Songwriter and musician Allie Goertz uses her expansive voice and a clear-eyed view of her favorite geeky properties to create tunes that soar above and beyond the typical parody songs lurking the web these days. We sat down, slightly drenched from the California rains, to chat about her new album. As Goertz’ latest release, Sad Dance Songs is a collection of tunes based on one of our favorite Adult Swim shows, Rick And Morty, which follows the adventures of a drunk, dimension-hopping mad scientist named Rick and his high-strung grandson Morty. Allie and I talked about how this show reinvigorated her love for her craft, the right time to laugh while listening to her album, where she would go if she had her own portal gun, and more. Prepare to wubba lubba dub-dub your way into our chat below.
Congrats on the release of the album! Now that you’re on the other side, how does it feel?
It feels great. It feels really cool. I had only one song done when I made the Kickstarter. In the last year I started so many songs and never finished any of them. Over the summer I had fallen out of love with what I do and confessed on Kevin Pereira’s podcast, “Pointless”, that I hated writing songs about cartoons. I was self-hating and feeling like “Is this all I have to say?” That’s when I discovered Rick And Morty. I fell in love with it unlike anything I’d seen in recent years. It’s such an emotionally charged show and it made me feel things in my own life. The idea of writing songs about it came easily. I wasn’t forcing it. I just so deeply connected to this show that it made it all work for me again.
Was shifting your style the scariest thing about making this album?
Absolutely. There are a lot of scary things about making this album. When I made Cossbysweater, which was my first album, it was just nicer sounding versions of songs I already released on YouTube. I already knew people would like it, but no one had any idea of what this album was going to sound like. Nobody would guess that my next album would be electropop. I wouldn’t have even thought that, but I was listening to The Bird And The Bee a lot. I love that sound. I thought it would be cool to do like Lana Del Rey, but if she were a nerd.
How do you find a balance between humor and melancholy when writing from the perspective of a creature named Mr. Poopybutthole?
That’s my favorite song on the album (“All I Wanted”). It’s not just about Mr. Poopybutthole, it’s about anybody. It was really important to me to write a couple of songs that have lots of references and for some to be more subtle. If you were listening and someone told you that this song was about Mr. Poopybutthole, you would laugh. That was the goal. I didn’t want you to laugh while listening to it. I just wanted it to be a good song. I wanted you to laugh once you figured it all out.
Do you think there are more opportunities to be heard as an artist now or are the platforms to gain support just better and more accessible?
If you have a unique voice, people will find it. I think it’s all about how you use the tools. I write songs that I would want to hear. I wanted to hear a Rick And Morty album and other people wanted to hear it too. So maybe one day I’ll be able to write something that’s just about me or my feelings because of this attention and because I wrote songs about Dungeons & Dragons, Millhouse, The Hobbit, and all these things. I think that if you want something badly enough, and are talented enough, you’ll get heard. You just have to work really hard at it.
If you had a portal gun where would you go?
Oh my god. Well, right now it would be [Rick And Morty co-creator] Justin Roiland’s house to demand a response to what he thinks of my album. On a bigger scale, I’d probably go to an actual different universe. I think selfishly it would be a place where all my creative heroes are and I just get to play music with them. Or I don’t know, SOMEWHERE WITH WORLD PEACE? What am I supposed to say? It’s limitless. What I love about the show is that there’s no end to what it could be. Although it’s an extremely nihilistic show, it’s one of the most optimistic ones as well. So I’ll keep thinking of places, yeah.
Sound off below what your favorite song is off Sad Dance Songs is and also what your favorite Rick And Morty episode is in the comments below!