attachment-dazy 2
[Photo via Dazy]

James Goodson’s creative songwriting outburst led to Dazy’s debut album OUTOFBODY

Ever since he was a kid, loud guitars and catchy melodies have fascinated Richmond, Virginia-based musician James Goodson, who records under the moniker Dazy. As he began going down the rabbit hole of music discovery, he realized there was a common thread between various styles of music, including punk, rock and pop music. 

“It’s always been the thing that’s drawn me to so much music,” Goodson says. “So much of that music is still the main stuff that really hits me now because of that; those bands are all very loud and it’s energetic, but it’s still very overtly catchy.”

Read more: Every Green Day album ranked

He recalls the pure excitement of discovering punk music, which had those qualities in spades. Growing up, he’d listen to bands such as Green Day and Nirvana, who he says are “great introductory bands because if you like what they’re doing, you can follow that in so many different directions.

“Green Day can take you to older punk, the Clash and the Ramones and stuff like that,” he says. “Nirvana can take you into all kinds of other cool alternative stuff like Pixies and grunge. Those were the rabbit holes that I was really interested in exploring when I was a kid.”

In his early 20s, he got into various types of pop, including Britpop and jangle pop. He started listening to a lot of U.K.-based bands, including New Order, who “really opened a lot of things because they’re a straight-up pop band.”

“They were setting out to make their version of pop music, but because they came up through the scrappiness and that particular spirit and punk stuff, it really informs what they’re doing,” he says. “It ends up making this ever so slightly off-kilter version of pop music, which I just really love, and think is really appealing and sticks with me a lot.”

Goodson’s eclectic taste in music is readily evident on Dazy’s debut album, OUTOFBODY, which is out now via Lame-O Records.

“I’m definitely never trying to be too clever or run away from a hook,” he says. “I’m trying to make music that’s catchy first and foremost, but I like to weave in something a little weird. A lot of times for me, it’s just being very loud or being very noisy or adding some feedback that’s a little bit of something sour for all the sweet that’s happening, too.”

Goodson started the project in 2020 as a way to write and release his own songs, which had piled up in previous years. He had always been in bands since he was a kid and was constantly writing songs. After spending some time contemplating what to do with the songs, he decided to release them as Dazy (a name his wife suggested).

Initially, he started sharing the music as singles and EPs, since it was the quickest way to release music.

[Photo via Dazy]

[Photo via Dazy]

“I just started putting them on Bandcamp. It was like ripping the Band-Aid off, remembering how to ride a bike,” Goodson says. “Doing smaller releases is really fun, and I like to make artwork and cover art and things like that. It was an opportunity to do all these fun things that I hadn’t really been doing for a while.”

At first, Goodson was nervous going it alone, something he hadn’t done before. However, once he got on a roll, he remembered how much fun it was creating and releasing music. 

“Once I got back into it, I couldn’t stop. I was so excited to just keep putting out songs and ended up putting out a ton in that first year,” he says. “It definitely was freeing to put things out of my own pace and do whatever I felt like doing. It was fun to just go wherever my brain led me on any given song or release. There was a freewheeling freedom with shorter releases.”

That experience and growing confidence from this abundance of creativity helped convince Goodson to create Dazy’s debut full-length. He holds album creation in high regard and felt it was time to make his own statement musically.

“I think I found my footing a little bit more and had a sense of what I was trying to do with Dazy and songwriting-wise,” he says. “I had found a little bit more of my own voice in it.”

For Goodson, creating a full album meant “switching gears in a big way from the mentality” that he had before, where it was a more complex effort instead of recording a song and releasing it the following day.

“I was trying to be a little more meticulous about it while still keeping that homemade [quality], making something that had my house energy to it, too,” he says. “I wanted to try to see what it would be like to change my goals and do something a little different and make that thing that was a little longer and hung together in a particular way and try to make some decisions about it that were a little more thought out than I had been doing before.”

To achieve this, he recorded the songs at his Richmond home. The small confines of his recording space gave the songs a scrappy and homemade feel. While some might consider these limitations restricting, he found the limits of his house beneficial.

“I like there being some confines [while recording],” Goodson explains. “I don’t have a lot of amps, mics or gear. I just use GarageBand. It’s just having some limitations; it makes you stumble around and stumble onto things that you like more than if you had had anything at your fingertips. 

“And that cool accidental stuff more often than not are things that weren’t some genius notion,” he adds. “It was just a cool accident. Maybe because I don’t know what I’m doing, it’s increasing the opportunity for cool accidents.”

After recording the songs, Goodson sent them to be mixed and mastered by Justin Pizzoferrato (Dinosaur Jr., Pixies, Wild Pink), who maintained the album’s raw “homemade scrappiness.”

Take, for example, album opener “Out of Body,” where the drum machine is “pretty tinny sounding, and it’s got this homemade feel to it, but the songwriting feels big.”

On the flip side, songs such as “Rollercoaster Ride” and “Motionless Parade,” are quieter. Goodson felt having a couple of quieter songs fit the context of an album and helped create a great dynamic-sounding journey listening through that “went to some different places and wasn’t just one thing the entire way through.” 

“A big new challenge for me [is] to make songs that feel like they make sense within the framework of Dazy, which is predominantly pretty loud while trying to pull back, instead of going bigger, and bigger, and bigger. It’s [mostly] just trying to go as big as you can.”

“I like the way that there’s these moments where it comes down a little bit and you get to almost take a breath from all the loud.”

On “Rollercoaster Ride,” Goodson channels the changing dynamics of the popular theme park ride. He wanted to challenge himself to “write the biggest, poppiest thing” he could imagine, and he succeeds. 

“That was a little bit of a new thing for me. There are other songs on the record that are obviously really poppy, but I usually try to temper that with something noisy or a little more raw on the other side,” he says. “It doesn’t really have noisy guitars. That was something new and fun for me that I was really excited about.”

It also excited him to see there was a common theme starting to appear as he compiled the songs for the album. It refutes the “idea that the older you get, the more you’re going to settle into a particular lane.”

“I always have found that funny where it’s this idea that as you get older, you magically have it all figured out. When I think in reality, you get older, and more things are changing, more things are new. There’s always something new. You can never have perspective beyond your years. You’re always just going to be trying to change along with it.”