There is always more to music than just sound, the stories behind the sounds and how others connect with them are what give it depth. Griffin Washburn is an electronic-indie musical nomad better known as Goth Babe. He creates wholesome tracks in unconventional ways like traveling the west coast for inspiration or having a studio in a pickup truck, 30-foot boat, and in a tiny home. He has almost three million monthly listeners on Spotify and his art is inspired by early punk and surf rock. These tracks reflect his passion for exploring, enjoying, and experiencing life’s best. He distinguishes himself from other artists through his desires, he doesn’t crave fame or money. Moreover, his focal point is simply to fulfill his passions while making art that inspires others and supports him with the bare minimum.
He is self-made and driven by exploration holding onto a couple of famous records like “I Wanna Help Your Mind”, “Canary Islands” and “Weekend Friend.” He is a man who loves his planet and loves, even more, to share it with others while taking care of it. He does more than just sing about Earth’s beauty; he donates a large portion of his income to foundations like “Protect our Winters” and “Conservation Lands” in efforts to protect it. He describes his sound and aura by relating it to, “the sound of summer vacation when the last class is done, and the sun is just at its best and being like oh my God I can do whatever I want right now. It’s just freedom.”
Goth Babe is his stage name because it reminds him to “not take things too seriously,” he said in an interview with Flood Magazine. This is necessary because the past few years for him have been nothing but serious. His early days as an artist consisted of living out of his car for three years and taking odd jobs like walking dogs to earn enough cash to stay on top. After releasing the single “Sometimes” in 2018 he was recognized as a breakout artist by Spotify and placed on numerous notable playlists. The freedom-filled outdoorsman was balancing success and humility by dropping new tunes while touring and going off-grid now and then to participate in outdoor activities that helped him connect with the planet. Sadly, that success co-existed with struggle and in that same year, he was held at gunpoint while living in his car. He made it out unharmed, but his mind was severely shaken up which led to his suffering from PTSD. In a short film highlighting his personal life Goth Babe said, “It’s one thing to go through something really difficult, but it’s another thing to go through something difficult completely by yourself.”
Luckily, he found a companion to bring him out of this dark place. Her name is Sadie, and she is a beautiful Australian Shepard who is on the cover of many of his projects and the face of his marketing department. He said that the thick days of PTSD made him “feel super vulnerable in those moments, but when a dog is sitting right next to me perched up, looking at every corner, she can make sure that nobody is coming near, it’s super comforting…I would’ve never guessed that a dog would’ve filled the gap of loneliness, but it certainly did.” He connects a lot of his joy with the motto of seeking the outdoors and companionship, so he repeated in the interview that “there were two things that really helped me get out of intense anxiety everyday…surfing and Sadie.” His sky brightened with the company of Sadie, and it followed with the purchase of a tiny home that brought peace to his life by finally giving him a roof over his head. It was a safe place to create even when the world came to a halt in the 2020 pandemic. Being cooped up inside was hard for a person who is always on the go, but his mindset didn’t waiver and he held onto positivity saying in an Instagram caption “If there were brighter days pre-covid, there will be brighter days post-covid.” He was right and within six months he was back on stage sharing his songs and love with fans, but it was short-lived.
During the early summer of 2021, while doing one of the things he loves most, Goth Babe suffered a traumatic brain injury from getting hit on the head with a surfboard. He was forced to cancel his festival appearances and travel plans while being bedridden for the rest of the summer battling migraines and depression. His resilience remained and the positivity that he clings to once again overcame any adversity thrown his way. He constantly communicates with his fans on Instagram, one time lighting up his world with the tool of gratitude by saying, “I’m so insanely fortunate to have good people looking out for me…rolling with the punches has turned into a really incredible summer with new life lessons, new best friends, and lots o sunshine.” He planned a comeback and kept reminding fans he was doing his best for their sakes; the darkest hour is just before dawn.
After dealing with internal battles for months Goth Babe was able to finally shift his focus to external moments filled with shows, new music, merch, and donations. In February 2022 while touring and adventuring across the globe he got a call from the fire department saying his tiny home in Oregon burned to the ground. Thankfully, nobody was harmed, but his beloved home, a studio filled with years’ worth of unreleased music, and all his equipment were destroyed. He didn’t have the funds to replace it because he lives on a day-to-day basis giving back as much as he can to his planet, but his fans did. Through Instagram and companionship, his friends and fans bought him new equipment so he could continue to fill their hearts with his art. Goth Babe called this event a “minor setback” and then ended up buying a sailboat instead of a new house.
Goth Babe now spends his days off the coast of California sailing up and down creating unique sounds and cultivating a community of people who choose not to frown. This pattern of ups and downs must’ve been exhausting for him, but through determination and companionship it all ended up being worth it. He is back on tour and has exceeded his goals while inspiring others to do what they love. Hold onto positive light and your dreams will follow. He is an inspiration to all his fans and everyone with similar goals. From attending Bonnaroo as his first festival when he was a kid, he imagined being on stage and this past summer he had the opportunity to play at it and on other dream stages of his like Lollapalooza.
“To be able to play this show a year later happy, healthy, and full of life is pretty incredible. Life is crazy, hardship eventually ends, and I seriously love you all.”said Goth Babe about his recent festival shows.
I’m not sure how the musical nomad maintains his positivity, but it always seems that the artist who has been through the darkest moments paints the most beautiful portraits. I’m sure that no matter what he encounters he will continue to explore and spread joy along his travels. If you want to see him in action, you can catch him this fall at Austin City Limits smiling.
Houston-based world traveler and creative artist. The mind forgets but the camera and pen don't. I seek beauty daily, capture moments with a lens, and spread love along the way. The king of creation leads me. "Keep all your dreams, Keep standing tall".