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'Quayside' Visions :: Tom Goss on His Hot New Video

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Jul 19, 2019
Tom Goss in his latest video, 'Quayside'
Tom Goss in his latest video, 'Quayside'  (Source:Lorelei Rubik)

This updated interview takes a look at Tom's new video for "Quayside," the new single from his forthcoming album "Territories."

Gay singer-songwriter Tom Goss continues with the lead-up for the October release of his next album, "Territories," with a new video that drops today, July 19.

"On the Quayside" is pure Goss, featuring soulful lyrics and some of the most tender, emotionally charged vocals he's ever delivered. But it's not the standard love song; though the lyrics only hint at it, "Quayside" — and the forthcoming album as a whole — was inspired by a journey Goss has taken, both within himself and to different travel destinations, over the course of the past few years. With the release of "Quayside," Goss is officially coming out as being in a polyamorous relationship.

Polyamory has nibbled around the edges of both straight and LGBTQ culture for a couple of decades now, with straight (often female) writers boldly proclaiming themselves to be more fulfilled and happier in relationships that are anchored in commitment to a spouse or significant other, but that also make room for other important and intimate relationships. For Goss, that means remaining fully invested in his marriage and fully supportive to his husband while he also explores his deep connection with another man — also married in his own right — whom Goss refers to as his lover.

Intrigued, EDGE reached to Goss for a chat in which the singer — as honest, direct, and genuine as ever — talked about the challenges, joys, and creatively inspiring energy around being happily married... and happily poly.

EDGE: With your new single - and the forthcoming album "Territories" in general - you're kind of coming out of the closet again as poly. That seems super brave, and it must be a little scary! Was that a difficult choice to make?

Tom Goss: I mean... first of all, yes, this is very difficult. Second of all, I'm not sure that I'm coming out as poly as much as I'm just saying, 'This is what's going on in my life right now." I think that's an interesting question, and maybe something I haven't thought enough about; I don't believe that my only way of existing in relationship is in polyamory, but I will say that I'm in love with my husband, and I'm in love with somebody else at this moment in my life.

EDGE: By the same token, it sounds like you're also saying that you're discovering that you don't necessarily need to exist in non-polyamory.

Tom Goss: The past three years it's been a really hard, but interesting and challenging evolution in my relationship. I think I've always really... you know, my parents had and still have, a very bad relationship. I was never really given positive examples of what marriage is, and what love is in terms of romantic love. I was always very proud and strident about my love with my husband. I've written countless songs about it, and countless records about it, and it has always been the most important thing to me — the thing that is beautiful and special, and that I never believed was possible, to be honest.

The idea of risking that, or changing that, or challenging that was always very frightening to me, so when it got to the point that the relationship was opening up, that was very much not my desire, and not my dream — and not the way that I saw my world unfolding. Still, I wanted to be the person my husband needed from me at the time. I wanted to be a good partner for his journey. So I went about supporting him on his journey and, as a result, sending myself on a different journey. And that journey led me to where I am now. I'm not really the kind of person that engages in physical relationships without an emotional connection, so I guess in retrospect it seems obvious this is where it would lead.

EDGE: And you have a new video to go with the song!

Cover art for the single 'Quayside'  (Source:Lorelei Rubik)

EDGE: You co-directed the video with Lorelei Rubik. How did you come to work together on this? Had you been familiar with her work and decided she had the sort of style and eye for what you wanted?

Tom Goss: I worked with Lorelei a couple of times over the past couple years as a behind the scenes photographer on "Click" and in the studio for making of "Territories." It was in the studio that we really got to know each other. She spent days in the studio, being a fly on the wall, capturing the process of the creation of the record. She would come in the vocal room with me and video full takes. When I finished singing you'd hear her breathe. She was holding her breath for entire songs! It was in those moments where I realized how important the craft was to her. The creation of art and storytelling was more important than her actual breathing. When we chose Quayside for the first single off Territories, she immediately popped into my head to direct the music video. She takes such stunning pictures, there's such a surrealism to them. That's exactly the kind of imagery we were looking to create.

EDGE: The production values of your videos have gotten better and better over time. Is this a matter of always wanting to outdo yourself? Or are you constantly finding artistic collaborators who bring more to the game?

Tom Goss: Honestly, both. I never want to do the same thing as I've done before and I always want to challenge myself to learn and grow. I believe the best art is made in collaboration, so that's extremely important to me.

EDGE: The imagery and editing in this video is something a little different for you - visually, this video matches the deeply emotional, sort of anxious mood of the song, and it's very dreamlike. Was that your intention all along or did this approach take shape as you began to work on the video?

