Sunday, November 01, 2020


Interview with Go Analog

With the release of their new EP Moonlight Gram, Ohio's Go Analog has come up with an outstanding effort that has quickly become one of my favorite releases of the year.  Here's an email chat I recently had with frontman and guitarist Eric Croft.

Can you give me a quick background on the band's history?

Eric Croft: vocals/guitar, Keith Kemmerer: guitar/vocals, Michael Osborne: bass, and James Watson: drums.  

Well, Go Analog has existed throughout the 2010’s.  We all grew up less than 15 or so miles from each other but started playing together at different stages in our life. Michael and I went to the same high school, but didn’t play music together until our 20s.  Michael’s bass lines really evolved and stand out on this record. Jim was in one of the earliest formations of the band, and came back for round two right before we decided to make this record.  Jim’s parts have always been the right fit for us. Keith and I have been doing this together since the beginning. 

Basically, we have had a couple of highs, a few lows, and long stretches of being latent. More than anything else we just like creating together. In all honesty, we are horrible with self-promotion, which we realize is a necessary part of this industry, so we appreciate you setting up this interview.

How does your songwriting process tend to work?

When we began writing this record we started clean and without a template.  It was winter and we hadn’t sat down to write together in a serious manner for close to a year. Many of the melodies and progressions were written over 5-10 sessions in an upstairs bedroom in rural Ohio. Acoustic guitars, a rickety drum set, and a keyboard were our tools. I think you can feel that atmosphere in parts of the record.

The lyrics started in stream of conscious form just as a way to give the melodies life.  The feel of a word or phrase in a melody can be just as important as the content. Once I would sing a phrase that connected to one of us we’d then build on that foundation to create the story. The songs titles come from those stream of consciousness phrases that guided the rest of the lyrics.

You worked with producer Eddie Ashworth who has worked with a diverse array of big name artists over the years.  How was it working with him?

It was our first time working with him and we were all terribly impressed by his skill, composure, and musical ear. It felt very natural for us to be there in that space, which is something that can be excruciatingly difficult to create.  It was just a positive vibe that made it fun to create. While his influence is definitely on the record, he did it in a subtle manner. The album took about 5 full days of recording to finish. Without the atmosphere he created these songs might still be stuck in that upstairs bedroom in rural Ohio. 

I can hear some similarities to the sound on your first EP and Moonlight Gram, but I definitely hear a band that has matured and to me the new EP has a smoother sound with a bit more of a retro vibe (although “Time Wasted” on the debut definitely sounds closer to what I hear on Moonlight Gram).  How do you feel your sound and lyrics have evolved from the debut to now?

As I mentioned, the lyrics started in stream of conscious form just as a way to
give the melodies life, and we build the story around a phrase that sticks.  In the past I feel I tried to force too much into the lines, which sacrificed some of the natural flow. So I feel we stripped down the lyrics as much as possible on Moonlight. 

Musically, we really didn’t write with any sort of agenda or template in mind.  Maybe that is to our peril haha.  But we just kept the songs we felt were good songs, regardless of what genre, or box, they fit in.  We probably had a dozen or so more songs that we decided to shelve. It was all pretty natural, and we were all in agreement on what made the final cut. 

“Oh My” is one song that definitely stands out with a darker, much heavier edge than the rest.  What can you tell me about that song?

I agree. I think it’s the most somber sounding and heaviest song on the record.  I remember that one started with Keith bringing the riff to us, so it is very guitar driven. While the lyrics are pretty heavy as well, they come from a positive place of self-reflection, and trying not fall into predictable patterns.

To me there is a real diversity amongst the tracks while still maintaining a familiar sound throughout.  Would you agree to that?

I would- for better or worse we do have a sound, and although it has changed throughout the years it is still us. I really don’t think anyone else on the indie scene sounds like us. It’s pretty apparent that we are not chasing a new, popular sound, but we are just happily writing songs the way we know how to do that. The type of comments we get from fans about how they relate to our sound is all over the map, which I think is pretty neat.   

Is there a connection to the album title and the baseball player, doctor and Field Of Dreams character Moonlight Graham?

It’s phonetically very pleasing to me- Moonlight Gram. To me it has a “cellar door” quality. Like with lyrics, I think the sound is important. But yeah, Moonlight was a guy that was so close to achieving his boyhood dream, but was at peace with how his life turned out and was at peace with not quite getting there. It goes against the “follow your dreams, and you will achieve it” mentality most millennials were raised upon, which is just a ridiculously high standard for measuring success. 

There are also themes of struggle, addiction and temptation on this record that plays into the title as well. 

I saw a video on youtube of one of your performances from 2015 and there are four really good songs (“Black and Red", “I’ll Be Waiting", “Stay" and  “Ballroom Dancer") that you performed that aren’t on your debut or the new EP.  From some of the things I have read it sounds like there was another release in the works a few years back that I’m assuming was never released.  What took so long between releases and are any of these available anywhere and if not, do you think any of these will ever show up?

You went into the deep catalogue. Thank you.  We had a limited release of "Black and Red" and "Ballroom Dancer" long ago when Jim was in his first run with the band.  They didn’t work as well without him. I still think they are really fun songs and we plan on putting them into our live show from time to time. 

What kind of impact has the pandemic had on the band?

We took off the winter to finish this record, so we haven’t played a live show in front of people yet in 2020.  Pretty crazy. Like most people, we took March through about June off without doing much of anything musically. Just existing.

But it hasn’t all been bad- we have spent the last 2 months trying these songs in an acoustic format for smaller venues where social distancing can be achieved. That’s been fun, and I think they sound really good in the type of atmosphere.

What’s next for the band now that the EP has just been released?

We go back into hiding for another few years, of course. No, we are so happy to offer our first vinyl run to people. Hopefully, full band shows once that becomes a thing again, and some smaller acoustic sets in between. Keith and I have been having a weekly writing session the past 2 months that has gone really well, so hopefully we won’t have to wait as long for a follow-up album.

Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?

Thank you so much for listening, and we would love to hear from you on the socials or with our email: