Interview with Godford: An Elusive Rave Artist Takes Us on a Tour of ‘Non-Binary Place’ in Debut Album

Non Binary Place - Godford
Godford may not want to share his identity with the world, but he sure is keen on serving it plenty of lively rave music, as demonstrated on his debut album release, ‘Non Binary Place.’
Stream: “Downtown” – Godford




Given the enduring popularity of Daft Punk, we’re no stranger to the concept of French artists making compelling dance music while keeping their faces a secret. But all the while, emerging Parisian rave artist Godford is still a peculiar figure. Not only is he not interested in getting famous from his music, he really aims for quite the opposite; he shares little about his personal life to his listeners and tends to blur our his face entirely when he puts out publicity photos.

Non Binary Place - Godford

Non Binary Place – Godford

This approach allows him to protect his own privacy, and also sets Godford apart from a generation of musicians who vigorously promote themselves by means of social media and publicity frenzies. Maintaining his anonymity allows him “to let the range of emotions the music elicits guide the project,” which allows Godford’s creative output to be “defined by the listener experience rather than the often-distracting ego of modern artistry.”

Such an outcome is what Godford is aiming for with his debut album, Non Binary Place. Like the Impressionist artists of his native country generations ago, he enjoys shifting between both the hustle-and-bustle of the city of Paris and the tranquility of the French countryside, and ultimately channeled the vibes of both regions into his creative craft. He likes his music to reflect the prevalent atmosphere of the time it was made; this time around, “he hopes listeners catch that feeling of nostalgia that he’s currently facing right now in a time defined by disconnection in the absence of a physical community. Godford wants his music to open a portal to a time when we were able to all share the embrace of the rave.”

still from Godford's "Downtown" music video

still from Godford’s “Downtown” music video

While Godford remains a largely private figure, he did open up to Atwood Magazine about the making of Non Binary Place and how exactly the record achieves the dual soundscape promised in its title.

Non Binary Place is out now on Pack Records.

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:: stream/purchase Non Binary Place here ::



A CONVERSATION WITH GODFORD

Non Binary Place - Godford

Atwood Magazine: How did you become interested in making rave music? Were there other artists in France who helped you to develop those interests?

Godford: The most interesting part of rave music is the energy of it. I like the kind of music that makes you forget what you are currently living. That’s why I also like to mix it with more romantic vibes. It’s pretty strange to mix both worlds together, but I like that clash. I like the idea of clashing underground sounds with some Frank Ocean-style chords.

Honestly, there are not many other artists in France who are doing this. I’ve tried to stay in my own bubble and not watch or listen to what other people are doing to get something really deep.

You say you want your music to reflect certain moods, and not necessarily happy ones. What steps do you take to evaluate what the prevailing mood of the moment may be and how you can convey that in your music?

Godford: I just let my deep self speak when I make music. As I travel between emotions, I’m led to create tracks that reflect my feelings. It’s really connected to what I feel or what I saw. For example, the pandemic has had a real impact on my music, because every time I was hearing news, it was bad news. At some point, even if it wasn’t on purpose, [that negative news] would influence my music.

You shifted between Paris and the French countryside as you were recording Non Binary Place. How did you combine inspiration from both landscapes as you were completing the record?

Godford: The way I did the album, in two different places, really reflects my mood at this time. I love being in Paris thanks to its energy and vibe, and also because of the friends I have there. On the other side, I also love taking a break in the countryside, where it’s green, quiet, you can hear the birds and the Internet connection is really bad. I can’t tell you that I prefer one place or the other; I don’t wanna choose. It’s the same for my music. Duality helps me create a lot.

You say that ''Saw You'' is designed to reflect the middle ground between innocent/romantic and rave. Is this theme reflected in the rest of the album, and if so in what ways?

Godford: Yes, exactly. The purpose of the album is to make these emotions clash, but I approached them from a different perspective on each track. When I started the album, it was what I was feeling personally. So I thought, “Let’s make music that can share and ‘sweat’ these emotions.”

What inspired the title, A Non Binary Place? How is the concept of such a place promoted across the album?

Godford: When I’m making music, I’m in my own creative land. I’m bored with people who like to put a label on who you are or what you do. Why should we pick only one thing? I dream about a place where everyone can just do what they want to do without being afraid or judged. If I’m making Romantic-and-Rave music, a new genre that nobody has named yet, I’m happy. If at some point people create a name for it, I’ll change and find something else. I call this creative land a “Non Binary Place”.

Is that you and your sister on the cover? What made you go with an image from childhood for your album cover?

Godford: The important thing is not to know who is on this cover but that it represents nostalgia. The idea to use this childhood image as a cover came from nostalgic feelings that I get sometimes. It reminds me of a time where the world was completely different without social media, etc. Nowadays, I feel people care too much about who you are and how you look; on social media, you always have to be the best version of yourself. I didn’t want to fall into that game.

Anything you'd like to add?

Godford: I’m not doing this music to become famous. It’s kind of therapeutic for me. I’ve been a music producer and DJ for more than 10 years, and I know the “music business.” Being able to do what I want to do without being put in a box is just the best feeling. I’m happy to see that more people are receptive to my music; it really means a lot to me. It would be so rewarding if people could experience some memorable moment or feeling when they listen to my music. It would mean that I didn’t make this only for myself, but for others, too. That would be amazing.

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:: stream/purchase Non Binary Place here ::



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Non Binary Place - Godford

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Josh Weiner

I am a Washington, DC native and graduate of Tufts University and Georgetown University. I have been a contributing writer for Atwood Magazine since spring 2015.