Tom Goss: That was absolutely our intent. We want the viewer to be as anxious and uncomfortable as I was, and still sometimes am, as I journey through these uncharted waters.

EDGE: The song itself shows your growth as a craftsman - so do you feel your music and your videos are growing and deepening hand in hand?

Tom Goss: I sure hope so! If they don't grow then I'm doing something wrong.

EDGE: Over the years you have gotten quite comfortable in front of the camera but in this case, your acting is really top-notch! Was that due to Lorelei directing you? Have you been upping your game as an actor?

Tom Goss: Probably both. Lorelei and I worked very closely together, our lines of communication were open and we were always on the same page. That made me comfortable to be as expressive as necessary. As I've learned what it takes to tell a story, I've learned what is necessary from a performance perspective. It would be an oversight not to give Michael Serrato (director, collaborator on "Illuminate the Dark," "Son of a Preacher Man," "Breath and Sound," "Click," "La Bufadora") credit in helping me understand and embrace that as well.

I do a lot when creating these videos (producer, editor, actor, musician, trash man) so my head is often scattered in many places. In this video, I am the main character and the focal point of the video. Besides short cameos from Benny, I am the only character. I really needed to amplify my acting if this video was going to work. It was nice to take center focus and know what to do with it.

Tom Goss  (Source:Lorelei Rubik)

EDGE: You've experienced what you refer to (or your press notes do, anyway) as #MeToo episodes when you were in the seminary. Those experiences must have been very painful. Has your experience with polyamory been a way to address and recover from those experiences?

Tom Goss: Well, mmm, maybe... I don't really think so. I do think that... Mike was the first person I ever dated, and we started dating a week after I left seminary, so my entire history of relationships and intimacy was with my husband. I think that's really beautiful and wonderful. But I do think one of the opportunities about opening the relationship was my ability to begin exploring myself as a sexual being, and I think that while in seminary that wasn't really possible.

In retrospect, I think that the seminary experience kind of prolonged my ability to get around (in a dating sense) the way a normal 20-something person would get around, so by the time I entered my first relationship I was emotionally mature enough to make that a long-term relationship and I didn't need to date around. I think in that way, maybe it's making up for some of the time lost in college as someone who was totally oblivious, or in seminary as somebody who was in this really restrictive system. But I would say that Mike has been very healing to me, so I don't believe that I'm carrying anything over from the seminary experience anymore.

Frankly, I'm really grateful that it all went down the way it did because I'm a stubborn motherfucker and I would have stuck it out [in seminary] no matter how miserable it was unless it got really horrible and dangerous — which is what it became. So I'm grateful for those people, to be honest.

EDGE: Your husband Mike must have come to terms with the fact that your life - and his life with you - is going to inform your work, but did he have doubts or worries about you addressing these themes in your songs?

Tom Goss: Oh yes, absolutely. I mean, in all honesty, it's been a stressful week for me and for him, just because it is, as you mentioned, kind of coming out all over again. And there's a certain amount of fear that's attached to all of this. So, you know, I'm grateful regardless of how uncomfortable it has, at times, made Mike. I live a very open, honest, and authentic life in a public forum, and that's not always easy [for anyone in a relationship with a person who lives that way]. So, yes, it's definitely been difficult.

He helped edit the press release; it's important for me to always keep him in the loop as to the dialogue I'm having, and the way our lives are being represented. He's okay with it, but that doesn't mean it isn't difficult. That goes for him, and that goes for me, as well.

EDGE: I can't help thinking there is a double meaning to the album's title - the songs are named after places you have traveled to with your husband and, separately, with your lover. But are you also talking about new places in yourself that this relationship has allowed you to explore?

Tom Goss: Yeah, absolutely; I think that's why the title works. When this journey started, like I mentioned previously, my role was really to help Mike through his journey of ... maybe "sexual rediscovery" is a good way to describe that, but I also, in that process, understood that I really have a lot to learn as well.

There was some digging that I had to do within my own psyche in order to understand what was happening and be in tune with my own emotions and sexual behaviors. I think it's very easy when society tells us that relationships exist in one specific way, and when that changes society tells us, "Well, you don't need him. Go get another person who will be conscripted into what society tells us a relationship is." Any variation on that - we're told to get a divorce, to dump the person, to start afresh or just force these kinds of rules and limits on a new person. I didn't want to do that to Mike, because I know that he's the best thing that ever happened to me. But I also didn't want to do that to myself. So it really began a very serious introspection in terms of myself as an emotional being, a physical being, and a sexual being, I think that's a process I'm still trying to understand, even after three years. The record reflects that, both thematically and geographically.

The new single "Quayside" is available for download and streaming now. "Territories" will release in October. More information at http://tomgossmusic.com

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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