Victoria-based singer/songwriter Matt Goud (aka Northcote) drops by The Vat Aug. 13.
The show will be in support of his latest self-titled CD, which was released this past spring through Black Box Recordings. The band is heading out onto the prairies for the next while to reconnect with fans and pick up some new listeners along the way.
Produced by Colin Stewart at The Hive in Vancouver, the latest record is his most confident disc to date.
From the full-fledged bluster of opening cut How Can You Turn Around, the infectious When You Cry to other gems like Find Our Own Way, the disc breaks new ground and it’s clear Goud isn’t wary of exploring all kinds of styles and genres. The Only One Who Knows My Name is mesmerizing in its sheer melodic uniqueness.
Burn Right Past Them All showcases his ability to pen songs full of imagery with a strong storytelling knack.
Born and raised in small-town Saskatchewan, his early exposure to music was a mix of traditional country on radio and the hymns he learned at his church. However, it wasn’t until he discovered punk and hardcore music that he realized music’s healing power.
“We were raised going to church every week, so that’s how I was forced to sing in public,” he laughs. “In my teen years, I got into punk music and it kind of blew my mind.” There was much about it that clicked with him, from its raw, robust energy to the differing world views that it presented to him lyrically.
“It was the first time I started thinking about things like animal rights and homophobia – I’d never heard about those things before in my hometown. It was kind of like an alternate universe that it took me into where I learned a lot of stuff.”
He then started up a band with some friends in high school, and the guys had a solid measure of success over several years – Goud toured for years as a member of the Means. The band broke up in 2008 and Goud has since transitioned into life on the road as a singer/songwriter with accompaniment by an ever-rotating slew of guests and friend musicians.
He relocated to Victoria, although the prairies offers much to emerging musicians, he said. “There’s pros and cons anywhere you go, I suppose. I still feel that my creative soul is still at home on the prairies, but things have changed being an artist out here as well.”
As to his latest CD, Goud further strengthens his voice as an emerging Canadian artist. Confident, full chords replace contemplative ballads, and the influence of his eclectic background of punk, soul and blues create a unique sound.
Songs including Counting Down the Days and I Hope the Good Things Never Die are also more fully realized and richer than his previous efforts, replete with grooving soul drums, horns, bass-lines, atmospheric guitar and sing-along group vocals.
This album sees Goud joined by Blake Enemark on guitar, Marek Tyler on drums, Olivier Clement on horn and Calgary artist Francis Gerrard on vocals.
Ultimately, Goud turns a new page with this record which was penned primarily in the passenger seat of a Dodge van parked along a seaside road in Victoria.
“Most of the songs on the record I wrote in the van, because our apartment is too small and I don’t want to scare the neighbours.”
Many pensive nights spent walking home from writing sessions and gigs throughout Victoria streets also helped shape a newfound confidence and connection to life as a musician for Goud, and listeners can hear this transformation in his voice.
“Usually I fumble around with some chords,” he explains of his craft. “If I’m having a strong sentiment, or the chords are reminding me of something, usually I’ll go with that – like a line I can build off from. It has to be a sentiment that happens to me at that time.”
And it’s not just the beauty of the west coast that sparks songwriting ideas. “I think that things that have been more inspiring are the experiences of moving to a new town and trying to find work, playing in different places and kind of pushing yourself to create a new set-up.
“There are definitely moments of inspiration, but I think you have to work for them.”