Gothe’s debut full length album, Memento, is a thoughtful collection of wistful self-composed songs and brilliantly arranged covers that invite listeners to participate in his goodbyes, his yearning for home, and his reflections on the music that has defined and inspired his life. Gothe co-produced Memento with GRAMMY winning producer & engineer Jim Scott (Wilco, Tom Petty) at Jim’s Plyrz Studios in Valencia, CA featuring 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.) Ian and Jim decided not to rehearse the band prior to going into the studio. “We wanted to let the magic happen and capture it in its first precious moments” says Gothe.
Born to an Armenian family in Iran, 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”, a song well known for its complex and compelling guitar rifts that still capture audience’s attention today. Gothe was 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 De Walden, 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, Gothe returned 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 Gee’s “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. 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 Katherine Pawlak, we hear Gothe pay tribute to both love and family as he seeks to let go. “Liezah”, a beautify cover of the jaunty British song by The Coral provides a cheery tribute to Gothe’s time in England. ”Blood On The Rooftops Of Montrose” rounds out the album with an instrumental thoughtful introspection.
Gothe brings to his compositions and arrangements a depth that can only be found in those who have dedicated themselves to their craft, and 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.