Headliner Goose ready to get indie groove on this weekend during Northlands music fest

Goose will take the main stage on the closing day of this year’s Northlands Music & Arts Festival in Swanzey. Photo/Daniel Prakopcyk

SWANZEY, NH – The music festival season around New England has been going strong over the past few weeks and it’s only going to get better and better as the summer officially arrives. Happening this weekend at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey on June 14 & 15, the Northlands Music & Arts Festival promises to be a stellar edition of this special time of year. The bill is stacked with bands like Greensky Bluegrass, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Andy Frasco & The U.N., Tauk and Cool Cool Cool performing among many others.

There’s also going to be numerous vendors setting up shop along with plenty of food and drink available for purchase. One of the headliners of the festival is the indie groove act Goose who will be closing things out on the Mountain Stage on the last day at 8 p.m. with a double set experience.

I had a talk ahead of the event with multi-instrumentalist Peter Anspach from Goose about how he got involved in the band, recording all of their performances, thoughts on playing in an outdoor setting and new music that’s on the way. 


IF YOU GO

Cheshire Fairgrounds, 247 Monadnock Hwy, Swanzey, NH 
About an hour from downtown Manchester.


Rob Duguay: Goose originally started out in Wilton, Connecticut in 2014, but you didn’t join the band until 2017, so what were you doing musically before you became an official member?

Peter Anspach: I was playing in a band called Great Blue, which is a band I also formed in Wilton ironically with some buddies I went to high school with and I still play with them occasionally. We were touring as much as we could while trying to make it as a band and at the same time Goose was doing the same thing. We played some shows together that were really fun back in the day and around the time I joined Goose in 2017, Great Blue was kind of at a point where we had been charging so hard on the road for a long time and we all needed a break. When I got the call to join Goose, I was like “Well, I’m gonna go and do this” and it was a great moment for me to make that switch. It felt natural and I was lucky for the opportunity to do that. 

RD: Very cool, that’s awesome. Along with contributing on vocals, you also play guitar and keyboards in the band. Which instrument out of those two did you start playing first and how did you go from there to playing the other one?

PA: I played guitar from around the age of 12 and I immediately wanted to form bands with my friends. My mom had always approached me to play piano, but I wasn’t super into it because I wasn’t playing the music that I wanted to be playing, which was rock & roll and whatever was on classic rock radio. When you listen to classic rock on the radio, you always hear a guitar shredding through the speakers, so that’s what made me want to play guitar. I also played cello at the time in the school orchestra and the guitar is a string instrument like that so it was a good switch. I played guitar exclusively and sang in Great Blue until I joined Goose and then they asked me to play some keyboards, so that’s where I picked up the piano again and really learned how to do it in a band setting, I had never done that before. 

RD: On Goose’s Bandcamp page, you have a ton of live recordings from shows that span over the past six years. How does this process go for you guys when it comes to picking which performances you want to post online? Do you plan them out beforehand or is it more of a spontaneous thing?

PA: At the beginning, it was whatever shows we could record we would put out. It honestly wasn’t very many before I joined the band, but it was definitely a focus I was super adamant about with us recording every show. I’ve mixed the shows, recorded them and stuff like that, so that was on me for a while. We put out most of what we could, but when you’re on the road and you have 30 minutes to set up there’s wasn’t not a lot of time to set up any recording equipment during the early days. We got what we could and we eventually got our own rig where we could set up at every show because we had the means for it, so that’s when we started posting shows more consistently. 

Eventually, once 2020 came around there were enough people coming to every show that we decided to start recording each one. We couldn’t be picking and choosing because these moments are really special for each of the attendees for the shows, so we really wanted them to be able to relive those moments and follow along. 

RD: There’s definitely a lot of them from what I saw online. Going into the Northlands Music & Arts Festival this weekend, do you feel that playing in outdoor environments like this one is more conducive to Goose’s musical approach or do you feel that it has no effect on it?

PA: You know, it is interesting. There is a difference between playing inside and outside, mostly in terms of the sound for us. Sometimes, when you play outside the sound can be a lot clearer due to there being less reflections off of ceilings and walls. There’s also sometimes when you have wind, so it can be a trade off where you really don’t know what you’re going to get. Every environment is so different and it depends a lot on the energy of the crowd, which I think is the most important thing in terms of how the show is gonna go. 

The energy that we’re receiving back from the audience and how they’re receiving what we’re giving them, that exchange is probably the most important thing for a show. Sometimes at a festival that can be amplified, so we’ll see how it goes and it should be exciting. 

RD: Yeah, you’re going to be playing two sets so it should be a lot of fun. After the festival, what are Goose’s plans for the rest of the year? Can we expect a new album to be out in the near future?

PA: There’s definitely some recordings that are on the way, so that’s exciting. We also have a lot more shows coming up this year. We have a later start to touring and we’ve basically had to do five days a week for rehearsals with our new drummer Cotter Ellis. It was a lot of work, but it’s definitely been paying off at the shows we’ve had so far.