Everything is coming up Allie Goertz. The singer/songwriter debuted just over three years ago and has quickly risen to prominence in the LA comedy scene as a force to be reckoned with. Today, she releases a concept album of dance songs based on the Adult Swim show Rick & Morty and wraps on the first season of her The Simpsons’ podcast Everything’s Coming Up Podcast. We’ve got a music video premiere and a primer on all things Allie.
As we discovered recently, I was at your very first show as Cossbysweater (a band name you later dropped). You opened at Largo for nerd-rockstar Jonathan Coulton. How’d that come about?
I’d played little things around my home in Long Beach, mostly doing back-up for other people. I was making my first album and the producer knew Jonathan Coulton was looking for an opener. Coulton heard a track and said “She’s perfect. Let’s do it.” So we did it.
You won a songwriting contest that led to you appearing on the first Netflix season of Arrested Development around the same time.
Mitch Hurwitz was singing the song on set to himself and kept catching himself and stopping. “I shouldn’t be singing this around you,” he’d say. They let me write a line for the song I performed on the show, and even though it got cut I wound up getting a writer’s credit on my favorite show in the world and that got my pay bumped… just, entirely too much.
At this point you were basically just a YouTube performer, right
I hate that I called myself a YouTuber back then. But yes. The album I was making was basically just a collection of songs I’d already performed as online videos, so the record was just an easier way for people to access the music. Adam Busch (Warren from Buffy) has an LA band and reached out via DM to say he’d like to help with the album. He introduced me to the producer and we made some arrangements that smoothed out some of the arrangements in a way I couldn’t alone.
Almost all of your debut material was about pop culture references like D&D or The Simpsons. Where did the idea to be that kind of songwriter come from?
In my high school MySpace days I wrote a love-letter song to the band Flight of the Conchords. They responded and that was the coolest thing ever. If I loved something I could sing about it and put it out on the internet it would always get to the person and eventually change my life. Every song on the album is a very public confession to how much I love these people and their work.
Then you got a job on Comedy Central’s @midnight which has led to you now running their social media account.
I’ve been at @midnight since day one. First, as a researcher looking at Reddit and 4chan to report on what was happening. I was told the show might last five weeks and if it got picked up they’d find a gig for me. Three years later I’m still there. Me and Dan Telfer are social media managers so we decide which puns clutter America’s timelines.
Where were you working before that show?*
I was a video game tester at Square Enix. It was the biggest nightmare. Video game testing, as you know, is just awful. Worse, I was painfully uncomfortable around everyone. My co-workers were all talking about things I knew about but I felt very excluded. It was my own doing. Once, they were talking about Muppet Christmas Carol and they couldn’t remember Michael Caine’s name and kept calling him Michael Crichton and I couldn’t correct them. Instead, I would just scream on the inside and then go eat in my car.
I can’t do that on @midnight. You can’t be around someone like Matt Mira or Blaine Capatch and even have the option to be shy anymore. It’s why I’m suddenly so outgoing.
So pick apart why you’d dedicate months of your life to making a Rick & Morty concept album.
I actually hated the show at the first. Some friends hyped it so much and then they actually sat me down and Clockwork Orange’d me into watching the show—- while watching me to make sure I enjoyed it. I had such a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t usually write in a diary, but I did write down that I hated it. “Why does anyone like this show; why is he burping all the time?”
Still, people I respect liked the show and so when season two premiered me and a friend got invited to the big opening night party, and I loved the episodes. I went home and rewatched season one (by myself this time) and it just clicked. It was so fast and perfect.
Just a few episodes in, there are songs by a band called Chaos Chaos and music on the show is so good. I’ve been looking to move away from folk music for a while and when I was looking at guitars it felt weird, so I decided to get a keyboard and decided to make a dance song. I start a lot of things I never finish and I wanted to finish this because I knew it would be important and become something I’d be proud of— so I did the Kickstarter and announced publicly “I’m making this thing!” so I could step up my game.
Paul B. Cummings wanted to do the video and got a crew. It forced me to become accountable. It’s like a prank to me — how well that Kickstarter did — but it’s also weird. I couldn’t just drop a surprise concept album. On Album One, everyone already knew the songs, and for a dance album about a cartoon show, this is all very different.
I was confused about what style this would be. Like…soft angel folk girl with drum machine? Is that dance music? But no, you went full electro.
On Dance, Bitch the first lyrics are “wubba wubba dub dub” because they’re funny but it’s also pretty in a dark, stupid way and my normal songwriting wouldn’t have done this justice. I wanted to write songs that would exist in the world of the show, and maybe someday they will. Justin Roiland reached out. He’s an interesting person to talk to; he’s not as a clear cut a conversationalist and so the feedback has been less about the songs and more about the fact that it feels like I’m pranking him. Why would someone do this when they could write a “regular” album? Knockout, beautiful women say stuff like that to me after shows all the time. “Why don’t you rewrite this to be real songs?” Well, sorry, this is the real songs. Oops! Hot women don’t get me.
What’s your favorite song on the album that hot women won’t like?
I wrote a song about Morty that I got in just under the wire. It’s about what would happen if Morty had the backbone to quit. To not do this anymore and say “I’m done.” I’m glad there’s infinite timelines on this show and I like imagining one where he gets out. There’s also a track that MC Frontalot guests on which was a delightful bit of serendipity.
There’s also a song about Mr. Poopybutthole called I’m Sorry that you really have to see the episode to understand, but it is all about apologizing for not hurting someone enough for them to understand that your love is real. That’s probably the song most like the songwriting I’m known for, and it all ends in getting shot to death so — sorry, this is dark. I just like to do things that feel real, and I think that’s what helps this transced fandom. This is the difference between having a Harry Potter party where you have Harry’s face on plates versus building a big, realistic set.
What should we expect from you in 2016?
I want to do a full-on band for a very ‘90s grunge lo-fi pop band with ELO harmonies. I wanna keep writing. I want to expand and it’s thanks to this album. Over the summer I did an interview about how I felt trapped and unmotivated by pop culture and I played a song about how I fear I’m a one trick pony. “Why can’t I be real and honest?” And it’s funny that just by taking some time off and finding a new instrument, I found a way to express the things I need to express.
Here is the debut of the video for “Dance Bitch” from the album. As a bonus, Alex Hirsch (the creator of Gravity Falls) is playing Morty.