Listening to Worthless, the effervescent brainchild of Curtis Godino, is a bit like watching one of the madcap’s liquid light shows. Warped reflections of instrumentation echo and burble to the surface; harmonies stretch like endless taffy into the land of ebb and flow.
Just don’t take a tip from the band’s name–which is a complete misnomer. Godino’s psychedelic outputs are anything but worthless, and manage to stretch the cosmic boundaries of the genre even further out.
BTR has a word with the songwriter about his visions and creative process.
BreakThru Radio (BTR): Your sound is pretty far out. How would you describe it to an alien who’s never heard it before?
Curtis Godino (CG): Thanks! We try to make music that we would want to listen to. I’d tell them it sounds like the moon and the sun with the grace of an angel–but also of a demon.
BTR: A lot of people think psychedelia floundered after the ’60s, but Worthless is another clear example that the scene is alive and well. What do you think about the current state of psychedelic music?
CG: I think that psychedelic music is cool and fun. It will never run out unless the incense was to.
BTR: Tell me a little bit about the making of All My Friends Are Stone, which you released earlier this year. What kind of creative headspace were you in during the songwriting?
CG: Well, we had just bought our 8-track and were experimenting with working on tape. Most of us were living together so it was a fun little project. We adopted a dog named Richard, who became our muse. He would wake us up in the morning and shift his head over to the recording equipment.
At that same time Leo had just landed his first-ever contract with Gap to start modeling. They were saying they needed someone who looked like they were in a rock and roll band but also a guy you could take home to mom. Leonard was their guy.
All this commotion was happening and the music just flowed; sometimes we had to pay someone to just sit around and make sure we were ready to record. We were sending tracks out to all the major labels and people were freaking out. They said stuff like, “This is really good guys,” (Subpop) and stuff like, “Wow” (Rolling Stone).
BTR: That’s some high praise.
CG: People were really ranting and raving over the new tracks we were working on, so we decided we couldn’t go with a major label. We had to stay true to our roots in the psychedelic garden and do it ourselves. Nicole [Zamfes] wanted to give the record out to everyone for free but I said, “Hey Nicole, we are not U2!”
The rest is history.
BTR: What was the recording process like for the album?
CG: That record we did everything track by track at home. Each song was a little different. “Pizza Break” was a goof I made right when I got the machine and then asked Skyler [Toski] to record a guitar and write every other verse. But our recording process is about as stripped down as it could possibly be. Even at some points we would all trade instruments and meditate on an idea and then EXECUTE that idea. If convention is what you were looking for, conviction is what you have found.
Also I do not think we could have done this without our spiritual/physical trainer and health practitioner, Charles W Lord.
BTR: Your album covers are really badass and fit the music well. What’s your process like for envisioning and creating them?
CG: Thank you, the process is kind of like: worry about the album cover for months and then when all the music is done, sit down and just do it. Usually I don’t have a plan and just listen to the record and draw. It’s always nerve-racking, but it’s funny to think when you’re really stressed out about making the cover that it will be done by this date. It’s like something will be on the paper but never really knowing what.
BTR: Obviously the psychedelic sound is tethered to the experience of mind-expanding sacraments and hallucinogens. Do you partake?
CG: No not really. To get really weird and creative we like to eat old Chinese food. It has this weird kick and then the visions start. They tell you things that you would have never thought of like “All music is all very good and fun,” and that the state of the world and culture is fine and cool. Nicole had to stop that ritual because things got too intense and very out of hand… She is now very into kombucha.
Skyler and I partake in it every now and then, but Leo and Lilly are the real take-out trippers. I always say: if you got the message, keep trying until you get another message.
BTR: Plans for the rest of the year?
CG: We are working on a live record and our second LP. Both are getting super close to getting done and we’re really excited for people to hear new music. We will also be playing Ancient Sky’s final show on Nov 21 and a real fun basement party at Bohemian Grove the day before. Both shows will be completely different so come to both.
To hear more from Worthless, check out their Bandcamp or tune into BTR’s very own In the Den.