The Great Shift
el Goose Chicks Interview with
written by Lisa Governa
Disclaimer: This is not about Rick’s girlfriend. No, this is about a moving camera operator, music video writer and producer, coffee connoisseur, nature lover, community builder, and Great Shift founder Carina Immer (aka Keke Foster or Dolly). Let’s get to know this very special lady.
Little Carina has a lot in common with her grown up version— a super silly class clown making up dances and songs for home videos, who’s outspoken and opinionated.
“I come from a very musical family. I was always the odd one out because I never really wanted to professionally pursue music. I took some piano lessons and I was in chorus, orchestra, and band, but I never really loved it. My two brothers were like musical prodigies. My middle brother (Gavin) is a wonderful classical violist and my eldest brother (Reed) played jazz trombone and bass. My mom is a sculptor and artist. My dad was a big musician. He was in various bands growing up in Oregon. When he was 16, he went on tour around the country with an older band of guys in their 20s and played a rock organ. He had a big influence on my taste in music growing up. He was really into jazz and rock & roll. A funny little claim to fame is that he later got into jingle writing and wrote some iconic jingles, and got to write a song on the Ghostbusters soundtrack!”
Pictured Above: Carina and Rick in the Mohave Desert | Photo Credit: Peter Anspach
“I have a very creative family, but as I grew older I swung in the opposite direction. I pursued agricultural economics in college, and thought it'd be more realistic for me to make a living by doing things other than music or art. But these days, I'm finding myself veering more towards the creative outlets. Since dating Rick and being more exposed to the Goose and live music scene, it's apparent that I really do thrive around artists and on creative collaboration. Being around artists, I get really inspired. It's serendipitous that I'm now in this community because it's actually bringing me back to my roots.” Instead of music and art, Carina’s creative outlet was pen and paper.
Her parents encouraged her to get a little weird sometimes.
“I would fill out tons of those marble notebooks as a kid. I journaled most nights from fifth grade until my senior year of high school. I just tore through those, journaling and writing poetry and being in touch with my innermost perspectives and being able to translate them into creative writing. I was always able to vividly remember my dreams and I ended up writing a lot about them. Having artistic parents and knowing that it's okay to get weird and create outside the boundaries of societal expectations really contributed to my creative side. I never took official writing courses, it was always just a therapeutic thing for me.”
Carina gravitated towards nature in her formative years, sending her down a pathway to the great outdoors and beyond.
“We weren't hyper outdoorsy people, but I would always go on hikes by myself and enjoy the forest. There was a meditative thing about the natural world that resonated with me as a kid. I was really inspired by my high school biology teacher and environmental science teacher. “
“They both had a really radical perspective in regards to climate change and the agro-industrial complex. I got involved in extracurriculars in high school that were focused on that and volunteered at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo for a program called “Conservation Discovery Corps.” Aside from the fuckery that is likely going on in many zoos, this particular program was geared towards wildlife conservation. Part of my job was standing in front of exhibits and talking about deforestation, extinction, and species reintroduction programs. I felt so regal, but thinking back, I must have looked like such a noob at 16 wearing my hiking boots and zoo satchel. But at the time, I was really proud of myself. That may have been the final trigger that got me into this kind of thing.”
She attended UCONN where she continued to explore her passion for the environment, pursuing a degree in agricultural economics.
“I ended up minoring in Latin American Studies and human rights, which led me to work in coffee. I attended a seminar about Fairtrade products, and met this badass woman who started a coffee roasting company with her husband where they taught coffee farmers in Nicaragua how to roast the coffee they grew instead of exporting the raw product, which allows farmers to capture the massive value-add that we usually catch in the states, even though we aren’t doing the backbreaking work of planting, harvesting, sorting, milling. This is crucial because the international c-market, where coffee is traded publicly and farmers often sell their coffee to, is sold at an alarmingly low price. What this roaster was doing (named “Vega”) seemed super righteous, so I asked her if I could intern for her. I ended up going to Nicaragua to experience a coffee harvest and learn everything about coffee — growing, roasting, meeting the farmers. It led me on a wild journey of working for various coffee importers for four years and traveling to coffee farms around Central and South America. More recently, I’m doing marketing for “Kiss the Ground” which is a nonprofit organization inspiring participation in the regenerative agriculture movement.”
