My Goodness is yet another slice of hard rock, ahem, goodness to come out of the Pacific Northwest. Hailing from Seattle, Washington, and the duo–comprised of Joel Schneider (guitar/vocals) and Andy Lum (drums)–are awash in soulful rock vibes, especially on their new album Shiver and Shake, due out this June.
Halfway through their first national tour, a 30-date stint as openers for Augustines, Joel took some time out while they were in Virginia to talk about their origins, the new music, and what New York audiences can expect from their “first real New York show.”
My Goodness opens for Augustines at Bowery Ballroom tonight, 3/3, at 9:00 p.m.
Tell me about growing up in Seattle. Did you and Andy grow up in the midst of the grunge explosion at that time?
We were in elementary school. We were young when that was happening [laughs]. It definitely shaped the music we got into later on, like in high school. We just kind of had a propensity to listen to heavier music, I think. And there was a pretty thriving hardcore scene in Seattle while we were in high school. We would go see bands like Blood Brothers and These Arms Are Snakes. We definitely have a background in heavier music for sure because of the grunge scene.
What was your involvement in the hardcore scene while you were in high school? Is that when you started performing or did you just attend shows back then?
[Andy and I] were both in punk bands in high school, but we mostly just went to shows. Constantly. It’s kind of funny now because we’re playing with our friend Cody who plays bass for us now. He was the guitarist in the Blood Brothers. He’s been on tour with us, so it’s been pretty cool to have him on board. We used to see his band all the time when we were in high school. Mostly though we were going to the shows then. We were in pop punk bands [laughs] and competing in Battle of the Bands. That’s actually how me and Andy met. We were around 15 or 16 years old and we were in pop punk bands and played at the Battle of the Bands in high school. We were both at separate high schools and in separate bands, so that’s how we originally found out about each other. We actually didn’t talk for three years afterwards, but we knew about each other through that experience while we were in high school.
How did the two of you reconnect three years later to form My Goodness and move away from the pop punk scene?
I think when I was around 21, I walked into a bar and heard Muddy Waters and was like “what is this?” It was great, so I started listening to more blues and soul and stuff like that when I was in my early 20s. I was learning to write music and started experimenting with things on guitar. It wasn’t until a couple years later I started writing a lot more songs on guitar and brought them into a practice session with a guy I worked with named Ethan. I hadn’t ever play the electric guitar before but picked up during the practice and said “woah this sounds pretty good!”
I worked at a venue named Neumos, it’s like a 600, 700-person room, and we were having an employee band night. We had about three or four songs and a two-piece band we decided to put together for our band night and the reaction was beyond what we had gotten when we were in other bands. The reason why our working title for that show was “My Goodness” was that it was our goodness, our selves, literally were planning on playing that show. We decided to take that working title and go ahead.
So that’s how the band started and within that year we signed to a little local label and put out a record. We were buying the record back from the label months after it came out so now we have tons of vinyl laying around [laughs]. But yeah, that’s how things started and things didn’t work out with Ethan pretty quickly, and that’s when I hit up Andy. We actually connected at SXSW that year, 2012. We reconnected and talked about it, and then we ended up playing a music festival in Portland a few months later. We decided to record a record last year, and it’s all done now. We just have to master it and put it out in June.
What can be expected from the upcoming album, Shiver and Shake?
We were able to take a little more time with the record. The first record, the one I did with Ethan, we only had a few days to record it. There were several things that weren’t exactly perfect and would require time. But the new record, we had a lot more time to get things right. Also, playing with Andy, his meter and tempo are pretty phenomenal. Overall the record is more put together and more polished. And I felt it allowed me a little more room in songwriting and give a lot more into the songs. I’m pretty excited for the record!
What kind of influences did you draw from while putting this together? I’m getting a lot of ’70s hard rock vibes.
We definitely have a propensity to write heavy music and at the same time our love for soul and blues and classic rap is definitely present in the songwriting. I think we pulled from a hodgepodge of those. I think that’s really where it comes from. We really just play what feels good to us. We have some slow songs and some of the really heavy songs. Like on this tour, for instance, in each city, we’ve been picking which songs to play and which songs not to play. Some of it might be a little heavy for some audiences. I think that’s really where it comes from.
And this is your first national tour, correct?
Yeah, so everything after San Diego is new to us. We did a short little tour down the West Coast last year, but everything else is new!
What are you learning about and getting used to while touring nationally for the first time?
It’s been great! It’s been really rewarding to play for people who have never heard you before. Everyone out here is hearing us for the first time, for the most part. We have fans in a couple different cities, but mostly in the South, I don’t think anyone had ever heard of us before [laughs]. When we get further North, we’ll definitely have some fans at shows, like in Chicago and Minneapolis. We played there once a couple years ago. Besides that, it’s just rewarding to play for people who have never heard of you and meet people. The shows down South were a little slow, but we definitely have met a lot of new people.
So have you played in New York before?
We did a one-off show two years ago at Piano’s. It was kind of like a showcase thing. It was kind of interesting actually. It wasn’t like a show show, but this will definitely be our first real show in New York.
What can New York audiences expect from My Goodness at their real New York debut then?
[Laughs] We’re loud! We just like to have a good time on stage and hope that it translates to the audiences and fans and can have an equally good time.