Ian Gothe Shares First Offering from Debut Album 'Memento'
Los Angeles-based acoustic guitarist, singer, and songwriter IAN GOTHE has shared the first offering from his debut album MEMENTO via his interpretation of the Doors classic "Spanish Caravan." The video was premiered yesterday (October 30) via Guitar Player magazine in advance of the single's November 1 release. Look for the album, co-produced by IAN with Grammy-winning producer and engineer Jim Scott (Wilco, Tom Petty), to be available February 7, 2020 via the California-based Blackbird Record Label.
GOTHE, an Armenian-American born in Iran who came to Los Angeles as a teenager, recorded MEMENTO at Scott's Plyrz Studios in Valencia, CA. It features performances by all-star musicians Derek Frank (Shania Twain, Gwen Stefani), Fernando Perdomo (Jakob Dylan, Fiona Apple), Tamir Barzilay (Macy Gray, Tal Wilkenfeld), and Sam Babayan (The Dirty Diamond). *Read a Q&A below with GOTHE about "Spanish Caravan," a song well-known for its complex and compelling guitar riffs that still capture audiences' attention today.
GOTHE spent much of his adolescence traveling across continents in search of a home. A childhood filled with loss and loneliness provided the impetus for GOTHE to continually turn to music as his friend and confidant. His initial inspiration came from a recording of the Doors' "Spanish Caravan." GOTHEwas not immune, and his petition for a guitar of his own was driven by his desire to play those well-worn, haunting lines with ease. After GOTHE and his hard-won guitar left Iran before the revolution, the 14-year-old lived with family in England and later made his way to the United States by way of a year in Baltimore before finally settling in Los Angeles, where he lives today.
GOTHE's musical career has been marked by false starts and missed opportunities, a reality not unexpected for a young man in the throes of wandering and learning about both music and life on his own. While in his early twenties, GOTHE composed a high-energy dance song, "Cleopatra,"produced by Christian DeWalden, that became a number one hit in Italy, but years of career pursuits and family life ultimately relegated music to an occasional hobby. After the dissolution of his 20-year marriage, GOTHEreturned to his first love by way of an open mic night that led to the start of an artistic relationship with Manda Mosher that continues to this day. Citing the influences of British bands such as Camel and Genesis, and many less well-known musicians, GOTHE's style is an eclectic triumph that fuses not only musical genres but also crosses language barriers as well with songs that feature both English and his native Armenian.
Memento begins with a hauntingly melodic flute piece, "Andalusian Moondance," a dreamy start to an album that unwinds with unrelenting musical prowess mixed with delicate beauty. Classics such as the Bee Gees' "Holiday," Camel's "Airborne" and The Doors' "Spanish Caravan" each come to life with passionate arrangements and masterful instrumentation that reflect GOTHE's devotion to these pillars of his artistic musical history. Interspersed with these canonical songs are originals such as "Take Me Home," written in Armenian; the evocative melody is his lyrical tribute to the universal longing to return home. "Tired Little Eyes," which closes the album, is also written and performed in Armenian. It's a delicate lullaby written as a tribute to GOTHE's late younger brother and a reminder that his brother will never be forgotten. In both "One Of These Days," a mournful original ballad,and "Final Hour," a song by Kathryn Pollock, we hear GOTHE pay tribute to both love and family as he seeks to let go. "Liezah," a beautiful cover of the jaunty British song by The Coral, provides a cheery tribute toGOTHE's time in England. "Blood On The Rooftops In Montrose" is an instrumental piece written about his current home, and it's also his homage to legendary Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. The intro to the song is by Hackett ("Blood On The Rooftops," from the Genesis album Wind & Wuthering) paired with an original piece by GOTHE. The original song is about a couch potato, and GOTHE keeps the theme of television as he uses classical guitar lines to reflect our connection to technology.
GOTHE brings to his compositions and arrangements a depth that can only be found in those who have dedicated themselves to their craft.The artistic choices that GOTHE makes are evidence of an artist who has emerged from a journey, confident and ready to create from a place of authentic introspection.
Q&A WITH IAN GOTHE ABOUT "SPANISH CARAVAN"
What attracted you to interpret this classic by The Doors?
When I was 12 years old, I was looking through my cousin's record collection and on the turntable there was a record. I pressed play and what I heard totally mesmerized me, it was "Spanish Caravan" by The Doors, the first track on side B. That's when I said to myself, "I want to learn to play the guitar."
Why do you feel this song is a good first entrée to his album?
To me "Spanish Caravan" has elements of classical, rock, jazz, prog and folk music all in one song, that's why I fell it would be a good first entrée to my album. And Memento is an eclectic album.
Where did you shoot the video, which was directed by Martin Yernazian?
I chose to shoot the video at PLYRZ (Valencia, CA) where we recorded the album so people could see the magical space where all these creations were made.
Which guitars did you use for the recording and video of "Spanish Caravan"?
For recording of "Spanish Caravan," I used my handmade 2007 A.J. Lucas guitar, a luthier from England. For the video of "Spanish Caravan," I used my handmade guitar by a luthier in Canada by the name of Alan de Jonge.