INTERVIEW | Tom Goss1st June 2015
Google Tom Goss, I dare you. The guy is prodigious and will keep you online, amused, toe-tapping, for days! He’s been likened to Jack Johnson – they share the same penchant for flip-flops and casual chic, and guitars!
His a renaissance man in that he writes his own materials, covers some tracks in a quirky and unique way, writes and acts in his videos, and has now dipped a toe into the world of straight acting with the imminent DVD release of the movie “Out to Kill” and 2, yes 2 of his music releases.
I had the chance recently to pick his brains about his work, his love of bears, and his penchant for getting his kit off
How would you describe what you do? What’s your “job description”?
I describe myself as a singer, songwriter and video maker. Obviously it’s more than that but I try to keep it simple. I work hard to create meaningful and fun art. Like many independent artists, my productions often cross genres musically and visually. I try to push the boundaries and do things new and interesting. Most of all, I just want to touch people. If I make them smile or feel something they didn’t before they listened or watched, I did my job.
You’re known for your original songs, but also for your cover versions. Which do you prefer doing?
I prefer doing my own material, and I have a lot of it. My live shows are 95% original material. Luckily for me, that’s what most my listeners respond to most often. That said, the internet loves cover songs! That means I make fun cover videos. Similarly to above, I try to keep it interesting and different, you won’t catch me sitting in a chair just plucking my guitar. It’ll usually involve household items as instruments, loop pedals or crazy green screen antics.
Your videos are well known for being quirky and slightly off the wall, who originates the ideas? Describe the process.
I think about videos all the time. It’s how the world consumes media. It’s how the world consumes new music. Think about it, when was the last time someone posted an amazing song on their Facebook wall? It doesn’t happen. Now, if that amazing song is in YouTube format, it might just get posted. Sadly, an amazing song is nothing these days without an amazing video.
That means I think about videos all the time. I come up with lots of ideas, not all of them are feasible (too expensive, too technically difficult, too silly), but some are. I’m churning over in my head how to make 3 different videos right now, hahahaha
The process of creation usually starts by me convincing people that it’ll be fun, cool and possible. I’m very lucky, I have a number of great collaborators that embrace my ideas and help make them possible rather than dismiss them as too off the wall. That said, they’re not always my ideas. Every day people tell me what I should be doing. Usually they’re not up my alley, but every now and again people have amazing ideas (the music video for Lover was not my idea). I’m always willing to abandon an idea if someone comes along with a better one.
In your recent All About that Bass, you semi-drag up with the wig and make-up – any plans to go all the way? And how do you “recruit” your co-stars?
That video was an idea I pitched a couple days before shooting the music video for Wait (soon to be released). I saw we had a light shoot schedule so said, ‘hey, while we have the green screen up let’s make another video!’ There was some hemming and hawing (it turned our chill 2 day shoot into a frantic 2 day shoot) but everyone loves that song so we thought it would be funny.
How we recruited? That goes back to me being lucky to have such fun folks around me. The folks in the video were my crew and a couple folks that had parts in Wait (the other video we were filming) that we convinced to dance in front of a green screen. It was really that simple. ‘MDQ’ is actually our on set makeup artist, he’s been doing makeup since Lover (2010). I knew he could sing so I asked if he ever performed in drag. Lucky me, he had some experience and we were off!
You aren’t ashamed of showing off that body where does the confidence come from?
I don’t know. To be honest, I’m not sure it’s confidence, I think it’s necessity more than anything. Sometimes my videos require some skin, so I show it. I’ve gotten much more comfortable with it over the years. I definitely would not have done it early in my career. These days I see it as fun and campy, I’m embracing my body more as a tool that can be used as sexy or funny or dramatic. Additionally, if we’re being blunt, my audience is gay men, gay men love videos with half naked men. So… there’s that too.
Illuminate the Dark is one of our favourite tracks ever – what inspired it? And the appearance of Alex Minsky in your video was inspired – how did that come about?
Thank you! It’s one of mine too. The director (Michael Serrato) and I were just talking about the song and it’s message of beauty and acceptance. We started seeing it as a literal illumination of that which makes us the most beautiful. I see beauty in places that most people don’t, I don’t know if that makes me lucky or odd, it just is. We started talking about people that were untraditionally beautiful, and we wanted to show them in a way where their beauty shone brightest.
Alex Minsky is amazing and inspirational. He was one of the first people that came to my mind once we settled on a storyline for Illuminate the Dark. How did we link up? Honestly, I just sent him a message. I was shocked when he responded immediately. Obviously he’s beautiful physically, but his real beauty shines in his positive attitude and charming personality. It was a pleasure working with him.
Now let’s chat about Bears? I love this song and its accompanying video – seems to be a message of acceptance and whatever your size, who cares? Love it – and wondered what the back story was? And for our British bears out there….any truth on your preference for bears?
I love that people still ask me that question. I mean, I wrote a song and made a huge production about how ‘bears got the best of me’ and ‘bears are my fantasy’ but people still think it’s a put on, hahahaha. Of course I love bears! I’m married to a bear. In fact, he’s the big, bald, bearded, adorably dancing guy in All About That Bass and also the man I wake up to in bed at the end of Bears, in our actual bed mind you. I think that answers the back story too. In short, I LOVE BEARS!
What other projects are you working on? What can your YouTube and Facebook fans look forward to next?
Working on a holiday song right now (way quirkier than you’re thinking most likely) and finishing up a remix EP, both slated for a December release. I was in a movie last year ‘Out To Kill’ that releases on DVD 12/9. Other than that I’m writing a lot. Working on a couple bigger, still hush hush projects. Oh, and of course I’m performing. I’ll be back out on the road in 2015, singing, dancing and meeting awesome new folks.
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