An interesting part of life is having feelings for someone else, but unsure how to properly communicate it. As much as we want to express it, fear of rejection and ridicule unfortunately comes to mind. However, this feeling is properly expressed in the latest track by Chicago’s GOOF.
Performing under GOOF, Natalie Carioti (she/they) brings a unique blend of pop punk, alt pop, indie pop, and musical theatre-level emotion to songs you can dance and cry to at the same time. No exception here with their new track “Undercover”, available for streaming on September 21st. Assisted with writing and production by James Kourafas and Drew Jensen, “Undercover” is a synth-driven, upbeat pop tune fueled by the insecurities of not knowing how a (hopefully) special someone may feel about them.
The track starts with a driving, compressed drum loop that opens up just in time for Carioti’s vocals to take you on a journey. Layered with lush synths and complemented with a rhythm guitar in the vein of Michael Jackson guitarist David Williams, it’s a song that’s hard not to groove to. Lyrics such as “I want to be with you every single day, but I shut my mouth so I don’t scare you away” expresses Carioti’s vulnerability for the feelings they’re afraid to share towards someone. Something all of us can relate to one way or another. Before the song concludes, a key change up a whole step rings out in the final chorus.
“Undercover is about keeping your feelings for someone inside for whatever reason. It’s helped me work through so much emotional turmoil that I hope it can give the same comfort to others who are struggling to tell their person how they feel. This song has been one of my favorites for a long time and I’m so excited to release it to the world!” – GOOF/Natalie Carioti
Stream “Undercover” here and check it out on all streaming platforms September 21st (presave link below). Stick around for an exclusive interview with GOOF!
As somber as the subject matter is, what was a deciding factor to making “Undercover” sonically upbeat?
I love when people notice this factor about my music! I think the main reason is that sad songs speak to people in so many ways, but I also like creating music that’s fun to groove to! So combining lyrics that are truthful about a personal struggle with a fun and upbeat musical track I think really reflects who I am as a person and an artist through my sound.
I write my songs from a place of truth and when I’m going through stuff it helps me find clarity, so even though the music I like to create is usually inclined to make people want to dance and jam, there’s always gonna be some sort of somber lyrical content just because, well, I have a lot of issues haha. I love getting this question though! I really believe not all sad songs need to sound sad, and I grew as an artist by writing a lot of ballads in my youth and am trying to create some more energetic music as my writing style matures.
Do you find that the song’s message is universal, or do you think it’s a case-by-case thing?
I definitely think the message of the song is universal and relatable! Even for me while writing it I was able to relate the song’s message and lyrics to multiple situations in my life. It definitely has very heavy allusions of struggling with your sexuality as I wrote it from the perspective of a femme person to someone with female pronouns because the song was giving me a very feminine energy, but I think anyone can relate to the general feeling of meeting someone special and not knowing how to admit you want to be something more than friends.
Do you have any specific advice for anyone not able to tell someone how they feel?
Ooh I’ll preface this by saying I’m great and handing out advice but terrible at taking it myself… but I really do think the best thing anyone can do is be honest. Even if the outcome isn’t exactly what you want or what you expect, you only have control of yourself and your actions and if it doesn’t go your way, you can walk away knowing you spoke your truth and remained true to yourself. That being said, I’m the type of person to play games and give in to drama instead of just asking, which usually bites me in the butt… but that’s why I end up with good songwriting material!
In general, where do you seek inspiration for your songwriting?
Mostly from things going on in my life. I write songs when I’m searching for clarity or as a way of self soothing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been angry or upset about something and writing a good song about it was the only thing that made me genuinely feel better. I’m also surrounded by so many talented friends and collaborators. My producer and writing partner James inspires me every day. Plus any time I see a great live performance or go to a concert or festival, it puts a fire under my butt because I aspire to be there one day. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by inspiration constantly.
May you describe the writing and production process with James Kourafas and Drew Jensen?
Absolutely – so a lot of times I will go to Drew to demo my ideas. Mostly because I want to have something fleshed out before I go in to work on production, but also mainly because James is very busy and I don’t want to waste time trying out ideas that suck.
So Drew and I will come up with some rough ideas, see which ones we get really excited about, and when I feel comfy enough with the writing process, I’ll go into the studio with James, have him do some production to a scratch vocal track (which I hate), then track the vocals a few sessions later, fine tune the production and figure out if anything is missing, and then James will mix and master the track himself!
These two are truly my biggest supporters, I would not be making music at all if it wasn’t for them. Sometimes I feel so helpless because most of my sessions are just me sitting and watching James do this amazing work while I offer an opinion here and there, but I really am so blessed to even have him in my life.
What’s on the horizon for GOOF for the rest of 2022 and into 2023?
Well we definitely have some more music coming out very soon 🙂 Hoping to release another single by the end of the year! I’m currently taking a break from shows while we make some changes to the live band lineup, but I’m truly so excited to get back to rehearsing and playing shows for people as soon as possible, while still steadily releasing some new material for y’all 🙂