Northcote’s new record is tightly eclectic
by Chris Morin
Saskatchewan musician Matt Goud has a enviable track record — both under his folk moniker, Northcote, and in his previous work with the post-hardcore band Means — but his latest record is by far his most fully realized to date. Incorporating a mix of punk, soul and blues, Goud’s self-titled offering is a culmination of eclectic influences. And growing up.
“This one’s my first musical effort as an adult,” says Goud. “That’s corny, but I’m in my late 20s and there’s a lot of social pressure to get your shit together.”
For his third album as Northcote, Goud has harnessed a songwriting style that will invariably draw comparisons to Springsteen and, to a lesser extent, The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn. The album opens with Goud strumming a joyous-sounding acoustic guitar before opening up with a full band and a chorus of background vocals seemingly conjured from his hardcore past.
“Last year I took a bunch of time off the road and was living and working in Victoria,” says Goud. “In the fall I went into the studio at The Hive. I had a big batch of songs; we worked through them and finished it in November. I wanted to have a more fun record as opposed to a contemplative singer/songwriter album. I wanted to come out of my shell and have a bit more of an expressive record, and I think it’s going to show on this tour.
“Lyrically, I wanted this record to have a lot of confidence and a tone of perseverance. It’s all about belief in yourself,” he says.
Overall, the album retains the singer/songwriter flavour, but the music is far more road-worn and tight. It’s ragged, anthemic music that the punks and folkies can both agree on. Aided by driving basslines and frequent trumpet interludes, the album keeps a relatively upbeat mood while giving audiences plenty of chances for sing-alongs.
It’s a style that Goud has wanted to adopt for some time.
“I would find myself on the road thinking of which songs to play from my catalogue, and I kept wishing I had more energetic songs to play,” says Goud. “I didn’t have those. I want to get pumped up, and this material counters a very quiet year.
“I wanted to go to my writing to get that confidence to make an album like this and really go for it.”
Originally based in Manitoba, Goud relocated to Regina along with his hardcore group, Means. Playing frequent all-ages and hall shows, the group managed to gain a following in Christian punk circles and ended up signing with Facedown Records.
After Means broke up, Goud packed his bags and made his way out west to Victoria, which he now calls home. His past success has been gratifying, says Goud, but he’s very much in the moment these days.
“I’m thinking a lot bigger with this record,” he says. “I’d like to tour more with a full band. I’m bringing three other people along now, so we won’t be doing as much old stuff this time around.
“That doesn’t mean that’s how it’s going to be forever,” he says. “It’s just the mood I’m in — to express myself more physically with this music.”