The last year may have left a lot of us black and blue, but even with the twists and turns it brought, we definitely were still gifted with some rad music. Now obviously without shows and promoting new music on the road, bands really used the time to promote in new ways, focused on creating new material and we got a ton of awesome content, including live stream shows.
Now even with the challenges and glacial pace that last year seemed to go at, there was one trio from the Philly area that seemed to still come out swinging. We head back to PA, as this is a Philadelphia story.
Here we find the band known as Goalkeeper and contrary to their lyrics, these gents do not seem to be stuck in slow motion one bit. The band formed back in 2016, having already known each other and coming from bands that were splitting, it seemed only right that these gents continue on down the pop-punk road together. Since becoming Goalkeeper, they have given us a handful of rad singles and EP’s. Starting off with “Gut Feeling”. This EP contains the band’s first three singles, one of them being “Leftovers”. And as they’ll tell you, it most definitely started with a sandwich.
We then see another gem called “Screwdriver” which they actually recorded with Nik Bruzzese at The Lumberyard. 2018 hits and they release the EP “Bad Times Don’t Last”. The EP opens with the track “Sunshine” and we are hit with an early 2000s pop-punk sound that we will always know and love. Dare I say there’s some B-Word (Blink 182) influence? This EP also shows us some versatility with the band’s sound and we hear that in the softer, heartstring tugger “Lately”.
We come around to 2020 and they deliver us, in all its glory, “Life in Slow Motion”. Now, this came out last September, and let’s just say its timing couldn’t have been better with the year of chaos coming to a close. With it, we also received some new videos and if you have never seen a Goalkeeper video I suggest you get on it. No matter the subject matter of the song these gents never cease to provide us some much-needed comic relief. The whole EP is packed with energy, relatable and honest lyrics and at times just makes you feel “Happy”. They kick it off with the track “Just Say It” and as of recently, we find out it may actually be about Worcestershire sauce. But we will leave that topic to VH1’s Behind the Music team. We then come around to my personal favorite “Graveyard”. Now not only does this hit us with its catchiness, but lyrically it gives us that smack in the face that we need in order to come back to reality at times. Lyrically I feel all their tracks hit us like this a bit, not in a melancholic love song type of way, but in a growth and self care, drink a beer, just be happy way. Now I recently had the opportunity to chat virtually with the bands’ guitarist, Marc Juliano. He kindly answered a few questions and gives us a Goalkeeper history lesson, a look into their recording experiences and tells us about the bands latest reimagined release of the track “Black and Blue”. Grab your leftovers and enjoy!
For those that may not know the history of the band, could you give us some background on how Goalkeeper came to be? And you guys originally called yourselves “The Pizzas” in the beginning, correct?
- We did! Haha. We were all in bands in the Philadelphia/ South Jersey area and played shows/ developed a relationship with one another. I (Marc) booked a show one night and needed a band to play. Ryan and I had the idea of doing a pop punk cover set and we asked Cody join on drums since his band was already playing. We jokingly called ourselves The Pizzas and played every cliché pop punk song we could in a 30-minute set haha. The crowd responded well, and we had a blast. After the show all of our bands were actually coming to an end, so we decided to try a band ourselves which became Goalkeeper! We had our first song, Leftovers, released by that December which was in 2016.
2020 was definitely a year for changes and challenges. Especially for musicians and the industry. What would you say were some of biggest challenges you guys faced as a band?
- The lack of touring for sure. We released Life in Slow Motion and had well over 100 shows planned for 2020 and close to 150 shows for 2021 so we definitely missed out on bringing our music to new people, developing as a band in that sense, and seeing all of our friends. However, we still took the time to re-focus ourselves in our personal lives which I think is making us a stronger band than ever before so once we can start touring, we are ready!
“Life in Slow Motion”, in my opinion, came out at a great time. Lyrically it’s so relatable, each song brings an abundance of energy that we definitely all needed and quite honestly you guys kept raising the bar with each track on this EP. Now you recorded this right before everything shut down, correct? How was it working with Will Pugh??
- We did and thank you so much! We started writing LISM in the late summer/ early fall of 2019 and recorded it with Kevin Mahoney of Hit the Lights as the main producer and Will Pugh of Cartel as the main engineer/ co-producer in January of 2020! Fun fact and shout out, Seb Barlow from Neck Deep did the mixing/ mastering as well! Working with Will and Kevin was everything one could imagine. Kevin actually is our main producer and produced Bad Times Don’t Last as well. So, with him, it was awesome being able to work together with an even stronger relationship than before. It really was working with one of our best friends. With Will, it was absolutely amazing. It was the first time we got to really hang out and ever work together but he was so sick, knowledgeable, and down to earth it felt like we’ve been friends for years. They both taught us so much about songwriting, the industry, and making a strong EP. It also felt great to hear them say how strong the songs were already, so little was actually needed to be done to get to the final version of each song. Never thought we’d hear Kevin from HTL, and Will from Cartel say they liked our music haha. It was a surreal moment for sure! Can’t wait to work on the next record with them!
Fast forwarding to this year, you recently paid a visit to the Gradwell House in New Jersey and got to work with some of the greats, one being Nik Bruzzese. How was that experience? What was one of the biggest takeaways you guys left with?
- The experience was great! We actually worked with Nik before on our song Screwdriver, when he was over at the Lumberyard so getting to work with him again, several years later as we became a more serious/ better band was awesome. He even sat us down to express how proud he was of us and gave us a lot of great advice with songwriting and how to keep pushing even when things get tough. That was the biggest takeaway because as a developing band, you hit a lot of roadblocks you’ve probably never experienced before. That being said, to hear his advice and how to handle present/ potential issues, was enlightening and we feel even more confident than when we got there. It was also awesome to develop such a strong relationship with Nik, someone who is a hero to us in the Philly area pop punk scene and get to work with him again.
You guys just released a reimagined version of your song “Black & Blue”. First off, holy wow, you guys definitely killed it with this track. It’s so damn rad. Where did the idea to re-create this song come from? Will we see more reimagined tracks in the future?
- The label we are on, Lost Music Collective, presented the idea of an acoustic track for one of the songs off of LISM to just keep things moving and we’ve never done something like that before. We loved the idea but said that we wanted to go the extra step and really make it something bigger with strings, piano, and just turning the song upside down. We chose Nik because he did the reimagined songs with The Wonder Years, so it was a no-brainer to reach out to him. It was a great experience, and we were stoked to have done it the way we did. Every instrument on the song is 100% real so shout out to Nate Sander who laid down some beautiful piano and violin work! As for more reimagined songs, right now nothing in the near future but we’ll see how the reaction goes for Black & Blue! If not for LISM I think it’s safe to say we’ll have some reimagined works from the next record.
Now one just for fun and frustration, if you guys were only allowed to listen to one band for the rest of your lives which band would it be and why?
- Oh, this is tough haha. Probably pretty predictable but, for me, it would probably be Blink-182. They started it all for me with pop punk and luckily have enough diversity in their music where it wouldn’t become boring lol. They were the first pop punk songs I learned and bring me back to so many positive memories so I having to choose one, it would definitely be them!
Now all jokes and lyrical puns aside, this band is definitely one that is on their way to doing some amazing things. And once again giving some proof to my “there’s something in the damn water” theory when it comes to East Coast producing some of the musical greats. Goalkeeper is definitely on their way to being one of them and will not be a band that you will be throwing out of your daily rotation like that Wawa hoagie. Keep a close eye on this talented trio, give them a follow, share their music, be happy, and enjoy their newest release Black and Blue (Reimagined) which you can listen to here.
Article by Kristen Hernandez