Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with Northcote

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Matt Goud of Northcote over Zoom video

Canadian singer/songwriter Northcote (aka Matt Goud) is gearing up for his US debut this fall. But first, let us share a little more about this troubadour who sonically falls in line with Ruston Kelly and Lori McKenna: wistfully intimate vocals mixed with a rock n’ roll poet’s heart.

Here are 4 things you need to know about Northcote:

Rock N’ Roll Poet: he’s heavily inspired by artists ranging from Lori McKenna to Strand of Oaks; he’s a self-described “gentle giant singing poems and stories that shed light on personal growth, love, family, friendship and spirituality with steadfast energy and storytelling imagery.”

A cappella religious singing to heavy metal: growing up in Carlyle, Saskatchewan (pop. 1500), Goud grew up wanting to star in musicals. He quickly dove into music, first taking up the piano, guitar and drums and joining the school band in his elementary and middle school years. He even joined a capable religion singing group and event sent out to perform with a Canadian heavy metal band for over 6 years.

Seminary drop-out turned mental health worker & touring troubadour: Dreams and reality quickly collided and when Goud graduated from his Christian boarding school he went on to ministry until dropping out at 21. Now — when he’s not in the studio or on the road — he’s a harm reduction and mental health worker in shelters and safe injection sites.

Self-acceptance, reconnection and intimacy: on his upcoming album, he delivers sonic patchwork of warmly crafted folk/Americana storytelling about self-acceptance, intimacy and liberating feeling of releasing yourself form guilt and shame, while seeking genuine and honest connection.

Northcote is the performance moniker for Victoria-based singer and songwriter, Matthew Goud. A troubadour at heart, Goud has been writing songs and touring the world for most of his adult life. With three full-length projects, two EPs and over 500 shows performed globally alongside some of the heavyweights of his genre, Goud’s is a familiar voice to many in the community. 2020 sees the latest iteration of Northcote, one that finds his signature raspy-sweet voice effortlessly laid over a beautifully blended landscape of folk and Americana. Drawing inspiration from two years of self-reflection and exploration, the forthcoming collection of songs, Let Me Roar (October 2020) are the most personal and affecting of his career to date. 

The first single “Dancers and Queens”, leads the way in this regard. The song lauds those who Goud sees as having taken the less conventional path in life, a group of which he considers himself and some of those closest around him to be members. Of the song, Goud remarks. “I have wrestled with fear and guilt as I have grown into the person I am today. I have tried my best to be open to where my heart, mind and soul was leading me to in my life up to this point. The story and visuals of a youthful traveller resonates with me even now, since I am still on my journey to find more Dancing and to find that hidden gem that is a crown that fits only me.”

Subsequent singles, “Keep On Saying Goodbye”, a song about real or imagined borders in a relationship, and “Nine To Midnight” which explores the sacrifices that parents make to provide for their families, continue this theme of personal yet relatable stories. This is something Northcote has endeavoured to capture in his songs throughout his career and has achieved in spades with this new batch of songs. If there is a hallmark to the new material beyond his distinguished voice, it’s the stories he has been able to tell.

With roots in mid-western Canada and having lived in over a dozen places during his time as Northcote, Goud has settled in Victoria, British Columbia with his wife where he does social work while not on the road. His outward dedication to the community, especially marginalized communities is commendable, and finds its roots in his faith upbringing. This of course weaves itself into the fabric of his songs as well.

With no touring for the foreseeable future, Northcote is without one of his most powerful points of connection with fans, new and old. Having toured from small clubs, to beautiful churches and alternative spaces, to some of the biggest concert halls in the world, Goud is routinely praised for his ability to make any venue an intimate, personal affair. Performing solo, or along with accompaniment in a duo or quartet format, Goud’s presence on stage is equally captivating. As we all hope for the quick containment of the global pandemic, Goud yearns for the opportunity to get back on the road to share these songs and these stories with audiences around the world.

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