A few weeks ago, I had the wonderful pleasure of interviewing my good friend Alex Goodwin, one of the guitarists for the local Eugene band, Join the Dance. Join the Dance just released their EP, "Can You...?" on 08/18/19, which you can find on all major music streaming platforms. The transcripts for the interview will be featured below, but if you want to hear all of Alex's in-depth answers I highly recommend listening to the full interview:
What genre would you describe your music to someone who is unfamiliar with your band?
“I’d say at its core it’s rock and pop. It’s like pop-rock, but it's got a funky-dancy edge to it... That’s one of our core values, hence the name “Join the Dance”. That’s partly why we chose the name, but it also came from an Alan Watts quote, “The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” We heard that, and our wants and desires to create music that moves people physically in dance, but also mentally--intellectually... to me that felt all encapsulating which is where the name kinda came from.”
“The other side of the whole dance thing is the moshing. The whole punk edge in our other songs, you don’t really hear it in that song [referring to ‘Obsession’, which was played at the opening of the interview], but in songs like ‘Swans’ and ‘Cloth’ on the EP you kinda hear a very clear punk influence too... I don’t know, there’s a lot of stuff we fit into the EP that we tried to show off to people, and I hope there is something there for everyone...”
How did you guys decide on the sound of your band?
“I wouldn’t even say we’re totally solidified on a sound. The EP has a lot of different sounds in it, and with the new stuff we’re working on I’d say it is even more refined and stretches out into jazz influences and I guess indie stuff as well. We’re kinda just picking and choosing where we like to.”
"Our bassist Luka is a blues fan, a huge rap fan--he’s a rapper himself, and he’s a huge Dead Head. Our drummer is a huge metal head and he goes to all the punk shows/hardcore shows. Our lead guitarist Bodhi is super into a lot of the stuff I’m into, like soul, neo-soul, jazz, contemporary stuff, a lot of hip-hop--we’re both huge Kendrick Lamar fans. Our lead singer Eli is really into the Chili Peppers--probably that song [referring to ‘Obsession’] and a couple other songs-- that is the closest comparison you could make to our band, a Chili Peppers sound because of the funk, punk, rock, and rap mixed into it. So we have a wide range of tastes that we pull upon and mix together...”
How did you specifically get into playing guitar?
“My Mom bought me a $50 Walmart acoustic guitar three years ago and I wanted to play some Neil Young songs. I didn’t really start seriously playing until I started working with Bodhi two years ago under our previous moniker, “Bob Creek”. We were kinda a more folk-rock, Led Zeppelin inspired, Almann Brothers inspired thing, but it was just the two of us with our guitars in his living room...”
Your band just released an EP, what are your plans moving forward?
“Our goal is to keep on keeping on. We want to write more music, record more music, and release it as soon as possible. I think we’re all really digging the whole recording thing and releasing stuff. We’re going on kinda like a mini tour tomorrow I guess--probably won’t be tomorrow by the time this is out, but we’re playing a few shows out of state and out of town, which is the first time we’ve done that and gone on a fun little camping trip where we all just kinda hang out and write in the woods together and have a good time.”
“So we want to expand on that and in the future we want to play out of state more, do bigger tours, we want to do longer tours, we want to release more stuff, we want to keep paying around in the house show scene here in Eugene, obviously because this is our home, and yea, just keep developing our sound. Right now I’d say we’re more in a writing and playing shows stage rather than a recording stage...”
What’s the best venue you've played at?
“That’s tough, there are a few. One of them was one of our earliest gigs that we played way back in January of this year. It was The High House--Rhuby’s place, she’s a big figure in the music scene here. She had a house where she had a lot of big shows at for a while. We played there with Girls Punch Bears, a local band that is punk, and an out-of-town heavy metal group called Fox Medicine. That was kind of our first realization that we don’t strictly have to be funky-dance stuff because we played on a punk bill--we fit it really well. People still liked it, coming for bands like Girls Punch Bears. That was a big turning point in terms of our growth, in terms of our sound, in terms of our lineup...”
How do you feel about the internet and its impact on making music widely accessible to different audiences (streaming platforms, Bandcamp, etc.)?
“The first thing I’d say about how the internet has helped music is that its just made it real weird, which I love. So many bands wouldn’t exist without the internet because of the message and the sound that they bring would only be accepted by people that browse Reddit [laughs] and 4Chan. Some bands were literally born out of that culture that existed there. Just for the creation of bands I’d say it was hugely impactful in that way, that’s what I love about it...”
What artists have you been listening to as of recently?
“I’ve been listening to them for a while, but I’ve just been coming back to them--Steely Dan and their album Aja, that thing is a masterpiece... Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder--I can never get tired of that album. Local bands--I listen to them a lot more now that I’m making stuff and they’re my contemporaries ya know. Bands like Novacane, Laundry, Spiller, Bluphoria, Breakneck Flow like we said earlier, Flow Resale, The Shifts--we just played a show with them."
"So many bands I would not have found out about if I wasn’t entrenched in the scene here--in a good way of course. They’ve come to make up what I listen to and inspires me. Just the people around me that are playing music in other bands and play in my band have been such a huge influence to me, and I just love the music they play so much...”
What is your advice to someone who wants to play an instrument or start a band?
“I’d refer them to the Vine of the woman saying, “You are the--” and then a lot of curse words, but just a really praising, impactful video that’s just all about self love. That’s what I’d say to people that don’t feel like-- “I can’t be in a band man, I don’t know how to write a song. I don’t know what words to use.” [laughs] Just shut up and write a song, write some songs, get some friends together. If you can’t play an instrument just pick one up and do it.”
“People will come see you if you just make noise, people will love it. You have to work at it though, that’s not to say it won’t be easy cause you know there was over a year where Bodhi and I were trying to get our band off the ground because we weren’t putting in the effort that we are now, but now that we are, it shows. If you care about music in the slightest and you want to contribute to it, you need to...”
Make sure to follow Join the Dance on Facebook and Instagram for more information on upcoming shows and music!