The Good Mad is a folk-indie band from Los Angeles, California. They’re sweet and truthful personalities shine through their most recent EP titled Face Your Feels, making it a feel-good collection of tracks. Check out our interview with them below and be sure to check out their music.
THE GOOD MAD is composed of: Allie Gonino from Dallas, Adam Brooks from Nashville, and Andy Fischer-Price from Seattle.
Our interview with The Good Mad
Adam, what was the first instrument you fell in love with and what do you remember best about the music in Nashville?
[Adam]: The first instrument that I actually dropped the L-bomb with was an Epiphone single cutaway sunburst acoustic guitar that my dad got me for christmas when I was maybe 15 or so. That guitar has been so many places with me and really had a lot of songs in it, so good to write on. She was quite a workhorse and we spent a lot of hours together, but has been replaced by upgrades after quite a few years of occasional drunken abuse. I think it’s at my parents’ house in Nashville. It developed a buzz that started to really irritate me and I can’t find where it’s coming from.
Andy, moving from Seattle to Los Angeles at 17 seems like such a great leap! What did you wish to accomplish at that age? Has your perspective on music and the industry accompanying it changed since then?
[Andy]: Well, I was one of the millions of hopeful teenagers who came to LA seeking success as an actor. I was pretty certain I would be rich and famous within a year, but instead found myself with a lot of time on my hands. Some of which, luckily, I used to start playing guitar and writing songs. I’ve been on a break from acting for a couple years now, and have effectively changed my major to music. Looking back, I think too much of my focus was on wanting to “make it” as an actor and not on my craft, so I’d say that’s one way my perspective has changed (and this applies to all art): you have to focus on your craft even though the industry seems to be telling you to focus on “making it”. And even though it seems like the folks who have “made it” just “woke up like this” and were born phenomenally talented and ready for stardom, their success came from an deep focus and love for their craft. The ones I love at least.
Allie, you mentioned in a prior interview that your journey will ultimately lead you to find yourself. How do you feel your journey, accompanied by music and film will lead you find yourself? Do you ever struggle in staying true to yourself being part of the film and music industry, particularly in Los Angeles?
[Allie]: Absofuckinglutely. Every single day. I’m more confused about what it means to “be myself” or be “true to myself” than ever before, because we’re living in a world where we’re constantly being flooded with information and stimuli. At the same time, I’m technically always “with” myself… So… I’m really never too far away. I don’t know what the hell I meant before, I say a lot of things that don’t make sense. When I make music or act, it’s a reflection of my perspective on the world, so in that way, if I’m ever confused about my place in it, art brings me back to centeredness.
In your band description you share “…madness can fuel acts of violence and revenge; alternatively it can fuel art, tell a story, and help humanity,” how do you feel your madness will help humanity? What is your ultimate goal with your lyrics and music compositions?
[Andy]: Man, great question. I guess we can start by just making music that improves someone’s day. I can think of shows I’ve been to and songs I love that have improved my life and played a positive role in shaping me into me. It’s pretty amazing to think that we could be a part of that kind of tradition. And from that, if we can somehow inspire people to make music and write songs themselves, we’ve gone one step further. That’s got to be helping humanity, right?
Absofuckinglutely. Ha. How does the title of your band fully represent you?
[Allie]: As far as I can tell, none of us are sociopaths, but we’re all crazy artists that seek to express beauty and truth in the world. There are plenty of things we all get mad, or passionate or confused about in life. I think madness comes as a result of wanting to preserve and protect what is good, what you love. That’s what this band represents; a space to fill with our madness and turn it into something that might help someone else.
Your EP, Face Your Feels can mean many things. What does this EP represent to you and how is this title for it fitting? What feelings are you facing with it’s release?
[Adam]: This EP represents another step in the musical journey for this band, and for us individually as artists. We are all trying to improve as musicians, as songwriters, and as friggin’ humans in general. The songs on this EP represent us trying to make music that feels authentic for us right now. We started this band a little “folksier” if you will, but we really don’t want to be pinned to any particular genre. I think when you do that you automatically limit yourself as an artist because you think “Oh man i’m in a folk band so I gotta look sorta old-timey and everyone has to agree when they listen to our songs that they are indeed appropriate and approved to be categorized as ‘folk'”. So we’re kind of trusting our instincts and seeing where the spirit leads and, I guess, that is a part of what the EP title means to us. We also think it’s just a funny sounding phrase, so that’s part of it.
I understand you chose folk as your genre due to Allie’s ability to play violin, do you anticipate your style will change now that you have completed your EP?
