Jonathon Goldie - "Authenticity wasn’t really encouraged in an environment like that, and maybe in society as well. People are always 'pulling rabbits out of hats' to impress someone. It’s a form of smoke & mirrors." - Stereo Stickman

Jonathon Goldie “Authenticity wasn’t really encouraged in an environment like that, and maybe in society as well. People are always ‘pulling rabbits out of hats’ to impress someone. It’s a form of smoke & mirrors.”


Vancouver songwriter and long-time performer Jonathon Goldie recently released his evocative new single Dark and Blue. We caught an interview to find out more about the song, his journey so far as an independent musician, and plenty more. Here’s how it went.

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Hi Jonathon – thanks for the interview, and congrats for the release of Dark and Blue. To introduce things, you’re a Vancouver-based musician – how long have you been writing songs, and what inspired you to start?

I’ve been writing songs since I was in my teens. I remember in University I would write songs for video projects, and found that pleasant to do. I didn’t really start singing until my early 20’s. I felt my true gift of songwriting started then.

What’s the scene like in Vancouver lately, and how often do you get out to perform?

I just performed at the Biltmore Cabaret in August. I have been mostly focussed on writing/finishing an album. From what I gathered the scene here is mostly heavier bands, which is why I’m going to start playing in other areas.

What does the song Dark and Blue represent, and how does the fuzzy, atmospheric production tie in with the clearly personal emotions of the writing?

The song can have personal emotions, but also can be kinda absorbed from around me. Inspiration comes from many places. But yeah, it is a bit personal I suppose. It correlates with struggling with accepting certain mental instabilities. Going from panicked, to acceptance and being at peace. There’s more to it, but I don’t want to put my own meaning on the song too much, as others can have their own interpretations.

On songs like Alone you showcase a more grunge-like, Kurt-esque vocal rasp, still with that meeting of the acoustic and the electronic. How would you define your style as an artist? 

I love mixing together the acoustic and electronic. With this new album I dabble in different styles, though I don’t really consciously do so. When you hear it you’ll see the different influences though. It’s definitely not just in the style of Alone. I worked a lot with my Arturia drum brute drum machine. The sounds are a lot more hard hitting than my last album because of it. I also started using synths more.

With Root, You Got What You Came For, and Waking Up, things feel somewhat more optimistic musically. Was this a different time for you, or is it just a different head-space when writing?

Yeah, this was a bit of a change. I was kinda relying on more personal feelings, and older feelings. I found I could only work in this headspace for so long, or else I would be driven a little mad! I purposefully focussed on the personal issue I’ve had in the past, and bringing that out as a sort of form of therapy? Maybe… I also wanted to approach the songs electronically and using specific equipment as mentioned.

What themes or feelings generally prompt you to start writing a new song?

For this album, it would start with even just a line, or a small guitar part. I would rush to my studio space to record it, then see where it goes! My first album, the songs were written as a whole pretty fast as well. Basically whatever is flowing through me. I’m just picking up on whatever comes my way.

There’s a distinctly poetic style to your writing – where does that come from, and are you influenced by poetry or other forms of literature and media?

I went to the Banksy exhibition recently. I think I’m mostly influenced by different kinds of music overall at the moment. For this album, I was more influenced by electronic music with vocals. Say, James Blake, Grimes, Caribou, etc… Also, individual artists like Tamino. He’s great! So as far as the poetic styles… it comes from all the music I listen to!

What’s been your best experience as a live performer so far, and on the flip side, what’s been the hardest part of building a presence as an indie musician?

Doing the show at Biltmore Cabaret, especially with all the good live footage that was caught!

The hardest part is building up an audience and getting the response you yearn for.

Is collaboration an important part of what you do, or of your plans, or do you prefer to keep things solo?

I’m not afraid of collaboration. I hired Herman Lo to play violin on my first album Blind!. I just worked with a bassist Tim Charman on a recent song for my album Isolophobia. But I like to do as much as I can on my projects. DIY style, you know?

What’s something about you that would surprise listeners?

That I had Corrective Lower Jaw Surgery.

If you were asked to perform at somewhere like the Malkin Bowl this very weekend, would you accept the opportunity, and how would you prepare for the challenge?

Of course I would do it. I would prepare by rehearsing with a good backing band, and making a good setlist.

Which lyric of yours comes to mind as one that you’re the proudest of or remains powerful in depicting your feelings on something? 

“Out jumps the rabbit, everyone claps, everyone cheers – so F%$#ing what?”  From a song called The Trick.

Again, this album reflects on a lot of my past, and that past includes being a kid in school. Seeing how people are drawn to one another, and impressed that someone can “metaphorically” pull a rabbit from a hat. Like, who really cares? So what? Authenticity wasn’t really encouraged in an environment like that… and maybe in society as well. People are always “pulling rabbits out of hats” to try to impress someone. It’s a form of smoke and mirrors.

What’s your plan of action for 2024?

I’m hoping to do am album launch tour. More to announce in the near future!

Also, I want to mention that my new album Isolophobia is coming out December 8th this year. You’ve heard it here first!

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Find Jonathon Goldie on Apple, Bandcamp, Facebook & Twitter.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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