interview: The Gotobeds
Tomorrow, The Gotobeds return, releasing their new album Debt Begins at 30. Ahead of the album’s release, we talk with the band about collaborating, Fyre Festival, and adulthood.
The Grey Estates: So the title of this album is Debt Begins at 30. I argue that it begins at like 21 after I graduated college lol, but as someone who is about to turn 30, what else begins then? Are the Buzzfeed quizzes correct about all the bad stuff?
The Gotobeds (Eli Kasan): We borrowed and amended the title from Stephanie Beroes film ‘Debt Begins at 20’ which premiered in 1980 and covers a strange cast of uniquely Pittsburgh artists. We thought it a great nod to the film we love and assumed no-one would listen to an lp titled “Aging Men Make Music With Guitars” though I haven’t looked at the numbers yet. Sharing a link here.
Thirties have been great - I have felt more stable and feel better about where I am in life. I’m not a nostalgic person and you couldn’t pay me to revisit my twenties or teens. It helps to learn to live with uncertainty and trust yr instincts even if yr instincts have shit for brains. It mellows out.
There is literally an all-star list of guest appearances on this. What made you decide to include so many different people and is there someone you'd still like to work with in the future?
It was kind-of a joke since me & all the boys are big rap/mixtape fans. We’ve collaborated with tons of cool folks and just seemed excessive and “us” to go overboard with it. It was SUPER flattering that all the artists agreed to contribute!!!
There’s still a list as long as my arm that we’d love to work with - just not enough time to make it work…
How did incorporating all these guests influence the record and the writing process? How did you decide who was right for what track?
This was actually far easier than I thought it would be: though it may look like we were ‘star-fucking’ every person on the record is someone we’ve met and hit it off with to some degree. Deciding was just as easy, if I thought a song needed a counterpoint vocal, all we had to do was look over our shoulder at our friends records and ask them if they’d be into it and luckily they were.
Some folks we gave specific instructions to: sing a line please Mr. Weston, record me some guitar scree Cosloy and some were more complex like the title track Debt Begins at 30. For that I shared my lyric inspiration via email with Victoria from Downtown Boys and asked them to contribute vocals on the theme but adapt however they’d like. Those parts were super rewarding and humbling. Also, Victoria’s version is hidden on the lp, but you have to purchase to find out : )
Others like Tim from Silkworm/Mint Mile we’ve been friends with for a bit and he came into the studio and wrote his part on baritone guitar and then sung the chorus and bridge with me. Consummate pro for sure.
Our bud Koltay recorded Joe from Protomartyr, and knowing and liking the Gotobeds he experimented with some really cool space echo’s n’ shit so he over-delivered so that we would have extras to use (and we did!).
For readers not familiar with Pittsburgh, walk us through the dream Gotobeds day in the city. Where would we go? What would it include?
Most of my days revolve around my dream days so i’ll list some favs:
Visit La Hutte Royal and have yr mind blown
Eat at Apteka, the polish-vegan restaurant that all my non-vegan or non-polish friends all love too
Shop at Cruel Noise, Jerry’s & The Attic for records! RIP Juke
Walk around the Allegheny Cemetery, so serene & expansive
Abuse my liver at Brillobox
If the Gotobeds could invent a merch item, what would it be?
A portable turntable for the car that does not skip and keeps yr drink cold. Probably too niche which is why Crosley never replied to my emails about it.
What inspired this particular album? And by inspirations, I mean literally anything, like snacks, places, music, sounds, etc.
What really inspired this lp (for me anyways) was this quote from a review of Colin Newman’s solo lp “Commercial Suicide”:
“It expertly dramatises the paradoxes of feeling that inhabit someone in this position: gratitude for newfound security, anxiety about newfound responsibility; excitement about the life to come, mourning for the one that’s been left behind. It is an album about commitment, about settling down, about coming to terms with the end of fickle, free-roaming youth and the beginning of something more serious and lasting.”
That all hit home for me as I became a step-dad and life changed suddenly, TFP also became a father too so we were both in new stages of our lives and having to adapt to what that meant, especially the last sentence where I’ve usually reflected on growth after i’ve grown, but
This was the first time I felt like I knew what was happening to me while it was happening and I think this new lp reflects those themes.
Using GIFS and or emojis, please describe Debt Begins at 30.
That coupled with kermit yelling “YAAAYY!!!” and waving his arms like a maniac (am old and cannot figure out how to attach)
What are some places, people, things in Pittsburgh that you would suggest our readers should check out?
The happenings at Babyland / All of our rescue dogs (Colin, Riggs, Stella are all highly petable)
What inspiration has Pittsburgh played in your music, and in this record?
Tons & tons & tons, though I love the city it is finally getting its act together making scenes/venues more inclusive and more interesting for all involved. Still has a ways to go too, but worth acknowledging.
If you were curating the Fyre Festival Round 2 (god bless) what bands would it include and who would be the celeb spokesperson?
Holy shit this question!!!! Wow, pretty much any band doing the blind hit-up on facebook using a form letter that always involves “Dig your sound… we’re a 7 piece metallic ska-hop band looking to play Gooskis on a monday what can you do for us?” If Josh Homme could curate all of those bands and then we sink the island, pretty sure it would be sequel worthy for Netflix.
(band note: tons of polite folks hit us up too and let us know they’re fans and we try and accommodate or help in anyway we can, but the messages that read like that trapped Nigerian Prince soliciting money are too funny to even respond)