What eventually brought Carina to our community? Just like many of us, a friend said, ‘Have you heard of Goose?!’ and brought her to her first show—Goosemas 2018. Things have been pretty magical ever since. “My convergence with Rick and Goose heavily had to do with this girl Katie. After college I was manically looking for a place to live in Connecticut because I was dying to get out of New York City, where I had been subletting for a few months. Not many young people that I knew were looking for a place to live in Connecticut - until Katie came into the picture. I had only known Katie from afar because she threw some wild parties at UCONN, and at the time she was just this mythical, unicorn girl with a huge, one-of-a-kind personality. She reached out when I posted on social media about finding a roommate for a little cottage in East Norwalk, and I was like, Oh my gosh, THE Katie Sulzinski wants to live with me.”
“I think at that point she had shaved one side of her head, had an eyebrow piercing, and wore platforms with huge faux fur coats. She had held multiple jobs throughout college and finished her courses in less than four years. She also happened to be a big Goose fan. They were small at that time (2018) playing some little local gigs. I wasn't in the jam band scene at all, and from the outside the culture was so bizarre to me. Katie kept talking about this thing called “Goosemas” at a taco bar named Cantiki. I had no idea what I was going to, but when we arrived, it was wild. I hadn't seen a scene like that in Norwalk yet — people of all ages smoking joints, wearing crazy outfits, dancing all night. I was hooked immediately to their music. Eggy opened up that night too! Katie went up to Rick after the show and said ‘Hey, we live down the street! Let's all hang out!’ The three of us started this friendship that soon grew into a larger friend group. Meeting this greater community showed me that Connecticut isn't boring.”
Carina and Rick were friends for about six months before he asked her out. For a few weeks of that time, Katie and Rick were actually a bit of a love interest! Talk about Hot Tea in the kitchen!
“When I first met Rick, I was in a long distance relationship that was phasing out, so Katie and him were kind of a thing. Rick is an introvert and Katie is literally the most extroverted person I've ever met in my life, so although they’re great friends nothing ended up happening romantically, and we all continued to all be friends after that. When Rick and I started to show interest in each other, mainly after a super long conversation about the movie The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, I thought ‘Oh my God, is this bad?’ but Katie said ‘You guys were always meant to be!’ That's how we started and we always laugh about those days. It was a lot of fun.”
After they had been dating for a few months, Rick asked Carina to be a part of the Shenanigans Nite Club teaser video. “There was so much confusion in that teaser, because it was not at all related to the full length movie we later made. I think it almost brought joy to the band that people were confused about that piece.” There you have it, folks. The boys love to troll us fans.
The spicy, sassy Keke Foster who appeared in the Shenanigans teaser was also the leading lady in the “So Ready” music video. “The animation team who made the “So Ready” video used that live action teaser as inspiration. It was a lot of fun making that little clip! Rick gave me a call and was like, ‘Can you round up five girls by 6pm tonight for a video? Bring 80s attire, and we'll tell you the rest when you get here.’ That’s the magic about these little last minute creative projects that these guys do… the vibe has always been ‘let's just get together with friends, use props we already have, and make it happen.
"It's always an adventure in that sense.”
Goose truly thrives in improvisational scenarios including navigating the global pandemic in March 2020. The band joined the ‘Live From Out There’ broadcast and dropped the intimate and notorious livestream from T’s House, where Carina tried her hand as moving camera operator.
“My aunt had gifted me a nice camera when I was young and I played around on it a lot. I've always been into film, but I never had actual experience in videography. Peter purchased a gimbal during quarantine, which is what we used to film the ‘Live From Out There’ sets. He simply gave me a crash course before each set on how to use it. He said something like, ‘Just go crazy! Do whatever feels right!’ We got into this fun rhythm where I was being experimental with the shots during each set.”
“Everyone was at home missing out on shows so my approach was ‘how do we make this vibe really intimate and a lot of fun visually?’ Two or three sets were at Trevor’s and the rest were at our house (Rick, Peter, Jeff and me were all living in a rental together). The four of us were a COVID pod and that's ultimately why they had me come on to film. I don't think that would realistically happen otherwise, to be honest. I decorated our solarium with tons of lights and tapestries and fabrics and candles and tried to make it really homey for everyone to feel like they're in the living room.” You can even hear Carina singing on “Cielito Lindo!”
After positive feedback from their first round of livestreams, the group wondered what’s next? “We were trying to figure out what things in our Goose community we can offer locally during quarantine.” Their rental home, fondly named Comstock, is where the Bingo Tour idea spawned over the kitchen table one evening between Peter and Rick. Carina’s official role was Executive Assistant. “I just wanted to be at their disposal for anything they needed help with. It was a ton of fun, because the tasks were always different. I was involved in a lot of precursor stuff like helping film the commercials and activities. I filmed the hot ones challenge. A friend and I cooked meals for everyone at Bingo Tour. I was in this scrappy kitchen below the barn flinging up vegan food the entire weekend. One day we made a ton of produce from Horseshoe Farm. Matt Campbell from Vasudo has a brother Pete who’s this epic farmer - we call him Farmer Pete. He had all this awesome produce he donated to us — everything from salad greens, to potatoes to garlic scapes…we incorporated anything that was available from his farm into a dish. Peter even went there one day to film Farmer Pete taking care of his bees and farm. Bonnie (Coach’s wife) had an epic vegan cooking class, and we did a Jazzercise class with Rick’s sister Amy.”
