The Forever Now Finds: Interview with Dylan Goff

Having just come back from a weekend trip to Dublin, it seems appropriate that I might find myself writing about an Irish artist. Coincidentally we’ve had an interview lined up with Dylan Goff to talk about his new EP untethered (side two). A blend of singer-songwriter and indie rock influences, the EP unfolds wonderfully from each songs humble guitar-centric beginning into a big rogue wave of sound of drums, piano, and double bass. Catch our interview with Dylan Goff below, and don’t forget to give untethered (side two) a listen.

Can you tell us a little bit about your songwriting project and how it began?

I have been writing songs since I was a child and growing up I was always in bands. In my twenties I played a few gigs in bars and tried to play my own songs but I guess I was lacking the confidence to really commit to it. When I decided to start studying forestry, music went on the back burner. Around 2018 I started writing songs I was happier with, maybe because I was a bit older and more patient. I got to know some fellow songwriters in Vienna, and they really helped me to sharpen my skills, and take my first steps into gigging and recording again.

I think there is always a tension between the parts of us that are tied to where we come from and the parts of us that brought us to where we are

I see you’ve played a variety of live shows, can you give us one of your favourite or most impactful memories from your live performances?

They are all special in their own way! I have played some very grandiose places, like the Volkstheater in Vienna, or the Terme di Caracalla in Rome, which were great experiences. But my favourite gigs are always the intimate ones, the ones where I feel a communication with the audience, like the gig is something we are experiencing together. The two b-sides shows I played at Café Benno in Vienna are good examples of that.

I believe you are Austrian/Irish, is that correct? And how has your relationship with the two countries impacted your songwriting if at all?

I am Irish, I grew up in Drogheda, County Louth on the east coast of Ireland, and moved to Vienna aged 20 in 2003. Ireland is such a musically rich island, and Irish music has had a huge impact on my song writing. When I listen to the songs on my two EPs, I can hear the mark musicians like Christy Moore and Luke Kelly left on my musical development. Austria also has a strong musical tradition, a lot of history. It is in some ways quite a different place to Ireland, but I feel at home here. I think there is always a tension between the parts of us that are tied to where we come from and the parts of us that brought us to where we are, in both a psychological and physical sense. My song “Old Argyle Sweater” is about exactly that.

You have a new EP out called “untethered (side two)” following “untethered (side one)”, can you tell us a bit about the project and how the new EP relates to or differs from your debut EP?

Essentially, I couldn’t afford to put out an album at once. I wanted to document these songs in a recording, so I decided to split it into two EPs. The two records differ in that I had more experience for the second one. I knew the process better and was more aware of what I wanted from the EP. I think untethered (side two) is a step forward for me as a recording artist, I’m really proud of it!

What I love about my other life in forest science is that I get to concentrate on something bigger than my own ambitions

I love the massive drone and drum rolls that come in mid-way through I Get Lost. Can you describe a bit about how the instrumental of this song came together?

Yeah, so that song started life as a demo I recorded at home on reaper, and when I took it to my producer Daniel Fisher, he got what I was going for straight away. The drone you hear is an E-bow played by Dan. For the drums we recorded a reverse snare roll that we ran into a beat of an old marching band drum that the drummer on both EPs, Fabian Natter, had just bought. The guitar and vocals are more or less the same as the demo, but Michael Stark who plays keys on this EP came up with this gorgeous piano outro, and the bass is all double bass played by Emily Smejkal. We didn’t know she was going to bring the double bass to the recording sessions, but this song is one of the reasons I am very glad she did!

I see you’re incredibly passionate about forests, has this passion impacted your songwriting at all?

What I love about my other life in forest science is that I get to concentrate on something bigger than my own ambitions. My songwriting, online promo, booking, and even interviews like this (as nice as they are!) are all very focused on Dylan Goff. That’s dangerous territory for my mental health, I can start seeing my self-worth in terms of how people respond to my music. I love that I get to have this separate career that I am equally passionate about, where I can completely geek out about things like soil microbiology or forest ecology, things much bigger than myself that will still be here long after I am gone.

What artists are you listening to at the moment? What keeps you inspired?

I watched The Bear recently, then rewatched it about 5 times. It finishes with “Let Down” by Radiohead so I have been listening to OK Computer a lot lately! My friend Stuart Neville released a beautiful single called “Man Child” that I have listened to a lot since it came out. I made a pact with myself a while back to try to listen to new music that I wasn’t listening to before, because I think that helps me not to get into a rut with song writing. So, I’ve been discovering artists that I hadn’t got into yet, like Ezra Furman, Dan Mangan or Elliot Smith. But I also sneak in old favourites like Frightened Rabbit and Julien Baker from time to time.

What’s next for Dylan Goff?

2023 will be a gigging year for me. I want to play lots of live shows this year, also outside of Vienna. So anyone reading this who wants to book me, give me a shout!

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