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Goya going big

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Vancouver band charting course for breakthrough

WHO: Goya

WHAT: Alternative Concert Series

WHERE: The Boot

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 14

They may not be going about the music business in the traditional Canadian manner, but Goya’s mix of youth and experience, confidence and guidance may be the right combination for success.

The Vancouver band is banking on American management, tours south of the border and remix after remix to help lift it above the mediocrity where so many Canuck bands come to rest.

Although the band’s core members – drummer Cam Belter and guitarist Gord Anderson – hooked up about three years ago in the now defunct band Fell, Goya’s present lineup – with Jeff Mathers on vocals and Erik Neilsen on bass – only came together about six months ago. While the present members all appear to be keepers, several changes over the years have also meant several versions of Goya’s debut CD A Struggle In Silence .

"Jeff was a friend of our old bass player who has since left. There was the three of us with this record that was done with this old bass player’s parts on it. We said ‘We can’t have that’," explains Belter. "I made a call to an acquaintance who was just in Grade 12 at my old high school. I had seen him play. I have a recording studio and I had recorded his jazz band and thought ‘Holy crap, this guy’s good!’

"I phoned him up and asked if he wanted to play on the record. He said ‘Mom, can I go play bass?’ and luckily she said ‘sure.’

"We couldn’t find a permanent bass player and since Erik already knew the songs from recording we asked him if he wanted to play a few gigs. He’s just on fire for this thing! This kid is nuts. He’s Flea from the Chili Peppers, but he’s only 18."

The song lineup has also changed to include old tunes that had been put on the backburner. Goya’s previous vocalist had been insistent about singing his own lyrics, so songs like Nothing Ordinary, written by Anderson, never had the opportunity to shine. Aptly sub-titled Version Two – "version one is somewhere in the jam space" – the acoustic ballad was originally written in the heavier style of Goya’s other songs. But the final product, with its stripped-down and jazz-influenced sound, shows off the band’s versatility, Anderson’s thought-provoking lyrics, Belter’s hidden piano talents and Mathers’ vocal agility.

The present recording is actually the third go-round for A Struggle In Silence , and it won’t be the final product for distribution. Since version number three was laid down, Goya has signed on with N Focus Entertainment (NFE), a label based out of California. There were about 500 copies of version three pressed for sale at live shows, but as NFE has recently secured ties with EMI Music for distribution, Goya has decided to head back into the studio one more time to spit-polish the songs before they hit record stands.

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