Interview: La Sera

La Sera is the project of Katy Goodman bassist for the Vivian Girls, her new album, which shows more of her melodic side came out 14th February. We met up with her on the final date of her European Tour in London.

First thing I wanted to ask is that I always see you referred to as ‘Kickball’ Katy Goodman just wondered where that came from?

My nickname has been ‘Kickball Katy’ for the last ten years because when I was seventeen I was a member of a super secret Kickball society, in Rochester New York but I’m not allowed to talk about it

Was music something you always wanted to do?

I never thought I could do music; it was never even a possibility in my mind. I went to for college physics, finished then college for teaching, I was going to be a physics teacher, then the month I was looking for jobs was the month the Vivian Girls took off and started doing stuff. My music career happened by accident, a happy accident.

This album is quite a different sound to the Vivian Girls, what were the influences for it?

There were no direct influences, I wasn’t aiming for it to sound like anything. Actually the first song on the album, ‘Beating Heart’, I wrote after hearing Fever Ray, so I was like I wanna make my own creepy sounding songs. That was the only one where I was aiming for a particular sound.

One thing for me was the record seemed quite nostalgic, some similarities to Real Estate and that scene.

Real Estate? I went to high school with them. I dunno I think making music like this is all I’ve ever known, people always say to me very nostalgic, old timey sounding. I’m like “what’s new timey sounding?” When people say it’s very modern or new, I don’t know, to me ‘modern sounding’ means techno. I don’t know how to make music that’s ‘today’; I don’t know what that means. I’m not sure I want to know.

You seem to play London a lot; what’s your impression of London?

My impression of London is completely formed by my relationship with Male Bonding. If it weren’t for them I don’t know how I would feel about London because I don’t know many other people but from the day the Vivian Girls first stepped foot in England, through friends, like through a friend of a friend, we got in touch with John from Male Bonding, he let us stay in his house. From that day on we’re best friends forever. Whenever we’re in town we stay with them, they make us feel like we’re at home its very nice and so I’d say that’s my main impression of London, is how wonderful the boys in Male Bonding are.

I saw you tweeted that you didn’t like the fact that you were compared to other Girl bands, which I think was to do with the Coke Machine Glow review. But more generally I was wondering about your feelings of being labeled a girl group?

It seems completely unfair because, there are so many bands in this world that are all male, they don’t get compared to each other just because they’re all male, that’s not something that happens, it just doesn’t happen. Just because a band is all girls, La Sera is not all-girl but it’s female led, I don’t think it warrants comparisons to other bands just because of that. I think it’s unfair, especially because that article was very harsh to Best Coast who I’m friends with, really good friends with them, so its hard to have people write articles about your friends and say, “your friends suck”. I don’t want to read that. Who wants to read that?

Lots of Girl Bands get asked “are you a feminist?” Does matter much to you, or the idea that you somehow represent or encourage other girls to get involved in music?

I don’t think that being involved in music and in a band is necessarily feminist; I would definitely say I am a feminist, however. I think its still crazy to be a girl in a band is a political statement. It should just be normal, it shouldn’t be seen as being any different than if it a male band. It’s true that being girl in a band it is its own statement, it’s a thing. I do want to encourage other girls to play in bands till we’re at the point where it’s not a weird thing to be a girl in a band.

Were there any particular females figures in music that made you think music was more open to you?

One of the main reasons I started playing, when I was twenty I was listening to Julie Ruin, which is Kathleen Hanna’s from Bikini Kill’s side project. She had this song called the ‘Punk Singer’, it was my favourite song the whole year, my number one favourite song. I realised that song was only four chords, repeating the entire song, the song does not change at all, it’s the easiest song ever made chord-wise. That’s when I realised you can do a lot with just four chords and melody and so that was my main inspiration to play music at all. I don’t need to be a virtuoso on guitar in order to make music that I like, definitely Kathleen Hanna.

One final question, do you have any plans for more making albums under the La Sera name?

Yes definitely. The second album is half written. Right now I am thinking how I want it to sound, I’ve kind of envisioned the record as a record, that’s where I’m at.