Peninsular Place

The Magazine

October 1, 2012

La Sera’s Katy Goodman Explains it All

La Sera - Photo by Magda Wosinska

From Pussy Riot and gaming to relationships and animal rescue – nothing is off limits with La Sera’s Katy Goodman

Katy Goodman is every woman. She is the girl next door. She is the sexy rockstar on stage. She is a gamer who won’t let the boys push her around when it comes to Call of Duty. She is your Twitter-loving best friend who has no qualms with making her life public for all of her followers to see. She is also full of delightful contradictions – like how she claims not to give much thought to what she wears yet so often has amazing fashion sense. Or how she doesn’t really believe in lifelong monogamous relationships, yet still gets teary eyed while watching the Pixar film “Up.” Even her potential career paths paint a sharp contrast – high school physics teacher vs. revered indie rock sweetheart. And, in her career as a musician, she is both an active band member (Vivian Girls) and solo artist (La Sera) at once. But these are some of the reasons that we love Goodman. She’s refreshingly approachable, genuine, thoughtful and introspective – but for the most part just wants to have a good time, enjoy life and not take everything so seriously (since, after all, we only live once).

When we spoke with Goodman prior to the start of her tour with Josh Tillman (Father John Misty), she had just finished eating pho at a Vietnamese restaurant. By the time our conversation was over, she told us that she had never talked so thoroughly about animals, relationships and her political beliefs before, adding, “It must be the pho.” And, truth be told, our time together felt a lot less like interviewing a rock star and more like having a long talk with one of our best girlfriends.

What made you start making music as La Sera?

I had never just sat down just with a guitar and wrote a song by myself before. And I did a couple of years ago for the first time. It was really fun and I wrote a whole album in two weeks and was like “Oh, that’s not so bad. That’s fun. I like doing that.” And now I’ve just been doing it ever since.

Your most recent album seems to be largely a breakup album. Can you tell us anything about the story behind that?

The album is based on a few different relationships I’ve been in but it’s about getting to that point where you realize you’re just not happy anymore, so it’s not traumatic cheating breakups. It’s more like, “We’ve been together for a while and it just kind of fizzled out. Sorry – that sucks.” That’s probably because those are usually the kind of breakups I go through – the kind where it’s getting to the point where maybe we just shouldn’t be doing this routine anymore.

Is it hard to maintain relationships when you’re on the road?

I think relationships are hard for everyone. It’s really easy to be like, “I travel a lot, and that’s my excuse,” but I have friends that don’t travel, and they have trouble, too. I just think relationships in general are just difficult and take a lot of work – which is why they don’t work out most of the time. I’m very pessimistic about traditional, monogamous relationships.

And why is that?

I think that people get bored, and people like excitement. Unless you really go out of your way to make your relationship super exciting, I feel like most of them kind of fall into these routines that eventually make you less happy. I think you only live once. I’m totally cool with the idea of having several or many long term relationships throughout life. If you get married, and 20 years later you get divorced, it’s like, “That was fun – I spent 20 years of the only life I have. I don’t regret it, but time to move on.” I feel like that’s okay, and I don’t hate that idea at all.

You seem like the kind of person who doesn’t live life with regrets and really seizes the moment. Would you say that’s true?

I feel like you’re only getting older all the time. You never know what’s going to happen, so you shouldn’t be unhappy. Sometimes you need to make drastic changes – or even not drastic ones. Sometimes things that seem small on the grand scale of things can have a huge impact in your life and make you a lot happier.

Is there any glimmer of hope that you have that a relationship might work out and turn into something more long term and lasting?

I feel like the term “work out” is really weird. Because what does it mean if something works out? You stay together for 40 years, and then someone dies and you’re like, “Well that worked out.” Dan Savage always talks about how you never really know something is going to work out until it does, and then you’re 80 and still together and are like “Well I guess that worked out.” But until that day happens, something working out could be as little as having a happy year together. “We were together for a year. It was awesome. You only get that year once.” I’m still friends with a lot of my boyfriends for that reason. You don’t have to be together for your entire lives for it to have worked out. That’s a very old-fashioned way of looking at it. Although I will admit, every time I watch “Up,” I cry. So I’m not totally heartless.   There’s something to be said for sharing your whole life together and ending up old. That’s beautiful, too. I just feel like it’s not the only way to reach happiness or to feel like you succeeded in romance.

