YouTube stars Alex Goot and Against the Current gets original

YouTube stars Alex Goot and Against the Current gets original

Candace Kwan talks to YouTube stars Alex Goot and Against the Current about what it takes to become more than just another cover artist

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Alex Goot (far left) gets ready to take the stage with Against the Current (from left: Dan Gow, Chrissy Costanza and Will Ferri)
Alex Goot (far left) gets ready to take the stage with Against the Current (from left: Dan Gow, Chrissy Costanza and Will Ferri)

Sam Tsui, Kurt Schneider and Boyce Avenue are all YouTube musicians who have graced Hong Kong stages in the past year. Soon, we'll be adding Alex Goot and pop-rock band Against the Current to that list.

But what actually is a YouTube musician anyway? Are they cover artists, or "real" musicians who have yet to find a label? However you define them, YouTubers have taken pop culture by storm. Look no further than your Facebook feed; we bet there's a cover video on there somewhere.

Cover videos, and the occasional vlog, were once the meat and potatoes of a YouTube musician's channel. But the ones that stand out these days upload original content as well.

The success of Alex Goot and Against the Current proves that the labels "cover artist" and "songwriter" do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Goot's initial success came from a cover video of Train's Hey Soul Sister four years ago.

"It totally blew up when the band posted it on their Facebook page. From then on out, I had a great amount of momentum build up," says the 26-year-old from New York.

With 1.9 million subscribers and over 300 million views on his YouTube channel, you'd think that Goot would be used to attention, but he says he's still surprised by the success of some songs.

Although he started out as a cover artist, Goot, who has uploaded more than 200 videos, was never afraid that his original work would be overshadowed by his covers.

"Being labelled never upset me, and I think I'm more recognised for my originals. Writing a catchy original is something that makes a true and deeper connection amongst fans," he says.

"I embrace whatever people wish to call me, as long as I can keep making music and they enjoy it."

It might be true that "essentially anyone can cover a song", but Goot's approach to covers sets him apart.

"I loop the song over and over, while I do other things … going on a drive, browsing the [web], whatever," he says.

"Once the structure, melodies, beats, and emotional intention of a song has really sunk in, I sit down and start recording my own version."

On his channel, he even cheekily puts his covers into a playlist called "Songs I wish I wrote".

Goot has been collaborating with Against the Current, a three-piece band from New York, since 2012. Not only do they share the same friends, they also share a similar approach to music - both of their channels are full of covers as well as originals.

Against the Current has only been on Youtube for four years (half as long as Goot), but the lead singer, Chrissy Costanza, is comfortable giving advice to aspiring musicians.

"Stay true to who you are," she says. "It's so important to be genuine. People will see through you if you aren't."

On Monday night, both acts will be performing in HK at MacPherson Stadium for the first time. They'll be playing songs from their new EPs: Goot's Wake Up Call and AtC's Infinity.

After their debut tour of Southeast Asia and Australia wraps up, they're looking forward to going back to the studio and getting started on some new music. And as much as we love a good cover, we can't wait to hear what they come up with themselves.

Alex Goot and Against the Current will perform at MacPherson Stadium at 8pm tomorrow.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Covering their tracks

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