Think back to when you were, say, seven or eight. Do memories of pretending to be a doctor, maybe a celebrity, or zookeeper come to mind? (Some profession whatever it may be.) Perhaps you and your siblings acted like you were in a band. Then years passed by and teen angst hit you hard over the head. It wasn’t ‘cool’ to hangout with your siblings or family in general.
Well, that’s not the case with these brother’s and their cousin. Oh, and they’re actually in a band together. Goodland is the name, after an apple, but we’ll get to that later…maybe. Goodland, an Indie/Emo band, located in Stevens Point, WI, evolved from Aaron Trinkner (Guitar/Vocals) and younger brother Aiden Trinkner’s (Drums) brotherly music experimentation. Then turned into cousins jamming out when their cousin Jake Shirley (Guitar/Vocals) joined. Lastly, one awesome bass guitarist, Tyler Marshall was added, completing and complimenting the family band. These dudes just released their self-titled album at the end of 2017 and it really brings back some nostalgia with a twist on the Emo days for me.
Their interests in music started young. “Our mom is a music teacher. I’ve been playing guitar since second grade. The way I started playing guitar is Alex (Aaron’s twin brother who isn’t in Goodland) got into advance math and I didn’t get into advance math. I cried for like three days straight. My mom was like, ‘Aaron stop crying, I’ll let you play guitar.’ So, then I started taking guitar lessons. I stopped crying. And I started crying again because I write songs.” Aaron expressed. Aiden added nonchalantly, “I wanted to copy him and be cool.”
So in a way, not getting into advanced math for Aaron was a good thing. Otherwise maybe he wouldn’t have started playing guitar, and then Aiden wouldn’t have wanted to copy him, and then this rockin’ band wouldn’t exist! *gasp*
As we chatted, I found their family connection very moving. Goodland’s music is an eclectic combination of their different tastes. “Aaron listens to a lot of the whiney Emo sounds. I listen to a lot of Metal, heavier stuff so my drumming is a lot faster and I include a double bass pedal in our stuff, it mixes interestingly, and Jake likes Punk,” stated Aiden. Goodland’s songs speak about deep, very personal experiences, some which have affected the entire family.
Water started to fill my eyes as they described St. Michael’s. A song on their self-titled album, relaying Aaron’s thoughts, emotions, and actions when his twin brother (Alex) was admitted to the hospital due to attempted suicide. Like I said, the songs are pretty deep and personal. “- It’s basically about how I felt guilty, I thought he’d be a different person, the whole song is about how I felt terrible, because I was worried not that he wasn’t safe, I knew he was safe, that somehow he’d change. It was really tough because we’re all family. That was a thing that impacted every single person.”
Writing music seems to be a common way for the Goodland cousins to communicate. Guitarist, Jake, has a piece titled Old Friends featured on the new EP. He describes it as, “Some personal stuff I was going through and sometimes it’s hard to have a conversation. It’s a lot easier to just get it out behind a sweet guitar.” And, that’s just what these guys are doing.
When Aaron and Aiden started writing music before the band came together, they were drawn to performing live. “When we first started writing these songs we weren’t really thinking about a record necessarily. We were thinking about playing shows. We had to write songs to play them,” Aiden reflected.
As they continued to practice, practice and practice some more, and perform at some of their first shows, (one being a battle of the bands – which they placed 2nd!) they decided an EP was kind of a necessary thing. Looking for a place to record, Aiden reached out to studios in Eau Claire, WI due to what they’ve heard about its lively music scene. He reached out to Toy Car Studios and Pine Hollow, which is where they stumbled upon Audio Engineer, Justin Andersen.
Justin worked with the Goodland guys for around 12 hours, three days straight. Chugging out song after song, until each of the six were complete. He gave them quite a memorable time, with recording sessions in both Toy Car Studios and Pine Hollow, the band was able to experience both studios after all. “I feel super lucky that we got to work with Justin, because we all kind of clicked. He could really feel what we were trying to accomplish. – Our personalities clicked, he knew what was going on, it’s amazing that audio engineers are so good at their jobs, oh my god, it’s like suddenly I sound way better than I actually am,” Aaron expressed. “He’s around our age, it was easy to relate and just to talk him,” added Jake.
The recording session involved more than songs about personal stories, Goodland’s EP has some tunes that reflect Aaron’s love for reading as well. Song 8 talks about a case study he found so intriguing that he had to write about it. While the song Wanderer describes his favorite book, by the author Cormac McCarthy.
As our conversation came to a close, I got to pick their brains for you aspiring writers and musicians. Goodland is made up of a bunch of incredibility talented, goofy, artistic, and hard working guys. Each has their own way of working towards their music aspirations. As well as, each of their styles and personalities can be found in this EP.
Leaving you with something to ponder, here’s some awesome advice from the Goodland guys:
“I’m a big believer in the idea of a work ethic, I’m not a big inspiration guy, when you think it’s just going to happen. You’ve got to put the hours in to write the stuff. There are some days where I feel like I’m hitting my head on the wall. I’ll teach (By the way, I may have forgotten to mention that Aaron is a teacher and he loves to talk about it. 17 times in this interview in fact.) a whole day, and think: ‘I’m not doing anything productive with my guitar playing right now.’ If you keep pushing it eventually something’s going to happen, that’s what I believe.” - Aaron
“Just play as much as you can. It doesn’t matter where you’re playing or what kind of music you’re playing with. I was a music major for two years so I play all different kinds of music all the time. Not necessarily just drum stuff, so like getting all the experiences and even going to shows helps inspire you to do more. Just being around music as much as you possibly can.” - Aiden
“My advice is a little different, theirs isn’t wrong, but I just, I’ve listened to Johnny Hobo and The Freight Trains, and he just recorded it in his room. Just do it. If you have something to say and you want to say it, go ahead and do it. The lead singer of Bikini Kill, she had all these things to say. She started spoken word, but no one would listen to her so she started a band. She said, ‘I started a band so people would actually listen to me.’ The one song I wrote, that’s why I wrote it.” - Jake
(Tyler unfortunately wasn’t able to be at this interview)
Goodland and their new self-titled EP can accompany you on car rides, reading your favorite book, working out, whatever it is you may enjoy doing, via a variety of sources. You can purchase the EP on iTunes for just $6! As well as listen on Spotify, Bandcamp, and YouTube. Heck, maybe you’ll even hear them on your local radio station.
If live music is your thing, you can catch them playing at one of their upcoming shows. This Thursday, January 25th they’ll be gracing UW Stevens Point with their presence. Located in The Encore, DUC at 8PM, which is free with a UWSP Student ID and $5 for everyone else. All other upcoming shows can be found on their Facebook page.