Did you always know you wanted to make music?

No, not really. I only started making music when I was about 20. I played music in high school band when I was growing up. I played saxophone, but it’s not like I ever wrote songs with it or played in a ska band with my saxophone or anything. I didn’t get involved in a band until I was like 20 and my friends asked, “Do you want to sing in this band?” And I was like “I guess so.” And it was super fun, and I’ve never looked back since that. So it’s never too late to start. I didn’t even play an instrument. I played bass for the first time essentially when Vivian Girls started, so it’s never too late to start.

What was your vision for your life before that?

I was going to teach high school physics. I have my degree in physics and my master’s in education and physics. I was seriously applying for jobs, and that summer when Vivian Girls got signed to the label, it wasn’t at all what I thought was going to happen whatsoever.

I heard that you did some video game writing for some tech blogs?

I wrote a couple of things for Fader. I have a column in Noisey.

Are you excited to tour with Josh Tillman? Are you friends outside of your musical endeavors?

I’m really excited to be doing the tour. I love his music so much. I always run into him at our local juice bar. We’re friends. We see each other at shows and stuff. I found out that they were looking for someone to open the tour, so I submitted myself and that was it.

You have a big Twitter presence. What’s it like having fans know so much more about you than the average musician that they might follow?

I think it’s funny. There’s a lot to be said for remaining somewhat mysterious, and I know a lot of musicians who will never join Twitter, and they like having that separation, but I just happen to be a very open person. I like making jokes. I like being social through having Twitter friends. I like that stuff. My Twitter personality is me, whereas my music is a separate thing that I take very seriously. That’s why the Twitter name is not La Sera. It’s Katy Goodman. Because by my music, you might just think I sit around in coffee shops sobbing. I’m more of a carefree, optimistic person than I think my music might say about me. I generally only write songs when I’m upset.

Would you say you have a different persona for Vivian Girls than you do for La Sera?

My persona for Vivian Girls is how I am in real life. I smile and laugh a lot and tell jokes on stage and stuff. La Sera is more my sadder side.

I know that you recently performed during Fashion’s Night Out in New York. Tell me about that experience.

It was really fun. I’ve never been to fall fashion week, and it’s really hectic. The sidewalks are completely full of people. It took 10 minutes to walk one block. It was kind of like mardi gras, which I was not expecting. It was really crazy.

I heard that you got to wear some awesome clothes. 

Yeah – I got a gown and a blazer.

You do have a good sense of style. Do you look at yourself as someone who loves fashion?

Honestly, not really. I recently have started to think about clothes. My style has formed very organically. At no point have I ever sat down and thought, “What should I be wearing?” I just kind of buy clothes – which is not great, because you should kind of be thinking about your outfits, but I never planned it out. I used to go thrift shopping in high school, but I’m way to ADD for it now. I don’t have patience to go through racks of clothes. I wish I did. I just go to the mall. I just bought a lot of clothes the other day because I decided I wanted to wear more white after Labor Day because that’s the rule that you’re not supposed to do that. So I was like, “Fuck that. I’m going to buy as many white dresses as I can find.” So I bought six white dresses. And I bought white shoes and shorts – tons of white clothes. I think on the Father John Misty tour, I’ll probably be wearing white every day – which is a terrible color for your tour color because the clothes get so dirty typically, and I won’t be able to wash them. But I’m just a major risk taker.

I also saw you were Tweeting a lot about the situation with Pussy Riot, which you seem to feel strongly about. Can you tell me a little more about that?

