A Chat with Kurt Gott (24.09.21)

Following 27 years of established work in the television industry, Kurt Gott is taking on new challenges as pursuing a career as a full-time musician. Influenced greatly by Tom Petty, The Eagles and Jimmy Buffet, the singer-songwriter brings a taste of old-school rock to modern society. We speak with Gott about his new album Last Call, early memories and phobias.

OSR: What drew you to music?

Gott: As far back as I can remember my father was always playing guitar and singing songs mainly around the house. During holidays and at family get-togethers everyone would gather ’round and watch him play. He was the life of the party and I would try and sing along with the songs I knew the words to. I remember thinking how cool he was and I just had to do this too someday. My mother always liked to sing but never played any instruments. My father never went too far with his music but he was good at it and mainly did it just for fun. My grandfather was also a musician and played several stringed instruments. I remember watching him play songs on the electric guitar, banjo, mandolin and even the fiddle. Needless to say, I was in awe of both my father and grandfather for their musical talents and that’s what really sparked my interest in music at an early age.

OSR: What was the inspiration behind your album Last Call?

Gott: I’ve been playing in cover bands and performing in clubs and restaurants for most of my life but it was always a part-time thing for me. I had always worked a full-time job but never had enough time to really focus on writing and recording my own songs. The inspiration to record this album came to me after I finally got up the nerve to quit my job to pursue some opportunities in music. This was a big change in my life and somewhat risky but it has given me more valuable time to devote to my songwriting. I immediately began to feel inspired to write about taking risks and living for the moment. There are some songs on the album that I had written nearly 30 years ago that are about gambling and drinking and some within the last year that are about heartache and regrets. Some of the songs came from real-life experiences such as track #4 ‘Variety’ which is actually based on the recent changes in my life of quitting my job to become a musician.

OSR: What was the writing and recording process like?

Gott: The writing process for me always seems to start with a very basic idea or concept. Many times I begin with a catchy line or even the title of the song pops into my head. Sometimes I even hear the chorus in my head and once I know that something interesting is developing and I have a general topic to focus on I can then begin to build around that and write the rest of the lyrics. Most of the lyrics I write seem to begin flowing once I’m in that frame of mind but almost always I have to go back several times to make slight changes and get every line perfect.

The recording process was a unique experience for me. The album was recorded entirely by myself and my musician friend Cary Scope who contributed on drums and bass guitar for every track along with electric guitar and backing vocals on some tracks. The only other musician who contributed to this album was Rob Blaney a long-time friend who played organ on the first track and single ‘Deal Me In’. The recording process began last year during the pandemic while we were all on lockdown and we decided to try doing this project by recording the parts separately in our own home studios and sharing the files with each other over the internet. I would lay down the first tracks usually starting with the acoustic guitar and vocals and send the files to Cary. He would then add his tracks and send the files back to me and I would finish the songs by adding piano, electric guitar and harmonica on a few tracks. I finished the mixing myself and used an online source for the mastering process.

OSR: What aspect was more challenging: writing the lyrics or writing the melody?

Gott: I would have to say writing the lyrics to the songs has always been more challenging to me than writing the melodies. Sometimes the lyrics are written first and the melody comes later, other times it’s the melody first. Most often I find that the best songs are usually the ones where the lyrics were written first. The music has always come easier to me and once I come up with a chord progression on guitar or piano that I really like that usually helps me to find a melody that works well with the lyrics.

OSR: Which is your favourite song on Last Call?

Gott: That’s always a tough question for me or probably for most songwriters to answer. I like them all and it’s hard to decide but if I had to narrow it down to just one, I might have to say ‘Where The River Flows’. That song seems to represent the sound I’ve been striving to achieve. There is a classic rock vibe to that song that seems to be reminiscent of some of my biggest influences like Tom Petty and the Eagles.

OSR: If you could change one thing about the album, what would it be and why?

Gott: I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing. I really feel that I achieved what I set out to do with this project. The album has a classic rock sound with some elements of blues and country mixed in and that’s exactly what I was going for musically. All 10 songs were recorded without the use of any special effects, drum loops, samples or auto-tune resulting in a very pure and natural sound which also helped give the album that classic rock sound. The only thing I might have changed would be the equipment. I have been using it in my home studio and it’s getting old and outdated and could use an upgrade soon. I think I did, however, use my recording setup to the best of my ability and got the best sound I could achieve with what I have. As an independent artist, you can only rely on yourself and make the best of what tools you have to work with.

OSR: Do you have any advice for emerging artists?

Gott: I would say to any artists young or old to never give up on your dreams. It’s never too late to make a change and life is too short to not at least give it a try. Look at me, I quit my job at age 50 and I feel like I’m just getting started and finally getting serious about it! These days with the use of social media and the internet anyone can get their music out there and build a following.

OSR: What is your earliest memory?

Gott: One of my earliest memories was when I was about 3 years old in the early 1970s and I was singing ‘Ramblin Man’ by the Allman Brothers and my Dad was playing guitar. I have a vague memory of it but I know it really happened because my parents made a cassette recording of it. I believe they still have the recording to this day!

OSR: Do you have any phobias?

Gott: No, not really, just maybe a slight fear of heights and tarantulas!

OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?

Gott: I just want to first say thank you to OSR for the interview! I really appreciate it so much and was grateful to get the opportunity to share a little bit about myself and my music with your readers. I would also like to say thanks to all your readers for stopping by to read this interview, it means a lot to me and I hope you might be interested in giving my new release Last Call a listen.

Thanks to Kurt Gott for speaking with us. For more from Kurt Gott check out his official website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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