Into Music Interview: Goliath
Goliath, previously known as Enima-tek is one of Scotland’s most interesting new songwriters, mixing classic singer-songwiter style with a fully autonomous DIY approach and Bedroom Pop. After the release of last month’s fab Ghost Town single – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2omTx1Cwzzk it occurred to me that despite following their song releases from the start I had little idea about anything else. Being something of an enigma, I wanted to know a little bit more about what makes them tick and how they got to where they are.
Grant McPhee: Who or what inspired you to not just pick up a guitar but write, record and upload your songs to the public?
Goliath: The main inspiration for my songwriting was a friend of mine who’d sung a beautiful cover rendition of a song. Inspired by the beauty of the cover I just felt like writing and quickly wrote the verse and bridge of what would later become First Love.
The song was recorded and uploaded after I got a massive positive response from those around me who wanted me to release it and I felt inspired to put it out there.
Your songwriting feels very much in the vein of the classic the singer-songwriter, especially those ‘indie’ songwriters working in that area (I can hear a lot of Roddy Frame). Not that this is an attempt to categorize or pigeonhole you, more that it now helps audiences. But who would you say are your songwriting influences?
Some of the largest inspirations in my music are artists like Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Cure, Fleet Foxes, Super Furry animals and Arcade Fire, with some more recent inspirations being, Sufjan Stevens, Easy Life, Daniel Johnston and Maddison Cunningham.
Most of these artists played a role in developing my tastes in music at a young age and hopefully some of the influences shine through in my music as well.
What defines a great song for you to listen to? Do you focus on lyrics, melody, production? What grabs you when you hear something on the radio (for old people) or streaming for the young?
Songs that grab me often place importance in their lyrics, I’d like to think that showcasing your emotions in a track can help to give the whole track more life and bring some truth to the tune itself.
A song that’s really grabbed my attention recently is Hospital by Maddison Cunningham. It showcases her absolutely gorgeous falsetto and her sensational guitar playing, all wrapped neatly in a bundle of delay, reverb, saturation, EQ automation and any other number of production tricks that help bring the track to life.
How do you approach your craft or the process for bringing something to life – be that technical or more philosophical?
As for bringing a song to life it usually starts as a rough sketch played on the acoustic and I add vocals, usually by just turning off and letting my subconscious create the lyrics I need, although its not always as easy as just letting the lyrics come to you and sometimes it takes a bit more time and thought.
Music feels like a great way to vent and let your emotions out and that’s usually how I use it, which I think is part of why I can be proud of my songwriting, as I think it embeds some truth and meaning into the lyrics.
Was it a daunting experience presenting something to the public for the first time? Tell me how that felt – from before uploading to pressing the ‘live’ button. Did it meet your expectations?
Uploading the song felt relatively normal for me as I’ve always been someone who performed and sang for others, the response was definitely better than I expected though and I found a great amount of support from those in my community, friend and stranger alike.
Selling yourself is a very tough experience, something traditionally carried out by big labels but as you work on your own it must be very hard. It’s one thing to put something ‘out there’ but another to get someone to listen. What do you have to do to get people to pay attention?
I personally don’t enjoy the self-promotion side of it as I’d much rather be writing than promoting songs that are already written but it is a necessary evil. The main bonus though is that it can help develop real meaningful relations between fans if it’s handled personally.
Do you think you lose something by having to dedicate so much time and energy to promotion that could be used elsewhere, or do you think you gain something from this process that would be missing if you were signed to a major record label?
Getting people to listen is definitely something I struggle with, as it becomes more and more important to self-promote and build up to a release it can feel overwhelming. Usually I’ll try to tease a track’s release a week or two in advance and make sure there’s a video to go along with it.
Do you think there is anything missing from the Scottish music industry that would give better assistance to emerging musicians? What do you think would help?
It could seem greedy but I think a bit of funding for gear, whether that be plugin or pedal, could really help most up and coming musicians. I’m lucky to have a student loan and not many bills to allow me to spend on gear but not all people are quite so lucky.
Where do you think you fit within the Scottish music industry? And where do you see/would like to see you progress to?
Currently I’ve got a reasonable following but I’d like to get out gigging and see some growth via working my way up venues. Unfortunately my bassist and guitarist recently quit due to not being able to set enough time aside from uni work, college work, working and their relationships so it’s gonna be a while till I achieve this.
Do you think that the industry being less tribal and pigeonholed is a good thing, or do you actually see it as already being too tribal?
I think that while pop music can be seem to be quite samey there are many artists that are carving out their own space in the industry with a unique sound or production style and even in pop music there are still some interesting artists like Stormzy who’s produced by Fred Again and Paolo Nutini.
Do you play live? If not would you consider playing live? Do you think it is a necessity for getting your recorded music out to a wider audience?
I do not currently play live but it is easily my main goal at the moment. I’m currently in talks for a new guitarist so I aim to be gigging sooner rather than later.
What’s next for you? Will you be releasing any physical products? Are you happy having the control of releasing what you like digitally?
As for what’s next I am planning on releasing some physical merch such as shirts to try and get more direct support from fans, although I’m definitely too far off getting any CDs out at the moment.
To finish up can you give a few thoughts about these songs please: – Inside/Outside -Fake Faces – First Love – Eyes Unblinking
Inside/Outside is a very important song to me and one that I’m still proud of today. I think by exploring some of my anxieties through that song I was actually able to work through them and become a better version of myself.
Fake Faces is another song I remain incredibly proud of, however it was a particularly difficult one to get right due to the irregular time signature. The song was written at a time I was struggling with loneliness which I think can be seen through the self deprecating lyrics.
First Love is a song I look back at and cringe, filled with lyrics and melodies that I find boring and very easy to track, but it was the beginning of my career as a self produced engineer and got me started and for that I have to appreciate it.
Eyes Unblinking is just a straight forwards breakup song, with the lyrics being very direct and almost desperate. The sound you can hear right at the start of the track is actually bedsprings which I added to the track after listening to the track and bouncing in time with the track and loving the sound.
This interview was conducted by filmmaker, Grant McPhee