Toby Goodshank Songwriting Interview




Toby Goodshank Songwriting Interview


Toby Goodshank can be found playing Guitar in a friends group, writing songs, at an art ehxibition by his collective 3MB, playing with one of his projects like IowiA or even designing a new comic. I know him via a good mutual friend. I enjoyed the sincerity of his writing on “Truth Jump Fall” and that he was writing personal stories, not trying to write to trends. I knew his name before that from being the guitarist in The Moldy Peaches. When Jason Reitman was filming “Juno” he asked Ellen Page what music Juno would listen to and she said, “The Moldy Peaches”. This led to a whole lot more people knowing the song “Anyone Else But You.”  I really enjoyed this discussion with Toby. It may be the first “not safe for everyone” post but it’s a really good one.


Name:  Tobias Marbles Goodshank
Current City: Brooklyn, NY
Most Recent Release: Minus Días (2013)
Band Affiliation: I played rhythm guitar in The Moldy Peaches. I also sang back-up, co-wrote a few songs and shook things in Huggabroomstik. I also also played rhythm guitar and sang back-up in Brent Cole’s band Berth Control.

Brief Intro/Bio:  I was born and raised in Connecticut. I started playing guitar and writing songs when I was sixteen. I changed my name when I was eighteen and moved to NYC when I was 20 to begin walking the lifelong path of someone who loves to make things. I have self-released a bunch of albums since 2001. The bands The Frogs and Dufus were huge inspirations to me early on!
I’m looking for help releasing future albums, help organising tours, career help in general.
I am in an art collective called 3MB with my friends Adam Green and Macaulay Culkin.
I helped Adam to film a movie that he wrote and directed called The Wrong Ferarri.
Sometime soon I will help Adam make his film version of Aladdin.
I’m thirty-four years old.

OSW: What is your songwriting/composing process? 
Toby Goodshank: Ah, my songwriting process is always changing!
Lately I’ve just been writing lyrics around melodies that I come up with, usually on the fly. Trying not to force anything. Letting instrumental arrangements fall into place. Not rushing, just waiting for moments when writing feels free and easy. If it feels good to sing something, I’ll sing it!

OSW: You’re very prolific. You put out 2-3 albums a year along with various other projects in a variety of styles. Do you write everyday?
Toby Goodshank:  I don’t write every day! I wish I could. But I dry up sometimes like most other folks. I prefer to at least play and sing daily. I think that my prolific ways are indebted to a combination of generally not filtering any written/recorded material out even if the recordings are not perfect, and an urgent desire for the immediate communication of my thoughts and feelings. I’m not a verbose guy, so when I do have a little bit to say I am in a hurry for others to hear it.

OSW: You’ve lived in both new York and Berlin. Compare the art and music community and environment of both cities.
Toby Goodshank:  Oh man, I’ve been in Berlin just shy of a year, so I don’t feel like I’m qualified to make that kind of comparison. It’s been too short a time. I think that the music community that I became involved with twelve years ago in NYC is rare to find anywhere, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Super-fun and inspiring. The more tight-knit community that I am familiar with in Berlin seems to have been in a hibernation mode this winter; regrouping and reorganising. It will be interesting to visit in the near future to see what develops. I think in both scenes, as years go by, life begins to get in the way of being hell-bent on going out to play or hear music constantly, each participant needs to seek their own balance, people weave in and out of different circles …I dunno, both cities have cool art and music things going on! I’m more tapped-into the NY scene cuz i been there longer.

OSW: Your first solo painting exhibit was named after a Fritz Lang film. Do films also influence your songwriting?
Toby Goodshank: Hell yes, they do! So much. A lotta times I’ll attempt to organise songs on an album into a narrative, often inspired by film. And for instrumental arrangements and lyrics to be visually evocative… Lately I been gettin really into the films of Robert Downey Sr., especially ‘Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight’ (Moment to Moment).

OSW:Truth Jump Fall’ is a very, personal and intimate album. I say that because it’s the album I’m most familiar with. Is it hard to re-live dark and difficult times in your life by continuing to sing about them or is it therapeutic?
Toby Goodshank:  Thankfully it rarely feels difficult to me to revisit these moments in song. I can usually find away in which the content still applies to my life, even if the situation has changed, so that I can sing it and it will be honest and good. If I can’t feel honest and good whilst singing it, I just won’t sing it!

OSW: You also write comics. I remember seeing Will Knox, songwriter from the UK, who wrote a comic to go with his album. Would you ever release an album and comic following the same storyline? 
Toby Goodshank:  I suppose it’s possible, but unlikely for right now. I’m currently working on a quadruple-X rated comic that should hopefully debut early next year. I don’t think there are enough notes in any scale on this planet that could compliment the cornucopia of mutant cocks I’ve been drawing.

OSW: Tell us about your time with The Moldy Peaches. Did you do any writing with them?
Toby Goodshank:  It was a blast! It was being onstage with my five best friends. We’re still together in spirit, just not touring around. There were a few aborted attempts at new music composition towards the end of our run, and a few rejected jingles that we all threw down on. We choreographed a dance together to a Hulk Hogan song, that was a fucking milestone.

OSW: What do you think of the Antifolk movement?
Toby Goodshank:  I think it’s more of a group of friends than a cohesive musical movement, and I love these friends dearly! Really looking forward to hanging with everyone when I get back into town.

OSW: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Toby Goodshank:  It’s when Deenah sings Live and Let Die, “You Gotta Give The Other Fella Heaaaaad!” Is what McCartney originally had in mind but I’m sure there was a lotta pressure at that time to minimize the homoeroticism in solo Beatles songs. If they had been allowed to flourish as true artists into the nineties I propose that The Beatles would have reunited and emerged as the four supreme omnisexual New Gods, and this would have been reflected in their lyrics and in their liner notes and album art.

OSW: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Toby Goodshank:  Persevere! And forreal, be careful with drugs.

OSW: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why? 
Toby Goodshank:  I think this is one that would change depending on my mood, but right now I’d love to chat Daniel Smith up about the writing and recording process for the Danielson Famile album “Tell Another Joke At The Ol’ Choppin’ Block”, such a beautiful album that has brought me so much joy over the years. Also, would love to quiz Def Leppard on “Hysteria”. Also, Anthrax re: the writing process for their latest “Worship Music”, an album that gives me a big boner of the mind and spirit. Scott Walker… The list goes on!

OSW: If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Toby Goodshank:  Oh, The Frogs “It’s Only Right and Natural.” I wouldn’t have belonged there, though. Or maybe Scott Walker’s latest. Any Jandek album.

OSW: The follow-up to that. If you could do album cover art for any session, what would it be?
Toby Goodshank: Hmm, maybe any future Danny Brown release.

Toby Goodshank on the Web

All interviews and Bonus Materials, including Toby Goodshank, will be archived alphabetically HERE for easy access in the future.

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Thanks for spending some time here,

Our Scattered Words


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