If there were a set of guidelines on how to be successful in the dance music world, Jon Gooch, also known by his mischievous moniker, Feed Me, surely wouldn’t follow them. In fact, he might tear them up just for kicks. Keeping with the beat of his own drum, Jon now is launch his own label, Sotto Voce which will release the newest Feed Me album, ‘Calamari Tuesday’ on October 14th. VIBE feeds on his brain in this interview, in which Gooch opens up about Sotto Voce, the Calamari Tuesday album, parting ways with Mau5trap, squids and more.
VIBE: With the creation of Sotto Voce, will it be your full time label or will you work on mau5trap more in the future?
Feed Me: I'm not against working with mau5trap again but I'm primarily invested in building my own world. I've always enjoyed conversations I've had with Joel, and it was a good platform to get my music out there, but as a label mau5trap felt passive.
Fans love the fantasy of it being a crew, but we weren't riding in a jeep drinking orange mocha frappuccinos (or a Ferrari to Tim Hortons) or anything. I just handed in music and it came out. With the exception of the Spell I have no idea if he liked any of the music I released on there. That's not what running an indie label is about to me.
What do you want Sotto Voce to present to the music world? Will the label be a solution to certain current problems with the industry or will it be more of your personal escape from the presence of working under a larger label?
I want it to represent my attitude towards music and be a proper platform where I can really showcase people what I believe in. The people I tour and exchange ideas with, who you get to kind of journey with through your life, if you're immersed in it all then it becomes your extended family. SoVo will be the second time I've built up a crew and brand from nothing, I know from experience how much it means to people to feel united and also be able to see that you're actively interested in your artists and working together.
With the mentioning on your twitter last spring that you would be done DJ’ing for a while by this autumn… which is now, how do you plan to market and promote the album aside from good PR work (such as what we are doing right now)? Will you focus on a live show?
No shows scheduled. I'd rather come back and tour album number 2 if anything. I know it goes against the grain of the typical album PR machine but I also knew I really needed this gap to work on things. If we bring back the live show I want to make sure we've developed it in some way. We pushed the Teeth show to the limit of what could be done and developed new technology to do it, I want to make sure we keep achieving and doing something special.
The character Feed Me and the character for Spor are somewhat menacing personas. Is this a form of release for you through the characters?
I see Feed Me more as an eccentric and mischievous. There wasn't really a character for Spor which was part of the reason for creating Feed Me, I wanted that projection of myself to pour ideas into. It doesn't scare my niece anyway and she's 3, man up bruv.
If Feed Me met Spor, what would that interaction be like?
Like eating six of the ten most decadent pastries ever conceived.
When did you decide you wanted to do the full length album and what inspired this decision?
I've always wanted to do a full length, it feels good to get the first hurdle over with. I'd always rather work in album format, it's an actual statement to the world, regardless of how changes in media evolve how people can buy them, you're still laying out a portfolio of you and saying 'this is me, now'.
This album seems to go through a lot of phases and sentiments as you listen to it from beginning to end. If it could talk, what kind of story would Calamari Tuesday tell us?
Ever since I 'became' Feed Me it's been one long adventure, and my life accelerated exponentially compared to its pace as Spor. It's trying to reflect that, when I look at the memories I have from it all, collectively it's dynamic and colourful, moving but hopefully never taking itself too seriously.
Is Feed Me a frequenter of Calamari? Or does he simply prefer liquor and cigarettes?
Any reference to Calamari is abstract. It's a sensitive subject. Squids are intelligent. Personally I can't get into cigarettes, I keep trying but it doesn't agree with me. Any advice?
In a digital age, its very less frequent we see a full length album like this when someone can simply pick and choose individual songs as they please. What inspired you to make a full length album like this knowing that that may be the case?
I grew up on albums, I'd listen to an album like I'd sit and watch a film. I'm all for advocating attention span, it's worrying when people can't let go of constantly drip feeding minor stimulation to themselves. I'm sure people might pull out one or two tracks but hopefully the record is more rewarding for those that don't.
In what way did John Nolan bringing your image of Feed Me to life inspire you as a musician?
Art and music in my head is all squished together, anything that reinforces the world I live in as Feed Me in new ways always has a knock on effect musically. I can't wait to introduce it more in film.
In what ways have you seen Feed Me grow as a character since his conception? Has he matured or has he simply become more wild and fierce in his years?
I'd say the whole project has a been a process of refinement, distillation and self-analysis. So yeah I'd say he's a bit more of a gentleman and a little more reflective. But also destructive, sarcastic and apathetic. Pretty sure he's highly sceptical of 'EDM' also.
What’s next for Feed Me adventures?
I'm working on album number 2, and working closely with new talent for Sotto Voce also. Things are in motion for a short film project which I'm excited about, featuring me and Feed Me, I want to tell a bit about the story of how we met. At some point I want to start looking into doing another live tour, but we'll see how that goes.
While it might be unclear when we will see Feed Me tearing up music halls and venues across the US again, this much we know, whatever happens is under Jon Gooch’s own graces; free from outlying pressure and expectations of the dance music community. In an industry that is in many ways becoming centered in producing, ‘what sells now’, Feed Me refuses to fall in line. Be sure to pick up Calamari Tuesday on October 14th.