"I'm one of those people who my mom says sang in the crib," Jason Goodyear says. "There's a recording somewhere of me singing when I was around 2…I asked for my first guitar that year and got a ukulele, which I then broke over my sister's head."
Goodyear has brought these musical (and kind of punk rock) tendencies to his tenure in Santa Fe as both an educator and a musician since he moved to town from Minnesota in 1999. A graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, Goodyear holds a degree in anthropology, though he'd probably have another in music if he hadn't, in his words, "Been a 21-year-old Jason who said, 'Fuck it, I need to leave school and work at a crappy copy shop!'" Even so, this was the mid-to-late '80s when electronic music was taking the world by storm, and the bug bit Goodyear hard.
"In those days I was mostly into what you'd call fast rock or in retrospect, pop-punk, even if I didn't think it was pop punk at the time," he says. "I played in some bands, but a lot of them were mostly great at smoking or drinking together…but I had some pretty incredible life-changing professors like Ed Forner."
Forner taught an electronic music class at Macalester and had previously lived in Europe, which meant he had, according to Goodyear, "Vinyl from everybody…Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, Kraftwerk. And he was unique in that he was promoting this amazing electronic music in a classroom situation."
This also meant that Goodyear had access to all kinds of gear that was cutting-edge at the time. An internship at a recording studio followed. It then became a full-time job that only served to deepen his love of electronic music. Eventually a trip to Santa Fe convinced him to move, he got huge into field recording (the process of recording naturally occurring sounds) and wound up teaching several audio classes at the Santa Fe Community College after the original professor fell ill. Oh, he still played guitar and composed with instruments for bands like Milo de Venus, but it was his college experiences and love of synthetic sounds that led him to his most excellent teaching position today.
"One of the reasons I like to make music with computers is that I love collaborating, but I can be kind of weird to collaborate with, so I can design chance-based pieces that allow me to collaborate with the computer," he says. "I'm not one of these people who likes to write the random thing and then just let it go and say it's art or anything; I like to rehearse with the computer."
Goodyear has also put these disciplines to work on audio/visual art installations in collaboration with local artist Mara Leader, as well as on an upcoming solo album four years in the making.
"When I started my album I was so pissed off that I was going to make this loud, political thing with singing and stories and live recordings, but when I started writing, all this family stuff came up," Goodyear says. "It wasn't like, 'I hate my dad,' family stuff, but it got deeper for me…the drummer I work with says it reminds him of old Nine Inch Nails."
It'll be released soon after some finishing touches, but in the meantime Goodyear can be found teaching within Santa Fe University of Art and Design's contemporary music program as well as classes at Santa Fe Community College like Intro to Reason and Live, Field Recording or Audio Production. Since 2001, Goodyear has been teaching Santa Feans of all creeds and ages how to make music and how to make it sound good. As you read this, spaces in these classes are filling up fast, so don't you think it's time you learned a new skill? Electronic music is almost like learning an instrument without learning an instrument, but is no less valuable to the overall scope of music at large. And in a world full of samples, beat-matching and iTunes DJ-ing, it's good to know people like Jason Goodyear are still out there spreading the good word and enriching our lives with synthetic sounds.
Audio Classes w/Jason Goodyear
Tuesday, Jan. 20-May 16
Santa Fe Community College
6401 Richards Ave.,
Santa Fe Reporter