“I do have a longing to do something like that again… hopefully over the next year or two, we'll get some time to do more hometown, organic features that will make people feel the same way that Bingo Tour did. It’s interesting, because lockdown had a special spice to it. I don't know if we’re ever gonna really be able to recreate that magic, but I guess that makes it more special.”
Pod shows became the new norm, producing some of Goose’s greatest and most memorable live shows. Undoubtedly, Frederick, MD in May 2021, was a wild run with inclement weather. While we hunkered down in our cars through tornado warnings and danced in water up to our knees, Carina was with her dad.
“He passed away last year from Parkinson's, unfortunately… That was a hard time for my family. I was really close with my dad. I streamed it from my dad's hospice bed where I laid next to him. I have a weird nostalgia for that time because I had just finally made peace with the fact that it was his time. I wasn’t fighting against the reality of the matter anymore. I remember Samantha (Ben’s fiancée) FaceTimed me and included me in the pre-show power up, and everyone dedicated it to me and my dad. It was just so sweet. Even though I wasn't there, Frederick 2021 is actually a really special memory.” Knowing this context makes our memories that much more special too.
Fast forward to January 2022, Carina is in Lancaster, CA for the filming of the “Borne” and “Dripfield” videos. Tapping into her creative writing abilities, she truly captured the essence of these songs and translated them to film. “I was really lucky to be with Rick as he was writing these songs. He was sitting in our room at Comstock writing down lyrics and humming melodies. He often starts with the melody before finding the words. That expands into an entire song from there… it's a really cool process because the meaning evolves for him. “Borne” and “Dripfield” are really loaded. If you were to sit Rick down and ask him what they're both about, he could give you a one-word answer or an hour-long explanation. I think they're very dreamy themes that are related to a lot of personal things he's gone through. I think he wanted to keep them metaphorical enough so that people could relate to them. In “Borne,” he's exhausted from these components in life letting him down and stepping in his way. He has a clear idea of what his purpose is… but he needs to make peace with what he's gone through and where he's at before he fulfills it. The more literal vehicle for this concept in the music video is him trying to write the next album. Something he has suffered with a lot is writer's block, which every good artist has suffered with at various times in their life. I wanted to show him trying to be a perfectionist and avoiding the darkness within him. “He finally succumbs and accepts that he needs to let the ideas flow through him rather than forcing them.”
“That's when “Dripfield” begins. He is going into this slumber and dreaming of this experience, where he's letting go of all expectations and releasing all the barriers that's preventing him from really reaching this creative openness within himself. Being able to write these concepts was super meaningful for me. Dylan Hahn, who was the director, had made the initial treatment. All I did was add a story, a few character arcs, and some supplementary visual ideas. Without him and his team, it wouldn't have become the tangible and beautiful piece that it is.” A 45 minute drive from the cabin featured in “Borne” provided the desert backdrop for “Dripfield.” “We really went crazy that day in the desert for “Dripfield.” There's a lot more acting involved in “Borne,” so a lot more shots had to be taken. In “Dripfield” all the guys just had tons of fun doing crazy shit. A big part of it is dipping into that child-like wildness, to release these societal norms and judgments within yourself…like shamelessly screaming at the top of your lungs and beating your chest in the sand.”
While Carina contributed storylines for “Borne” and “Dripfield,” Carina drafted what’s called a “treatment” for her writing and producing roles in the “Hungersite” music video. It breaks down every scene and outlines the story—who is each character, what are the themes, where are they and why.
“I'll make a mood board on Pinterest that has colors, patterns, outfits and scenes. I’ll do the whole thing in one shot. I won't look up from my computer for a few hours and I'll just blurt it all out… that’s my creative process. I'll wake up with an idea and know that I need to strike while the iron is hot..”
Carina is treated like any other contractor when submitting her ideas. “They give me great feedback. The opportunities they've given me and the way they've treated me during these processes have been very professional and empowering, which I love. They’re being critical when it makes sense to be critical, and then celebrating things that turn out well.”
