Out Artist Tom Goss Reflects On His Newest Release And More
But WAIT, there’s more! While the Wait Project ushered Goss into a pop territory direction, he then released an EP of selected tracks, remixed (and several club-orientated), to further expand expectations. I was highly impressed by this effort to take an already career defining work of art and allow it’s impact to flourish.
Though Tom is in the mist of a tour, he has taken time to answer some questions for our readers about his craft and other projects he’s involved in.
Gaysonoma: Tom some time has passed since we last chatted in 2013 and you have been a busy boy with starring in the feature film “Out To Kill,” releasing your fifth album “Wait,” taking on challenging LGBT issues, and touring the States and Internationally. I imagine the last year has been a bit of an rollercoaster of thrills and creative excitement. I can only hope you’ve had time to reflect on these events. At this point what seems to have been the most gratifying and the most challenging and why?
Tom Goss: I’m extremely proud of ‘Wait.’ I think it’s a great record and I’m excited that people continue to respond positively to it. For me, the process of creating is always what I’m most gratified by. In addition to what you’ve mentioned professionally, on a personal note I ruptured my achilles tendon, underwent surgery/rehab and moved to Los Angeles in that time period. That was, without a doubt, the greatest challenge. In many ways it seems like 2014 was a period of upheaval and change that I wasn’t expecting. It forced me to adapt and grow in ways I wasn’t expecting.
Gaysonoma: Funny you mentioned surgery Tom, I myself dealt with that in the last year. It’s a surefire way to change your perspective on things and re-think priorities and what’s important in the future! “Wait” was an incredible effort on your part and I sensed you were leaning towards a more “pop” experience with that, aside from the remixes which I found simply unexpected and fascinating. On the original “Wait” release what took you in that direction?.
Tom Goss: There’s a handful of reasons. I was spending a lot more time exploring new kinds of music, especially EDM (Electronic Dance Music). A lot of that was influenced by my work with Rich Morel when producing ‘Bears.’ He’s amazing. I would go to his dance parties and I loved everything he was spinning. Before his influence I hadn’t heard much EDM that moved me. Subsequently, it changed my approach in the studio.
You’ve also got to understand that I have no musical training. Everything I’ve learned I’ve learned hands on. By the time I was producing ‘Wait,’ I had a clear understanding of what I wanted. Even more importantly, I understood the language, approach and people that would help get me there.
Speaking of people, in addition to Mike Ofca (Back To Love, Turn It Around) I enlisted my friend Liz DeRoche to help mix the record. She’s one of my inspirations, her talent is boundless. She plays the drums, keys, synth and all the vocal arrangements on ‘Wait.’ Her insights really helped push the level to the next level.
Gaysonoma: It’s always a great thing to fine-tune one’s craft. I was thinking about the Wait Remixes and wondered if you had the chance to experience them in a “club” setting. Generally performers get great satisfaction watching their audience as they perform live or hearing their song on the radio and that sort. For “dance music” I would imagine it would be a great high to see people dancing to your music and even participating in the Celebratory Act yourself along side them. Has that opportunity presented itself with the Wait Remixes and if so, what was the feeling for you?
Tom Goss: Yes, I have. I’ve even performed them in clubs. It’s definitely a new experience, and one that I’m really enjoying. There is something extremely satisfying about seeing a room full of people dancing to your song. I will definitely be producing a lot more remixes as I move forward. I really appreciate the collaborative process.
Gaysonoma: My favorites off the Wait Remixes EP are “Illuminate The Dark” and “Falling.”The original version of “Illuminate The Dark”is the most powerful track on the original Wait album, aside from the video image you gave to it, which of course enhanced it incredibly. It really does stand out as a high moment in your catalog. The remixes gave in an additional feel while still holding the dramatic quality of the original track. Aside from the recognition you have already achieved with it, I really thought that song was going to take off and catapult you to international fame and notoriety It should have been your “Stay With Me-Sam Smith” moment, land on one of those “Now” collections or “Ministry of Sound” compilations, and find a home in the Big Box markets. I’m sure others in business have praised that track to you. Your thoughts?
Tom Goss: Wow, what a sweet thing to say. The truth is, it’s hard being an independent musician. I try to take on ambitious projects, but you never know how folks are going to react to it. I don’t have a marketing team working with me, I don’t have strong industry connections. I create what I create in hopes that it’ll touch people on a personal level. The great thing about the music industry today, is that I’m able to get my music and my message out there, without big box stores or ‘Now’ collections having any idea who I am. And trust me, they have no idea I exist. I’m not complaining, just explaining. I’m extremely lucky to be able to reach the people I do. I’m grateful for that. However, it would be nice to see some mainstream recognition in the future, no doubt!
