When I moved into my first apartment after undergrad, the first thing that I put on my wall was a La Sera poster. It felt like an accomplishment hanging it in place with plastic thumbtacks. As time passed, I arranged everything else around it, making it the centerpiece of my wall. It became an island in a sea of dried flowers, necklaces, photographs, and ticket stubs. Its initial placement was ordinary but felt sacred, as if it were predestined somehow. That poster and the countless hours that I spent listening to La Sera's songs in that room were vital. Thanks to Katy Goodman's dream-pop anthems, I learned how to turn a rented space into a home.
From her harmonies on "Devil's Heart Grows Cold" to her captivating diction on "Take My Heart," Goodman's music has persistently served as an emotional anchor for fans since the mid-2000s. On her most recent album, Music for Listening to Music To , Goodman decided to take a different approach, opting to morph what started as a solo project into a full band, by collaborating with her guitarist and songwriting partner Todd Wisenbaker and Ryan Adams, the album's producer.
I spoke with Goodman over the phone about how collaboration taught her to let go of control and why being in bands like the Vivian Girls during her 20s helped her become the independent woman who she is today.
Dianca Potts: La Sera started off as more of a solo project in 2010. At what point did you decide to transition it into a band?
Katy Goodman: When my other band the Vivian Girls was active, La Sera was more of a side project where I could play different styles of music. At the time, Vivian Girls' [sound] was more aggressive so La Sera's first album was more light and dream-pop-y. As Vivian Girls phased out, La Sera became my main band, and Todd [Wisenbaker], who is now also my husband, joined the band four years ago. He had a really crucial role in the third album [Hour of the Dawn] and our last album. I feel like a lot of people are like, You changed on this album , but I feel like it's actually been a pretty slow transition of incorporating Todd as a main guitar player and writer in the band so now it's like a couple band. [ Laughs. ]
DP: Has your relationship with your songs changed since finishing the album?
KG: My relationship with them has definitely changed. We recorded the album almost exactly a year ago, and I view them now as their own thing. This album feels very cohesive to me. On a lot of past albums I've written songs that didn't particularly go together, but I feel like on this album all the songs fit together, so the fact that we arranged them all similarly and put them on a record together makes it feel even more cohesive to me when I compare it to other records that I've done. I'm so excited because I feel like a lot of these songs are better now live than they ever were … songs like "High Notes" and "One True Love" are really fun to play now that Todd is singing with me. It adds another element to the set, which is fun.
DP: A lot of your songs as La Sera center around harmonies that remind me of girl groups or early-'60s surf. Did you listen to a lot of music from the '60s when you were younger?