Tom Goss, the gay songwriter who taps into the complicated ups and downs he expereinces in love as fodder for his art, is back with a new video for his next single, “Quebec” (premiering below).
The video acts as a follow up to the first installation of a narrative arch that Goss began with “Berlin.” An S&M and cabaret-inspired music video, “Berlin” showed Goss dealing with the fallout after a fling he had in the German city — played by real life friend (and Mean Girls and Looking star) Daniel Franzese — professed to being in love with him.
Fast forward, and the pair are now in gorgeous Quebec City, still on holiday. But all is not well.
Franzese’s character has admitted to cheating on Goss, and Goss in turn admits to being in love with another man. The clip drifts back to the past, when Goss and his beau were still on better terms, cutting to shots of their passionate lovemaking and smiling brunches, filled with Canadian bacon and flapjacks covered in syrup. But Goss also imagines sleeping with the other man — or is that another true flashback?
The track’s lyrics revolve around a devastating statement Goss’ husband told him in real life while they were in Quebec City for real: “We are not special. We are no longer special.” The track and video are raw, and shows Goss doing what he does best; working through heartbreak with music.
In a candid interview with Billboard, Goss explains the making of “Quebec,” the importance of bear-type representation, and how his love life is fairing in 2020.
What was going on in your life while you were creating “Quebec”?
When I was creating this, I was going through some of the most impactful and traumatic experiences, emotionally, that I’ve had in my life. The story in and of itself is derivative of my life. My husband Mike and I were going through this tumultuous period, as the result of the opening of the relationship and me falling in love with another man. We went to Thanksgiving at his parents’ house in western Massachusetts, and after we took a trip, to reconnect, so we drove up to Quebec city.
So we were having this date night, but there was something happening with my husband underneath the surface. When we were walking back to our hotel, he stopped. And he just started crying. And he looked at me, and he said, “We are not us. There is another us to us. We are not special, we are no longer special.” I think that is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life, and coming from the person that I love more than anybody in the world, telling me directly he feels our relationship has been lost or changed in a way in which he is mourning. And I wasn’t being defensive, I wasn’t arguing. I was just trying to understand the weight of what he was saying.
That statement turned my world upside down, and turned everything backwards for me. It really, really made me challenge who I was, what we were, and what was happening. There were moments in the writing of this record where things were said, either by him or by me, that I felt were so profound that I put them word-for-word in the song.
What made you tap Daniel to play your love interest again for this video?
I like consistency in my music videos, and for him it’s really a compelling character. He’s showcasing the character’s sadness, as well as the tenderness and the loving that we have for one another. Our chemistry is great because we’re also real-life friends, and he’s super talented — I think he brings a lot to the table. And for Danny it was exciting because it gave him the opportunity to explore a really deep and dynamic gay character, which often isn’t shown.
Speaking of things that aren’t often shown, you consistently show plus-size men, “bear type,” in your videos. Can you talk a bit about your proclivity towards men of a certain size and why it’s important to you to show them, openly and sexually?
I did not know that I was gay until I was 23. I didn’t know that I could be attracted to this kind of man. I was a wrestler. I was an athlete through college. And so when I was trying to discover my sexuality, I knew I wasn’t attracted to women. But I was showering with 60 guys, every single day, I was seeing these 22 year olds with 3-7% body fat, handsome, Midwestern, and just beautiful. But I didn’t have any sexual attraction to that.
So my journey to discovering my own sexuality was difficult. And I think I have a responsibility as an artist and somebody creating visual media, to be authentic to my voice, to be authentic to my experience, and authentic to the things that I find attractive.
I think over the course of history, people tend to cast romantic interests that are going to sell the most tickets, that is going to generate the most viewers. I guess that’s a good strategy — but what that does, inherently, is alienates people who are attracted to different things, who find different body types, different genders, different charismas, sexually attractive. I think Danny is f–king beautiful and I want people to see what I see. I get messages back to me that say, “Wow, I never thought of that person as attractive before, but man, he was hot in your video.” And I think that is exactly what I’m trying to do.
And as you continue to release these videos and songs about your personal life, how are your relationships doing now?
I’m still with my husband, and I’m still with my lover. It’s actually been great. I think that nothing is without its problems. But I think at the end of the day, I’m a very loyal, honest, and committed person. And my husband has seen me fall in love with somebody else, has watched that love and relationship grow — and that’s been very, very difficult for him, as much it’s been difficult for me. But at the same time, he’s also seen how I am committed to having our love and our marriage and our relationship grow as well.
I can say that Mike and I are more honest and open and loving with each other that we have been in the past, and in a way that doesn’t have boundaries or secrets. I’m not sure that we could have done that five years ago, but we’ve worked through a lot, and my music has definitely helped us along. So I’m very, very, very proud of that.