Gaysonoma: Well Tom as an independent, you are surely top of line. The sound quality of your music and the film work with your associated videos appear top of the line and major label. You certainly have the right people around you. The world is waking up and it’s only a matter of time when the right people are recognized. Sadly the right people don’t always get to the big leagues.
It makes me think of an instance of where my young niece was singing along with a song last year, which happened to be her favorite song of the moment, and had no clue that the artist was gay. When I told her she didn’t believe me and so of course I proceeded to educate her. It didn’t matter if the artist was gay or not, a good song is a good song. In any TV appearance she saw him on, it was never mentioned by him or the interviewer.
I was wondering as an Out Artist what are your thoughts on mainstream acts like Sam Smith and Adam Lambert, and also flying “under the radar” Steve Grand and Adore Delano? Personally I don’t think the mainstream is focused on issues. You only hear from them on an award show or when some tragic thing happens that is covered nationally. I think it would serve the LGBT community better if they displayed more gratitude with their success and in every interview, they would discuss LGBT related ideas/issues along with promoting their new project. They’ve already come out, so the “hurt my career” worry shouldn’t be an obstacle. I feel we need stronger role models, do you agree?
Tom Goss: I have mixed feelings about it all. Who am I to tell someone else how to live their lives? Especially with something as sensitive as sexual identity. That said, you are right, we need more strong role models in the mainstream arts community. Many gay artists are OK with being gay insofar as it advances their career, however, they cease to talk about it when it no longer is beneficial. I spent the weekend at VidCon and like your niece, it seems like the majority of the YouTube generation is ‘post-gay.’ That’s really exciting! However, that wouldn’t have been possible without generations and generations of trailblazers forging that path. I hope we don’t forget that. Furthermore, no matter how much progress we make, there will always be people who hate me, simply because I am gay. Pretending it’s a non-issue is ignoring reality.
Gaysonoma: I like your answer and agree. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who’s in your bed, but how your bed is made. I think there is hope for the new generation as they are smarter about worldly things and seem to question more about what they are taught. There will always be those who are weak of mind, so discrimination will always be lurking in the background regardless. So to lighten the mood Tom, tell me what causes are you currently involved in? Is there anything our readers might help you support?
Tom Goss: I’ll probably always be most closely connected to the non-profit which I helped develop for 8 years called Charlie’s Place (www.charliesplacedc.org). Charlie’s Place works to feed, house and employ homeless and poor individuals in Washington, DC. I wouldn’t be who I am without my time there. I learned so much about compassion, generosity and authenticity.
Gaysonoma: Tom, you also tend to send great messages with the video interpretations of your songs. From the sweetness of ‘You Know That I Love You” with your Husband Mike, the magical wonders of “Make Believe,” the playfulness camp in “Bears,” and of course the phenomenal before mentioned “Illuminate The Dark,” you involve a lot of thought process and the genuine meaning shines through brightly. Do you plan on any other visionary projects from “Wait” or “The Wait Remixes?”
Tom Goss: In a couple weeks I’ll release ‘Breath and Sound,’ probably my most ambitious video yet. Completely told through lyrical dance, this video features three couples as they fall in love. Gay and straight, the feelings and emotions we all go through while falling in love are the same. Regardless of the dancer, the dance is the same. I’m excited for people to see it.
Gaysonoma: I’ll certainly be anticipating that! Now, looking ahead at 2016, are there plans for a new album? Your dabbling in remixes and new sounds seems to have opened doors creatively. Also collaborations seem to suit you well and also enhance your own ideas. Maybe a look back at your catalog and re-inventing some of your established tracks might be a direction or a nice collective overview. What’s ahead for Tom Goss?
Tom Goss: I’m always cooking up a lot of different projects. First I’ll be releasing a beautiful new, lyrical dance music video in 3 weeks. It’s a collaboration with choreographer/dancer Andrew Pirozzi and director Michael Serrato. I can’t wait for people to see it. Also, I’m in pre-production on another music video, that hopefully will take all my video production to the next level.
In terms of music, you’re right, it’s hard for me to sit still. I’ve been cooking up a new album. It’s been a different process for me because I’ve upgraded my home studio and am doing all of my work from home. Then sending files over to my producer, Marr Zimm, and he’s getting his head around them. There are a lot of different sounds on this record and I think people will be surprised and excited by it. This project is extremely revealing, and touches on topics that I’ve been avoiding. I’m always about pushing the envelope, hopefully this does just that.
You can find more information about Tom Goss at his website www.tomgossmusic.net