The moment I heard about it in the spring until this moment right now, I still can’t believe that that’s a thing that happened and that they’re still in jail. Vivian Girls played a benefit show for them and their legal defense. It was awesome to play a part. Fans all made “Free Pussy Riot” shirts. It was really awesome to come together for a good cause. I feel like there are a million causes in the world. Sometimes you wish you could do more for a lot of causes, but there is something very specific about the Pussy Riot cause that we attached ourselves to. We’re girls and we take for granted that we can just get up on stage and sing about anything that we want all the time. Yes, Pussy Riot is more of a protest group than just a band, but they’ve tied together their politics and music in such a creative way, and it attracts a lot of attention. They understand that having their video go viral can be the most successful way of staging a protest in this day and age.

Vivian Girls seem to have sort of a feminist vibe through their music. Is that accurate to say?

I think that the lyrics aren’t political for Vivian Girls, but the act of three girls starting a band and getting our own gear and going on tours is a feminist thing that could only really have happened after the Riot Grrrl movement. We definitely are feminist in the way that we think, which was completely opened up to us through Riot Grrrl and through feminism – and the fact that we can get up and sing about anything we want and it’s not weird. Getting to that point has required a lot of action.

What’s next on the horizon for you after you’re done with the tour?

I don’t know. I’m thinking about getting a dog. I want a giant dog – a great dane or something. I’m going to rescue it. Another cause that I feel very strongly about is animal rescue, so of course I can dream about great danes and mountain dogs or whatever, but I’m sure the dog I get, I’ll just go to the animal shelter and adopt a dog. I would never buy a dog. That’s something I feel really strongly about. There’s so many dogs of all different breeds that always need adopting, and I don’t think there’s any room in our society for buying pets for several thousands of dollars – that’s crazy to me.

La Sera will open for Father John Misty at 8 p.m. on October 28 at the Magic Stick in Detroit.



About the Author

Amanda Slater
Amanda Slater
Amanda is the Editor in Chief of iSPY Magazine.

Peninsular Place


The Buzz: September

Frontier Ruckus // The Ark & The Crofoot / Sept. 6 & 7 by Paul Kitti A VHS tape of “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” (anyone?) on their homepage is just one of countless reasons to love this folk rock band from ou...
by iSPY Team


Youth Lagoon with Father John Misty @ the Crofoot [Review]

Father John Misty (Joshua Tillman) came to the Crofoot like a 21st century John the Baptist emerging from years in an emotional desert, armed with a notebook of enlightenments and a newfound enthusiasm for sharing his message. ...
by Paul Kitti

Father John Misty 7 (2012)

The Gospel According to Father John Misty

Before you read any further, there’s a few things you need to know: First, it’s okay to be self-absorbed. Second, hooking up with a girl in a graveyard is not disrespectful. In fact, it’s actually a better way to commemor...
by Amanda Slater




If you haven’t heard of Detroit band FAWN, their new album “Coastlines” or their record label Quite Scientific Records, that’s all about to change. FAWN’s recently signed with the same label that has encouraged local ...
by Mary Simkins

Peninsular Place

Summer School

This month, school may be out of session but preppy, cool styles are in. The neon and color trend won’t quit this summer, so when trying out some prep school plaids, opt for subtlety. Add a hint of print in a scarf or bag lik...
by Lacey Lake



Movement 2012 // Day III

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Photo by Erin Garcia

Gaining Speed with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Whether you live close enough to hear the bats crack in Comerica Park or you reside in the calmer shadows of the Motor City, you’ve probably referenced Detroit at least once when asked where you’re from. The further you tra...
by Paul Kitti

Kelly Klever Massage


Andrew Bird Charms Detroit

As expected, Andrew Bird’s performance at The Fillmore Detroit on Thursday, May 10 was a can’t-miss show. Gone was the Fillmore’s typical main floor standing only format. Instead, all audience members had assi...
by Amanda Slater


Navigate Movement and Explore the D with Wheelhouse Detroit

Memorial Day weekend welcomes all kinds of EDM fans and fans of Detroit to Movement 2012. (Shout out to Flavor Flaaaaaaaav!) We’re pretty positive it’s going to be one of those parties that you don’t want to m...