[Andy]: We kind of became a folk band for a lot of reasons. We all enjoy singing harmonies, play acoustic instruments, and have never had a consistent drummer. Those were pretty crucial deciding factors too. So far this EP is the most our style has changed probably, but I do anticipate it to change more. The Good Mad is kind of like a living and breathing entity, and like all other living things, it’s growing and evolving – hopefully. If it stops evolving we’re in trouble.
Is there a special connection you have to folk music?
[Allie]: I grew up listening and playing country music as a kid. Listened to a lot of Dixie Chicks, and older artists like Bob Wills, Patsy Cline, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and now more recently, Fleet Foxes. I think what draws me most to folk music is that the lyrics are typically very poetic, and harmonies are often a “folk-al” point. (We like puns around here.) All in all, it’s just easy listening.
You mentioned your goal is to become a hit in college radio. What about the “college radio” interests you? Describe what this would mean to you as a band.
[Andy]: College radio just represents the cutting edge of pop music and hip taste. Becoming successful on college radio is like earning your band its “Cool Indie Band” Boy Scout badge. It’s sort of a hipster fantasy: “My music is loved by cool people who are cool and know what cool is.” We’re actually playing on some college radio stations now, which means that we have people listening to our music on the radio in cities all over America. That’s pretty amazing in itself, and is hopefully leading to some long tours and festivals, which is the dream I’m still waiting to live full time.
In your song, Dark Waters, what do you mean by “you can’t deny it makes you feel more alive”?
[Allie]: Taking risks, getting uncomfortable, doing things that are out of your norm always makes you feel alive. Even if it’s confronting something within yourself. Having the courage to step into “uncharted waters” may allow you to surprise yourself. For example, I’m going to start taking improv classes for the first time. A small step for mankind, but it’s not something I’m used to, and I’m a little scared. I’ll be put on the spot, I’ll be vulnerable in a new way, but I will feel alive.
Andy, how long did it take you to write Kim’s Song dedicated to your gal? From a musician’s perspective, what do you think makes it most difficult about putting feelings into lyrics?
[Andy]: I think I played the chorus for her on Valentines Day of last year because I had written it a couple days before. It was partially romantic – “Happy Valentine’s, babe. Here’s a chorus.” I worked on it pretty sporadically and tied it together over the summer, so around six or seven months I guess? Love songs seem especially tricky because there have been so many of them at this point, and it’s hard not to sound corny or trite when you’re writing about loving your girlfriend. That was what I struggled with on Kim’s Song and was part of the reason why it took so long to write. I’m a big believer – maybe to a fault – in not forcing songwriting. For me at least, lyrics have to be inspired or they don’t feel right, and they can’t be motivated by wanting to impress, which is a nasty trap for all artists. The vain desire to “write good lyrics” can actually block inspiration.
Considering there are bound to be many comparisons to other big folk-like bands (i.e. the Lumineers, and ), how do you maintain your authenticity?
[Adam]: I think people make a lot of comparisons anyway just as a method of easily categorizing things, and I certainly don’t feel offended by being compared to bands who have succeeded. But you never want to be trying hard to sound like any one artist, it will always come out a little (or a lot) phony, or at best just be a really good copy of the original. I think I read somewhere Chris Martin of Coldplay saying “Steal from one artist and it’s plagiarism. Steal from ten and you’re a genius.” I mean maintaining your authenticity is a weird thing, how do you truly do that? How do I know I am being completely authentic? Does me being super aware and concerned about my level of authenticity ever get in the way of the creative flow because I’m over-analyzing and over-editing my own work in an effort to be officially original or, dare-I-say, hip? Well I just don’t know, hopefully not. I guess you kind of want to be aware of being aware of your level of authenticity, and then, once you’ve done that, try to be less aware of authenticity over-awareness. You gotta give yourself some room to get weird. [Allie]: My brain just exploded.
Allie: The Beatles & Tchaikovsky
Adam: Interpol & Radiohead
Andy: Simon & Garfunkel
More recent influences: Tame Impala, Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty, Dan Auerbach
If Adam could live in a piece of art it would be in:
Van Gogh’s “Cafe Terrace at Night”
SOME WORDS FROM THE GOOD MAD:
[Allie]: Like us on Facebook to keep up with our whereabouts, interviews, and shows! We are trying to plan a tour for the summer, and our radio play may determine which cities we decide to play, so call the stations listed on our Facebook page and request music from ‘Face Your Feels EP’!
[Andy]: The classic cliches are pretty great: We’re all one, be yourself, love yourself, all you need is love, follow your heart, live in the moment. Easy stuff to say, tougher to live. Face your feels, and shine don’t shadow, y’all!