Because we were so excited about Goh Nakamura‘s CD release show at CafÃ© du Nord last Wednesday we slacked-off a bit. We neglected our dishes and lost focus on our work. We also failed to notice the blue/green mold growing on the leftovers we microwaved for lunch. Consequently we spent Wednesday night shivering beneath a blanket, Rubbermaid “sick” bin close at hand. Indeed, food poisoning is probably the closest a living person can get to death, which, in most cases, would be preferred. Luckily we were able to pick Nakamura’s brain via email the day before, the results of which we reprint here:
Bay Bridged: Has licensing your music for use in films been a positive experience? Describe the feeling of hearing your song on the big screen.
Goh Nakamura: I think so. It’s definitely good for the resume. The song I have in Feast of Love is so far in the background that I missed it completely when I saw the premiere. I thought that they had made a mistake and left it out. The music for the Ridley Scott films is different, much more prominent in the mix. Usually the first thing I think about when I hear the music on the big screen is where I was when I recorded the particular track, like “oh yeah- that’s me tapping on a banjo with a Jaw harp in the guest room.”
BB: How important has the internet been to your career?
GN: It’s been crucial. Around 2002 I started posting the songs from my first album to a totally ghetto webpage I threw together, just hoping someone would find it by accident and download it and dig it. I wasn’t even thinking of selling it, or releasing it on a mass scale. It was more of a message in a bottle in hopes of connecting with someone, any kindred spirit just surfing around who might be doing the same thing. Luckily, I started to meet some bloggers through mutual friends, and they started to link and blog about me, which was really nice of them. Then, last year I had a music video featured on the Youtube homepage directed and conceived by my friend Dino Ignacio. The response was incredible, I was getting messages from all over the world… it was like a virtual tour.
BB: I love the playfulness of your lyrics. Where do you think that humor comes from? Do you sit down and think “I’m going to write a humorous song”?
GN: Thanks, I’m glad you appreciate the cheese. I am a corny bastard and have been making up stupid rhymes and puns since I can remember. I think the silliness in the songs is a bit of a defense mechanism to try and balance any bleakness I might be feeling. I try not to premeditate the tone of the songs lyrically; it’s usually just a reaction to my emotions at the moment.
BB: Were you crushed when Natalie Portman started dating Devendra Banhart?
GN: Yes. Thanks for bringing that up PAL. Naw, I’m playin’. I think that’s cool. I remember looking at her iTunes celebrity playlist and was stoked that she had Vetiver on it. They’re from the Richmond district I believe. I used to live in the Richmond. I have a feeling that Devendra is a total sweetheart. I’d be more crushed if she started dating some total douchebag.
BB: In spite of not having a “big record deal” you’ve had some early successes. Do you have any advice for other unsigned musicians?
GN: Don’t be a douchebag. Don’t rhyme “fire” and “desire” unless you’re writing a Rick James tribute. Buy my album on CD if you dig it. Download my album if you dig it. Give it to a friend but come to my show and buy a CD or a beer or both. Make me want to buy your album by being awesome and inspiring musically or lyrically. There are no short cuts. I think you have to make a commitment to the long haul and hard work. The only analogy I can think of is being the writer/director/cinematographer/editor/actor/composer/publicist/caterer/stuntman/bestboy/fluffer to your own indie film. Obviously that’s a lot of hats to wear so you’ll definitely need some help. Get help. Also, watch this awesome John Vanderslice interview.