By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Gouda – the solo project of Philadelphia-based musician Joey Heins – recently unveiled his latest single “Anne,” a nearly five-minute synth-happy tune with distorted, yet calm vocals over a dreamy soundscape.
Just like his culinary palate that regularly inspires him to publish recipes on social media, the same can be said for his musical “tastes,” stretched upon a variety of genres. Gouda is his outlet to showcase those influences the only way he knows how – to provide a jam that doesn’t just come out of a jar.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with him about “Anne” and more.
Music Bugle – What has surprised you the most about your music career so far?
Gouda – Making music solo, getting into electronic music and synthesizers is a world I would have never thought I’d get into when I first started playing and releasing music a few years ago, in a rock band. Back then, I would have thought I’d be playing riff-rock for the rest of my time. I adapted when the band all went our separate ways for college by finding new people to play with, but it wasn’t working. I’ve become more and more introverted since then and making music by myself is here to stay for me. I get my energy for the day every morning when I wake up, write and record. It’s my own world that nobody else can be a part of.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Philadelphia to someone who has never been there before?
Gouda – Modest, while still giving off the feeling that you’re somewhere special and important. The historic areas are stunning and relaxing with their old, brick rowhomes. There are not multitudes of extreme high-end stores and buildings. That’s not to say there aren’t any, but that is not the city’s identity. Philly feels like one huge small town and we have a fuck ton of easily accessible green space.
Music Bugle – What inspired your song “Anne”?
Gouda – I wrote “Anne” this past Winter, where my relationship was beginning to fall apart and I was having a particularly tough time with a lack of self-esteem and alcoholism. I was disgusted with everything in my life and had to channel that energy into something that was not alcohol or self-destructive behavior. Adding on to the importance of writing by myself, this song, in particular, was one where its creation made me realize parts of my life that I needed to fix. Often times, my subconscious will speak to me through the lyrics and music that come to me. “Anne” was a particularly strong occurrence of this.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a musician to stand out these days?
Gouda – Artists are able to show what makes them stand out easier and more efficiently than ever before, but due to the sheer amount of artists and people, in general, trying to be influencers and break out through social media, getting discovered is quite difficult. I can make videos and content about my daily life, sell whatever I want and showcase what truly makes me unique in whatever form I can think of, but there are millions of others doing the same thing, with the same goal. The field is over-saturated with artists just like me.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Gouda – Day to day, my life and habits haven’t changed much. As I said, I am quite introverted. I center my day around my creations. The stay-at-home orders initially put an immense pressure on myself to go even further with my creations. If you have all the time in the world, why not use all of it to create and further your career? That question was one that caused me much stress over the first month or so and forced me to develop a healthier mindset towards the world of working as a creative. I had no balance whatsoever and I’ve been steadily working through that throughout these weird months. It was almost as if the stay-at-home orders forced me to keep my usual routine and through that, brought the negatives of my routine to the forefront.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Gouda – One that will always stick with me comes from my Mother – “Never operate out of fear, only operate out of hope.” The premise is one I apply to everything in my life and has helped me through the darkest of times. Operating out of fear leads to violent, angering thoughts and actions, while operating out of hope only brings positivity. Operate out of hope and you will bring this positive energy to yourself and the world around you.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Gouda – Jockstrap. Jockstrap. Jockstrap. Electronic, computer music at its finest. They have been inspiring me to use the most grotesque and experimental sounds and to find the beauty in them. They make computers sound like heaven. Their ‘Wicked City’ EP is a wonderful introduction to the group if you’ve never listened to them.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you feel the need to escape?
Gouda – I create, I get busy, anything but remain stagnant. That allows invasive thoughts to develop further and further, giving them more and more power. Creating allows me to channel that negative energy into something positive; something beautiful. “Anne” was an example of this need to escape, turning the darkness into a piece of art that I love and am proud of.
Music Bugle – What’s something you wish happened more in the music industry?
Gouda – I wish more independent artists could monetize their social media accounts in a platform-to-user manner, rather than user-to-user, especially the smaller artists that are the ones keeping that algorithm moving, since they are the ones spending their time tirelessly working it. Aside from that, independent artists bring flavor to social media and trends. Without the music they create, there is nothing to go behind that viral video. Social media platforms must begin to pay smaller creators.
Music Bugle – What was the hardest song for you to write or compose?
Gouda – My next single “October,” which comes out on October 30, was one that came to me so quickly. It happened in my head last October and has been by far, the most difficult to record and write. Looking back on it, the difficulty stemmed from my lack of experience in designing sounds with synthesizers. I could hear the entire song in my head, complete with all of its parts and its parts sonic intricacies. However, creating those sounds was incredibly difficult, as I had only begun to learn the ins and outs of electronic music. This was tough logistically and emotionally. It was a challenge to get this fully formed creation into something tangible, which had never been something that had given me trouble before I began creating electronic music and sounds.