Sarah Goodin and company: Good for the soul

Sitting in the heart of the Spinner recording studio, I’m chatting with Sarah Goodin, Dave Brown and Brett Steelhammer about the process of recording Sarah’s new EP, Sleep. With the larger recording rooms still under construction, this smaller interior space feels like a comfortable living room filled with state of the art recording equipment, empty coffee cups from the Black Drop and a pile of pillows in the corner. You get the sense that Dave and Brett spend a lot of time here.
In 2011, Spinner was commissioned to produce a new Sea to Ski promo and Sarah was brought in to sing. Feeling a good connection with Dave and Brett, she approached them later to help her record some covers for a CD to sell at her performances. “It was easy with Sarah because her ideas and songs came through quickly,” said Dave. Sarah could only afford to complete one cover, the Cole Porter standard, “So Nice To Come Home To.” Dave and Brett were impressed at how much “she made the song hers.”
Knowing a good thing when they heard it, Spinner then approached Sarah about doing an EP of original material – “off the clock.” Over the next 5 months, they began working on the 4 song EP, Sleep – each of them juggling children, school, work, other artists, in order to make time to finish the project. Sarah says, “It was hard because I wanted to be here more. I would be in class thinking about the songs. And I would be at home getting ready to fall asleep and thinking about the songs.” After a moment she adds, “I can’t imagine working with anyone else. These guys have been incredibly patient with me. I have been able to be a part of every step, of every process – even when they may not have wanted me to be. They let me watch and it has just been incredible. Because I feel like these are my babies, these are my own songs.”
Dave emphasizes the collaborative nature of the recording process, “the exciting thing is that we were able to help produce Sarah’s music, to bring it from the 2nd to the 3rd dimension and still let it be Sarah Goodin, the songs she wrote. Sarah is what ties the songs together.” Brett says, “She is so good at putting emotion into the vocals, her songs are so genuine that I know that when I first heard them, I thought this is definitely something that people will like. The major challenge is getting the release out there and getting it to stand out amongst the thousands and thousands of other releases.”
Spinner and Sarah produced a beautiful video for the single, Sleep, which chalked up over 1200 hits in a short time. Dave says there will definitely be more videos for the EP. And, along her many local performances, there is a West Coast tour in the works.
“What is so amazing to me is that I came in here initially just to record some music. I didn’t know anything. I thought I would just sit down and play music and then I would be ready. But Dave and Brett are not just good at recording. The video is amazing. And the fact that they had the vision to do something like that and it wasn’t hokey and cheesy. It has just been so amazing,” stated Sarah enthusiastically.
When asked about the financial aspect of investing so much time and energy into an artist, Dave tells me that what is most important is to first “work your ass off. Get the best quality. Be true to the music. And the money next. Good things follow. To work this way, not worried about hourly rates and financial pressures, off the clock, it is your own personal time and you are interested and invested in what you are doing, that is a cool way to work.” Brett adds appropriately, “it is good for the soul to put an EP out.”
The result of this labor of love is a beautiful, textured and elegantly produced set of 4 stunning original songs by one of the most talented singer songwriters in Bellingham. You can tell that the creation, performance and production of Sarah Goodin’s music is the foremost concern in every element of the EP. As it should be.
“Recording this EP has been the best, the most fun, the most inspired I have ever been. Hands down ever and I think it is only going to get better,” said Sarah.
Coming up!
Catch Sarah Goodin at Honeymoon on April 27.
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