Despite enjoying a healthy troll of their fans, the band didn’t intentionally sprinkle Easter eggs throughout these videos. The tiny cabin in the “Borne” video serendipitously donned a painting of a dark horse on the wall. “When we were filming there, we were joking around like oh, an Easter egg for Dark Horse! “We always bring those things up—are fans gonna think this is a hint for XYZ?” Perhaps it’s just a nod from
Carina had to do some convincing to bring the “Hungersite” video to fruition. “They said they were on the fence about making a music video. I said “you absolutely need to”, because it's such a music video kind of song. I could already see the music video happening and Rick said, ‘Send me your idea!’ I pulled over on the side of the road, wrote down an idea, sent it to them, and they said, ‘Let's do it.’ The concept relied heavily on casting beloved Quality News 3 anchor Kirsten Wintergreen aka Chris Reid (his actual name) aka Jan Weed (his character in the hilarious battle of the bands Goosemas teaser from 2017). “This needs to be Jan. If he can't do it, I don't think we can make the video. This is him.” Jan was in, but he didn’t realize what he had gotten himself into.
“It was pouring rain and 30 degrees the day we filmed him outside jogging and dancing. It was so treacherous and cold and his wife, Jen, who was pregnant at the time, was standing out there with an umbrella and raincoat, bless her heart. I was coaching Jan what dance moves to do and trying to inspire him, so I was just going crazy. He was so out of breath and it took a good amount of takes to get the dancing and the running. He was so tired he was about to puke from exhaustion. He was such a good sport… I was proud of him for persevering through that while the rest of us had coats and umbrellas.”
Bruce Robinson, el Goose overlord and gifted gabber on The Great Beyond Podcast, had his breakout performance of the year. “He was going through his cues in an office with the doors closed before we started shooting. He took it so seriously. It was amazing. He rolled up in a starched suit, and we immediately knew that there was going to be a ton of memes produced about his character.”
The office scenes were filmed at the Family and Children's Center in Norwalk office scenes, an organization Goose donated to for Goosemas. The Newtown Forest Association, a conservation organization, provided the natural backdrop for the outdoor scenes. “Even though we're doing this really hysterical music video, two really meaningful organizations were helping us.” Carina’s friend Scott Sweitzer, a young director from Brooklyn, was able to lend his editing talents last-minute. The whole video was shot in two days. “I love the rush. There's definitely a lot of responsibility. You need to make sure everyone is following a strict schedule because you only have the locations for a certain amount of time… it's wild when you’re making the video with your friends and everyone is getting distracted, but I definitely want to do more of it. There's some fun stuff in the pipeline.”
As we look forward to these fun projects in the future, Carina shared that Rick and Matt Campbell have been hard at work writing many of the new songs debuted this year — “Animal,” “Silver Rising,” “Atlas Dogs” and “California Magic” were collaborations. “Matt has been coming over a lot in the last six to eight months. He and Rick just hang out on our deck and write together. It's incredible. Matt is such a poet.”
“It's a really funny dichotomy because I want to give them space to be in the zone while they’re playing and writing. I think, ‘Okay, I'm not gonna go on the deck. I'm gonna close the windows, make them feel really safe in this songwriting environment. Sometimes they're like, ‘Why are you being weird? Just come and hang out.’ I just didn't want to ruin the vibe. They say, ‘You're ruining it by being awkward… just come sit with us!’ I'm always trying to make sure the space is sacred!” (Chuckles)
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Carina is how she has combined her passions and talents to serve her community through founding Great Shift, an event platform that hosts immersive workshops for the creative-curious and curated marketplaces where you can shop for artwork, handmade goods, and locally grown provisions.
“Great Shift is for all types of creative people—maybe you’re a professional artist or an aspiring creative. Or maybe you're neither of those and you just want to expose yourself to a creative community and observe other artist’s processes. That’s the mission of the Great Shift — to open up the door for people who are searching for these energies and creative connectivities.”
The workshops feature artists who are excited to share their creative process with an eager audience. Past workshops have included pottery, songwriting, forest bathing, and sound healing. “My mission is for each attendee to ‘walk away with a new skill and a re-emergence into creative confidence.’ Over the last few years I've met so many artists, collectors, healers, foragers, and farmers who are doing really bold, crucial services for our community. I wanted to create a centralized place for those people to offer those services, and help them grow their businesses. I'm just really excited to be building this community, because it seems like people are really hungry for it. They're really hungry to get together, meet one another, build community and learn a new piece of creative expression, It's my passion project and I'm really excited to see where it goes.”
Carina’s next event with Great Shift is on
September 10th in Redding, CT
at Open Farmhouse, a regenerative farm
and co-living space.
Check out www.greatshift.life or follow her on Instagram at @greatshiftcommunity to support her amazing endeavors!
Note: We are not affiliated, associated with or in any way officially connected to Goose.
We just love the band and community that much.
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