Katy Goodman and Greta Morgan are the best of friends who spend as much time together as possible.
Both are also successful musicians, who get to pick their work carefully, on their own schedules. That’s why Goodman, formerly of the acclaimed Vivian Girls and singer-songwriter for La Sera, and Morgan, who’s seen success with The Hush Sound, Gold Motel and most recently her solo work as Springtime Carnivore, teamed up for a covers album of reimagined punk and New Wave classics. Then they hit the road together last fall to promote the album, as well as new La Sera and Springtime Carnivore LPs.
RIFF caught up with Goodman and Morgan at the Swedish-American Hall in San Francisco right before a show to talk about each of their musical endeavors, as well as their friendship and paths to success.
“When Greta was writing that [Midnight Room] record … to watch her real-life experiences coming out through songs was … magical but also sad,” Goodman said of Morgan’s record, which was impelled by a break-up.
“Katy was probably my No. 1 support system just while I was going through an intense emotional season,” Morgan said.
After the interview, we learned how the two interact on stage and how their songs are linked. While Goodman’s La Sera, performing songs off last spring’s Music For Listening To Music To, was the headliner, she guested during Morgan’s set. Morgan, performing songs off just-released Midnight Room, returned the favor later. Together, they played four or five songs off of their covers record, Take It, It’s Yours. The artists also shared band members.
RIFF: You have each had success in numerous projects: Katy with Vivian Girls and Greta with The Hush Sound. What’s the trick to finding success multiple times, while coming up with new personas?
Morgan: I don’t think there’s necessarily a trick to success. I think the idea should be to follow your own excitement to the best of your ability, and hopefully, people will connect with it, and it can be a sustaining thing for you. But I think it just has to feel really natural.
Goodman: I think that the key to longevity is just not letting yourself get bored. Just kind of doing what feels good until it doesn’t feel good anymore, and then switching it up and trying something else. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. You know what? There’s just no guarantees. You just got to keep putting out music. See what happens.
Q: What were some of the songs that didn’t make the cut for Take It, It’s Yours?
Goodman: X, “The World’s a Mess; It’s in My Kiss.” Also, we tried several songs from the same bands. We tried Blondie, “11:59.” We ended up with “Dreaming.” We also tried “Sunday Girl.” I feel like we tried two or three different Bad Brains songs.
Morgan: We talked about the Clash at one point.
Q: When you make a second covers record, are you going to stay in the same genre, or are you going to pick completely different songs?
Morgan: That could be cool to do a different genre.
Goodman: We weren’t super strict about genres on the first one. There’s punk. There’s New Wave. There’s Hardcore.
Q: What are your plans for the next year?
Morgan: I’m starting the year playing some dates with this band Fruit Bats, who I really like, and then hopefully just more touring. I’ll probably be touring for most of this year, and then we’re talking about doing another covers record.
Goodman: We already have a YouTube playlist of potential songs. I went a little crazy on it. Two-thousand-seventeen, for me, [means] chilling. Probably just going to start writing songs for another record.
Q: What have your previous bands taught you about yourselves as musicians and as people?
Morgan: Being in bands and being on tour has taught me that I have quite a bit of emotional and physical resilience. Touring … for as long as we have, it really is just psychically and emotionally consuming. To just be able to, on the worst day, when you have food poisoning and you’ve been throwing up for 10 hours and have to change into your show clothes and be onstage—I never knew that I had the ability to do that. Touring really forces you to just be so highly adaptable and have a can-do attitude. … If you start complaining, if you start focusing on the negative, it really gives everyone else permission to [do the same]. Being in bands has taught me how to just enjoy experiences more, or try to find the good in an experience which would otherwise be painful.
Q: What do you like to do together when you’re not making music?
Goodman: When we are not making music or touring, I like to go to Greta’s house and she cooks me delicious food. Hang out in [her] backyard. She has a really cute house with an adorable backyard that I got married in last year. We’ll just hang out back there.
Morgan: We go for walks with the dog. I cook food. We go for hikes. We exercise together. Very Californian.
Goodman: Very L.A., but we work out.
Morgan: Can’t you tell?