That song didn’t get fully written until it was entirely recorded and arranged with Van Dyke Parks fully orchestrating it. And that was one of the great thrills, working with Van Dyke Parks, Benmont Tench, Greg Leisz, Jeremy Stacey, the list goes on.
What was it like working with your producer and 4x Grammy-winner Dave Way?
Dave is a joy to work with. He knows the studio so well that the mechanics of record making and recording become invisible, and you can’t hope for more but he gives even more than that. The focus is entirely on the people in the room, which is how it should be. One of the dead-giveaways that someone is inexperienced in a recording capacity is when they’re looking at the computer screen more than they are looking at the people in the studio. With Dave, he’s doing it all, getting great sounds, thinking about the song and communicating. You’ve got to be able to have people skills if you want to create with people, and you’d be surprised how many professionals limit what can come out of a situation by their lack of communication ease. Dave makes it easy to forget you’re working with someone who has so much more experience than you because he doesn’t carry an ego around, rather he is grateful and happy to get to make music with people who feel good to be in a room with.
Have you been able to make any music videos for any of these songs yet?
Yes, there are videos released already for “Safe Place To Land,” “Oh My God,” “Heart Attack” and “The Rattle and The Roll.”
We filmed something for Made To Be Good and I have bits and pieces of ideas for some of the others. Every Love Song was a video Scot Sax made from fan content sent in… fans dancing to the song, and he also did Safe Place To Land and The Rattle and The Roll, all done before the pandemic.
How do you think future music is going to be influenced by this incredible and absolutely necessary Black Lives Matter movement that the US and even the world is going through now?
It’s such an interesting time in history. It will be amazing to hear the songs, stories, art, and film that all come out the anger and awakening of the world’s long-standing denial of how deep the racism goes and how it’s built into the very systems of our country.
The strength of those who are determined to change the world for the better has to come from you and me and everybody in-between. There is no such thing as a passive bystander in this movement. If you’re passive, you’re not on the sides, you’re right in the middle of the problem. Speak out anyway you can, in protest, in song, in film, but no one can be a bystander. The fact that #Metoo changed the world’s perception from marginalizing survivors to believing them, from brushing the misdeeds of the powerful under the carpet, while those people kept their jobs, to jailing and shaming perpetrators who ruined so many lives, this is an encouraging predecessor of hope that the same thing can happen with the Black Lives Matter Movement.
I’ve heard it said that we have a hundred-year pandemic, a seventy-five year depression and fifty-year civil unrest all descending on us at once, yet all these things are connected. I believe that people won’t put up with it anymore and music is going to reflect that.
Is it inspiring you and your music today?
Yes. I am still not sure what the writing I’m doing today is going to turn into, much the way I didn’t know that songs I wrote within the last twelve years would turn up on this album.
If you get into the studio with any artist today, who would it be?
I love this new artist Cécile McLorin Salvant. I’d love to write with Lana Del Rey. I love this duo from NY called Ochun and I like this Detroit poet and rapper The MonaLyse.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
I have a podcast called Song Chronicles, where I talk to musicians and songwriters about their lives and process.
My IG @louisegoffinmusic has a link in the bio where a lot of upcoming things can be found!