By: Laura Bennett
As one third of the British music production trio Goodboys, it’s been a big 12 months for Ethan Shore.
Together with his best mate Joshua Grimmett and brother Johannes, they featured on Meduza’s 2019 summer hit, Piece of Your Heart, reaching number 2 on the UK charts, and top 10s worldwide.
The song landed them a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording and a gig at the iconic Wembley Stadium, taking the guys well outside their day jobs as church music producers at Hillsong London.
“I met Josh through my brother, and we jokingly started a project where we would write things in our front room [in a] little makeshift studio here in London,” Ethan recalls. “Josh would always come over and sleep on the sofa, and we’d stay up late writing songs [half-heartedly] thinking it could be a project outside of church. And then Piece of Your Heart happened and it became a reality.”
“We’d stay up late writing songs thinking it could be a project outside of church. And then Piece of Your Heart happened and it became a reality.”
Attending the Grammys, Ethan said, “…was very much a pinch-yourself moment to be surrounded by that kind of calibre of people. To see how the whole thing works was very humbling, but also super inspiring to have a look at what things could be in the future as well.”
It also placed them at the epicentre of ones of America’s most emotional Grammy ceremonies, as celebrities and LA locals mourned the loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
“It was very surreal, and quite an emotional ceremony,” Ethan said. “With it being at the Staples Centre and in LA… it felt like we were at the very centre of what was happening; it was only about four hours before things were due to start that [Kobe] passed away, so it was all very emotional. There was a lot of tributes and I think [the organisers and hosts] handled it very well.”
The Story Behind the Name, Goodboys
In processing the feelings of that day, and all that’s come with the rise of Goodboys, Ethan says having teammates to do the journey with makes all the difference.
“We rub shoulders a lot with people who are doing it on their own, and people who have been [touring] for a long time, and I think it’s quite taxing having that sort of pressure on one set of shoulders. Having [Johannes and Josh] just makes every hurdle a bit easier [because] you’re going at it as a team.”
One of the first decisions they had to make as a team, was what to name themselves. During the last-minute session where Piece of Your Heart was born, they quickly landed on ‘Goodboys’. A surprise choice perhaps, for a group of Christians writing for a secular market – but Ethan says they’re not afraid to be known for their faith.
“I think everyone’s a ‘good person’,” Ethan said, “It was more just the fact that if you knew that we had a faith or that we were Christian… it’s a little nod to the fact that that’s where we come from and that’s who we intend on being.”
Keeping Their Feet Firmly on the Ground
Given the speed of their career so far, working out who they want to be, and refining their identity as a band is something consistently on their mind. Knowing the fickleness of the music industry, and its propensity to love someone one day, and disregard them the next, Ethan says the group are thinking about what comes next.
“It’s definitely a bit of a weight that you carry,” he said. “Especially when it comes to putting out new music; you’re always wondering whether the next one’s going to take or whether it’s going to flop… Getting a song to a certain level of success is awesome, but people forget about the follow up because it has to top it.
“We want the music to make people feel good… but maybe on another level it can also open a lot of doors for other artists… where people don’t feel bad for making music that is just about ‘life’—God’s still in that.”
“But we have this kind of quiet confidence, because we have a faith, and because we have community of people behind us, even if everything goes wrong it’s not really the end of the world.
“Faith is always in the back of our minds, which helps us realise things are a lot bigger than ourselves, and so then hopefully if this is something God wants us to do, then it will be big, and if not then we’ll go back to being to who are.”
Ethan also hopes that as their career evolves, Goodboys’ music will inspire other Christian artists to stretch themselves beyond the church setting,
“We want the music to make people feel good, and have a good time, but maybe on another level it can also open a lot of doors for other artists and pioneer a way forward where people don’t feel bad for making music that isn’t about God, but it’s just about life—God’s still in that.
“People often feel like it’s black or white; it’s one or the other, [but we want to offer] freedom to struggling artists who wrestle with the duality of that; [to give] permission for people just to be able to express themselves.”
Watch: The Grammy-nominated Meduza track Piece of Your Heart featuring Goodboys.