Adam Goldberg is one of those sickeningly talented people who seem to be good at everything they dip their toes into. Goldberg (not the Adam F. Goldberg behind sitcom The Goldbergs, and don’t get him started about that) is a well-known and respected actor, with credits that include Saving Private Ryan, Dazed and Confused and The Jim Gaffigan Show, not to mention his memorable turn as Chandler’s crazy roommate Eddie in Friends. He’s also a talented photographer, and he’s just put out a new album. Again, sickening.
We kid, of course. In fact, Goldberg has been dabbling in music since the 1990s, and he’s just released his fourth album using his musical pseudonym, The Goldberg Sisters. But 20-some years ago, he was experimenting in his garage. Naturally for someone in the movie business, this led to him working in scores.
“I started writing songs on guitar on four-track, and throughout the ’90s had a couple of bands,” Goldberg says. “It wasn’t until the early 2000s that I began to focus more seriously on it. I did a bunch of music for a film I directed called I Love Your Work with Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips, and then we recorded some more music for my first record with a group I had called LANDy. This will be my fourth record in the last six or so years.”
By “this,” he means new album HOME: A Nice Place to Visit, a psych-pop record that betrays his Flaming Lips love. It’s a surprisingly experimental, risky yet quirky piece of work, not at all a typical Hollywood vanity project. Goldberg takes this shit seriously, though he admits that his sound hasn’t necessarily evolved in recent years.
“I think my sound evolved a lot before I began to put it out there,” he says. “Once I was doing more compositional stuff, score stuff, for my movies, it really opened up my ears and mind in a way, which kind of gives the stuff I was doing a more symphonic setting and less a noise-rock bed. So I’ve really been going for this big sound for as many records as I’ve made. This record was made over several years because I began recording it when I had a 3-month-old son — he’s now 3 years old. I simply couldn’t hole myself up in a garage for 12 hours a day, so I would go back to songs much later on after they had been almost written, as I was recording them in many cases. I would go back and remix them, rerecord some aspects to them. If anything, this album has gestated for a lot longer.”
HOME: A Nice Place to Visit will be physically released with 14 of Goldberg’s photographs, one representing each track. The artist saw the merging of his passions as a means to reinvigorate his love for music, in an age when tangibility of the medium is dissipating.
“I began to feel that I care less about music and I asked myself why that is,” he says. “I have a couple of explanations. This is no joke — I quit smoking eight years ago and I enjoy lots of things less. But it certainly can’t just be that, and I think a big part of it is just the tangibility of music. This is obviously a tired refrain at this point — we obviously know with the resurgence of vinyl, it’s not an unpopular opinion that I’m forging here, but I do think there’s something about holding something in your hands, to hold the music and interact with the music in some sort of tangible fashion, that makes it more real and interactive.”
Goldberg considers himself as much a photographer as a musician, so for him the marriage of the art forms was a no-brainer.
“If you were to traverse my various social media platforms, you would see the feeds for all this stuff,” he says. “Even my blog, which I’ve had on Tumblr for as long as Tumblr has been around — that’s called HOME: A Nice Place to Visit. It’s all a culmination and a non-virtual world.”
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Fair enough. It’s not a great stretch to match the mood of a song with a picture. What’s impressive is that a relatively new dad has the damn time to throw himself into so much, and then to do it all well.
“The dad thing has changed the game quite a bit,” Goldberg says. “It’s took me a really long time to do this project, which ordinarily would have taken about six months. Between that and the fact that I have actually been more busy working. I directed No Way Jose [his 2015 movie], then started shooting the show Fargo while editing that film. I’ve been going from one thing to the next, which is good on one hand. On the other, it makes your life feel somewhat diffused at times. I want to spend all this time with my son, and he’s very much engaged. He’s 3 now, and he shoots with a film camera. He’s been a part of this creative process. But I’m at peak bandwidth at this point and probably beyond it.”
Goldberg's HOME: A Nice Place to Visit is out now.