Tom Goss may not be the biggest fan of Christmas music, but that didn’t stop him from recording his first holiday album. And although the EP is Christmas-themed, it is fair to assume that Big Fat Gay Ass Christmas is not your traditional holiday fair thanks to songs like “Santa Slay,” “Put that Ass in Christmass,” “Sassy Santa,” and “Ho Ho Homo.”
“I want people to laugh and smile, then strip down to their undies and dance,” the artist says. “That’s the Christmas I’m most looking forward to this year!”
Joining Goss on the EP are some of the biggest names in gay hip hop, rock-and-roll, and country music, including Benjamin Koll, Big Daddy Karsten, Keith Lawrence, de ROCHE, and more.
“They are all a part of my queer family,” Goss explains. “We may sing in different music genres, but we are the same in that we live our lives joyfully, exuberantly, and as authentically as possible!”
Instinct caught up with Goss to talk more about Big Fat Gay Ass Christmas and how he wanted to make something big, fun, unapologetic, body positive, and queer as fuck.
Can you begin by telling us what inspired you to create a holiday album?
I was thinking about the holidays and how they’re not always easy. We live in a society that uplifts it and puts it on a pedestal, like it’s the best time of the year, the most fun time of the year, the most loving time of the year, the most joyful time of the year, and I don’t think that’s necessarily the case for a lot of people. Thinking about my family, my chosen family, the people that I love, and the people that I spend time with, I thought it would be good to write something that reflected people who didn’t have the easiest holidays, specifically queer people. I wanted to reflect on their experience a little more.
And how did you land on the name Big Fat Gay Ass Christmas?
I have no idea. It just popped in my head, and I was like, that’s what’s up (laughs). There was a title before there was anything else. I was like, oh, this would be really interesting, and in away, it’s kind of all the things in which we’re always trying to hide. It’s all these potentially offensive things to society, but to me, those are all things that I fucking love, and I want to scream that from the rooftops.
So, when I thought it would be interesting to do Christmas EP from a different perspective, Big Fat Gay Ass Christmas immediately came to mind. I was on a plane at the time as well, and I was like, shit, I need to go home and write that!
Is this your first time doing a holiday album?
I’ve written a lot of holidays songs over the years, but this is my first full collection.
What was your favorite part about creating this project?
This whole thing was a blast, to be honest with you. Like I said, I had the idea, but I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked. I was in the middle of some east coast tour runs, and I had about five days after I got home to write and produce four songs. I just went to work, and it was a very joyful project because as an artist, you spend a lot of time second guessing and self-critiquing yourself, and I didn’t have any time to do that. I would be like, this is a cool vibe, and I would just go for it.
Then at the end of the day, I would bounce the demo off and start pitching it to other artists. So, there wasn’t that much time, and I knew I had those five days to get everything done because I wasn’t going to have time to do any more work once I was back on the road. I got all the files to Ned Douglas, who mixed and mastered it, then I started reaching out to collaborators.
Yeah, some of the biggest names in gay hip hop, gay rock-and-roll, and gay country music are featured on the album. How did you assemble this lineup?
They’re just my friends. The first person I reached out to was Benjamin Koll, and I’ve been a fan of his for years. He’s so sweet and wonderful, and he looks like Santa (laughs). When I first started, I was like, I’ve got to get Benjamin up on this! The first track I wrote was “Sassy Santa,” and I really wrote that song with him in mind because I love his music and it felt like it was going to be something that he would bite on and be interested in. He really dug it, and he actually did the mixing, mastering, and other instrumentation on that. He did a wonderful job.
When I wrote “Put That Ass in Christmas,” I knew I wanted to get Big Daddy Karsten and Keith Lawrence on it because I knew they would represent the track. In “Santa Slay,” I wrote it with my friend Jaake Castro, and we knew we needed a totally different vibe on it. So, I got an intro to Roxy Wood, and Ryan Satyr is an old friend of mine. Then because I wanted Santa in everything, Drake Jensen seemed like a fun Santa character. And Liz de Roche in “Ho Ho Homo,” she’s been my best for 10 years and I love her. I felt that track was a sweet little song we could do together. So, yeah, they’re friends of mine or people that I really love and respect and wanted to work with.
Can you talk about how there is also a serious side to the album?
The album is tongue in cheek and we’re having fun, but I like to be subversive in ways where you don’t realize it until it’s too late. I think that’s the thing about this record. Yeah, there’s a song like “Put That Ass in Christmass,” which is fucking ridiculous and it’s about shaking that ass on Christmas, but at the end of the day, I think there’s a seriousness to even that. I don’t write music without intention. There is always intentionality behind my music, and there was an intentionality to be subversive in a way some people aren’t going to realize. Some people will realize it, and they’ll either love it hate it.
How has Big Fat Gay Ass Christmas been received by listeners so far?
People seem to really like it, which makes me very happy. I’m kind of at a stage in my career where I just really want to have fun, so I like it when people come along for that ride.
How do you plan on celebrating the holidays this year?
I did this big trip over Thanksgiving, so for Christmas, I’m just going to hang out in LA. I’ve been traveling so much, and my body and spirit is longing for some downtime.
Do you have a most cherished Christmas memory?
I used to go to my grandfather’s house every Christmas. That was an every year thing until he passed in 2008. So, for the first 27 years of my life, my Christmas Eve was spent at my grandfather’s, who was the patriarch of a big Italian American family. It was a house that was far too small for all the people in it, but it was full of energy, love, and enthusiasm. I don’t know if you know any big Italian families from Chicago, but they’re always screaming and there’s so much food, but I loved the exuberance of it. I miss it terribly.
What is one of the best gifts you have ever gotten?
When I remember getting a Nintendo, the original NES, when I was kid. That would have been in 1987, 88, something like that, but I remember being super stoked about that.
Do you have anything in store for 2023 yet?
Yes, I’ll be doing a workshop in upstate New York in January, and I’ll be playing on a cruise in February. I’ll be doing some Europe touring in the spring as well, and that’s also when I hope to release a new album. So, just getting all those ducks in a row. I’m really excited about it.
Before we wrap up, are there any other upcoming projects or anything else you would like to mention or plug?
No, I’m just super stoked about this Christmas EP, and I hope it brings people joy!
Stay up-to-date and connect with Goss by following him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok @tomgossmusic, or visit tomgossmusic.com. Big Fat Gay Ass Christmas is streaming on all digital platforms.