Interview - Go! Team

Today herohill had the chance to sit down (via phone) with Ian Parton, the front man of the Mercury prize short list band, the Go! Team. Read about how the Go! Team works, finding rappers online, and the pitfalls of not knowing what charity album you contribute songs to. Post punk, neo-wave - you can't pigeon hole this band, so just stand up, dance and enjoy the sounds.

herohill: Hey, I’m Bryan. I write for a Canadian music site called herohill. Chances are, unless you are secretly related to one of us, you've probably never read our stuff. Before we get too far, I just want to say your album is one of the most original, enjoyable albums I’ve heard in forever.

Ian: Thanks, appreciate that.

hh: I guess with all the original sounds, you were bound to have trouble clearing all the samples, and run into legal troubles. I know you are probably sick to death of talking about it, but can you just briefly describe what you had to do to finally get the album out in North America and how much different it ended up being from the UK release? I mean its been almost a year since it dropped in the UK right?

Ian: Yeah, it’s been out since September in the UK. When we tried to put it out here, none of the samples were cleared. it was crisis. We had to either rework the songs, or give up the rights. Four or five people wouldn’t give up the samples, which was a fuck off. It was a dark moment because I didn’t want to revisit the whole album, you know? In the end we had to do what was best for the songs. Either it becomes owned by other people, or we kept the rights and changed the song. For example, the song 'ladyflash' is now completely owned by other people, but it would have been so disappointing to hear the song and be like, “what’s going on there”. Have it be a different song completely.

In the end, we had to do what was best for the song. I mean it made us improve some of the songs like 'get it together'. The changes made it kick a little more ass. It added some more bottom end, made it trashier. Plus we added two new songs.

hh: Like the Biz said, you have to clear all samples. But I was surprised the actual are. Plus, I mean it is cool to hear the new versions a year after hearing the originals.

Ian: So yeah, at times it was a good crisis.

hh: I’m not sure if you know, but you guys got huge over here just from the hype on the Internet. Blogging Indie kids were basically freaking out over an album they couldn’t get. How do you feel about people grabbing your songs online, especially after it helped you guys so much in North America?

Ian: I'm not too fussed with it really, I mean I'm not in the Metallica camp. If people hear our songs and come to the show, or buy the cd or whatever, that is cool. But whatever I guess, I’m not in this too make a lot of money, I’m in it for the music.

hh: Yeah, for sure. And that is when the best music gets made.

Ian: Another good example is the Arcade Fire. Over here, they were completely a word of mouth band. With the dawn of the Internet, people get to hear music they normally wouldn’t. So that is really good.

hh: When I listen to your album, I can’t help but feel like I’m at a bar listening to a DJ playing a really diverse set. The samples, the beats, the cheerleaders, the catchy riffs. Were you worried your style wouldn’t transfer into a record that a record company could market?

Ian: I never really thought of it like that. I guess my conern was “is it any good”. Our label didn't put any pressure on us. When I’d give them a mix, they’d wanted us to dirty it up more, make it more trashy. It only comes into play when you deal with major labels.

hh: I guess dealing with major distrubution has ups and downs. How hard is to take what you create in the studio and covert it into a high energy live show you guys deliver?

Ian: I don't know, I guess it is easy cause we all like thrashing… None of us are premadonnas. We all want to make sure we put on a good show. We don't want to be a band that takes a show off. Like Ninja has a great work ethic. She really wants to put in the hours. We never want to take a night off. We want to make sure it is a good show.

hh: A lot of very creative music comes out of Brighton/London. What was it like for you guys trying to come up with an original sound that people were into, and sounded fresh when so much good music is being produced so close together?

Ian: I dob't think it was ever an attempt to come up with a new sound. It comes from my different likes. I mean I like Shellac and the Jackson 5 and what to hear the overlap, where most people don't see it. Imean, there are lots of sounds I hate, but I was more into using what I like. Like I was thinking how it would be cool to have a car chase with a Sonic Youth feel. That kind of angle.. I was never pacing up and down worried about a sounds. I was more into combining girl groups and a phil spector sound.

hh: How does the creative process work for you? Is it mostly you coming up with the ideas, and than getting band input, or is more a team effort? And how did you get involved with Ninja?

Ian: Well truthfully, the album was written before I hooked up wth a band.

hh: Yeah, i read that, so I guess I mean moving forward?

Ian: Yeah, well a lot of how the music goes, it is hit or miss, so it is largely going to have to be me creating, but I mean I always want the band to contribute and feel what we are doing.

hh: And Ninja?

Ian: To be honest, after months of trying I found her on some intenet chat room. I posted something like "Old School rapper". I didn't want an indie kid. So we got together, and she listened to the tape. She liked it, but was a little confused by it. But she was brave enough to take the chance, and go against what her peers were probably saying.

hh: Well you guys go together perfectly. She fits the sound perfectly. You guys put out a new song for the Warchild charity album. There were some pretty big hitters on that album (new radiohead song, belle and sebastian). How did you get involved in that, and a year ago, did you ever think you’d be big enough to have people wanting your music on things like this project?

Ian: Truthfully, I totally underestimated the scale of that album. I had no idea how many important bands were on it, so I kind of wish I had put more time into it. I used an older song, and re did it. Have you heard it?

hh: Yeah. I was actually going to ask about it. I wondered if it was a new direction or what. It is so different from the album stuff. I thought it was a good choice for the vibe of this album.

Ian: No it is an older song, I just redid it. I like it. The sound is cool.

hh: How hard is it to create new music now that you are on the road so much?

Ian: Really hard actually. It isn't like I can play them out on an acoustic. I'm always melody hunting. Always looking for new samples. When we are on the road I always check out Thrift stores, but a lot of the music is trial and error. You can't really put it together on the tour bus.

hh: Ok, we got way more time with you than we thought, so that was awesome. This is the last question, and we kind of ask everyone, even though most people hate it. What is something most fans wouldn’t know about the Go! Team?

Ian: Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm – I don’t know..

hh: I know, it is a shit question. We just liek to try to get something new for readers.

Ian: I guess that I like noisey stuff. I love stuff like Big Black and Fugazi… They are as much as an influence as anything is. People always think I'm like.. I don't know. I just love noise.

hh: Ian, thanks so much. We really appreciate it.

Ian: Cheers mate.

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