Interview: The Go! Team

[qmunicate]’s Josh Dodds speaks to Ian Parton from The Go! Team ahead of their show in Glasgow.

[qmunicate]: What can we expect from the gig at the QMU?

Ian Parton: Action and thrashing. We’re taking brass with us for the first time ever on this tour: a lady trumpet and trombone player. We’re a band whose sound is pretty brass-orientated so it’s pretty trippy, we’ve never done it before. There are eight of us on stage these days – we’re turning into fucking UB40!

[q]: Have you played at the union before?

IP: I think so, maybe about ten years ago… It’s a bit of a blur. I’m sure I will walk in there and go into a flashback dream sequence. I know it’s a cliché, but the best crowds we’ve had have been in Glasgow. Maybe we’ll do an eight way stage dive.

[q]: I’ve really been enjoying ‘Semicircle’ which seems to me to be more in the vein of your first album. Were there similarities in the writing/recording process?

IP: I’m glad it’s instantly recognisable as The Go! Team. I think every band should have their own angle and distinct thing going on, but for me this is pushing that sound further – more melodic and ambitious. There are things I could never have done in the Thunder, Lightning, Strike era. There’s more emphasis on singing and melody now, I use instruments that I’ve never used before like steel drums, sousaphones and whole brass sections; samples are sometimes used in a more choppy kinda sample pad-y way. In some ways it could be the best G!T album.

[q]: As ‘Semicircle’ was a more collaborative effort than ‘The Scene Between’, what are the advantages and challenges of working in this way? Is it easy to reach a consensus or do the different ideas pull the record in all sorts of directions?

IP: Well, I’ve always written the music right from the beginning, so it’s not like we’re in a room jamming or anything – I’m the worst jammer. But once the song is vaguely locked down I’ll get on the hotline to the rest of the band for them to come and do their thang. They’re all better musicians than I am! I ain’t no shredder. Simone does the drums, Sam the guitar, Ninja and Maki come and do vocals and it builds up in layers over time. It’s on stage that we really come together as a band – after the painstaking work of recording, live is the payoff.

[q]: When you started out in Brighton were there other bands or musicians mixing diverse genres and samples or did your influences come from elsewhere?

IP: Brighton has never really been an influence on the music – there isn’t really a Brighton sound even though there’s a ton of bands here. And The Go! Team music isn’t really about first-hand experiences as a singer-songwriter, as in, “Heh let me tell you about my life”, it’s more about second-hand stuff – films you like, documentaries, holidays, theme tunes… so it’s like cherry picking all your favourite things, like your life is flashing before your eyes.

[q]: Is there any sample you’ve really wanted to use but weren’t able to get clearance for?

IP: Not really. I tend to look for really obscure stuff and then monkey around with it – sticking different chords over the top, reversing it, distorting it… I like the idea of using samples like an instrument, so you are making them fit an original melody you have written rather than just sticking a beat and a rap over something that was already good. Plus we don’t really use as many samples as people think – lots of this album was done with a big brass section. You’ve gotta love a sousaphone – the cheekiest of all instruments.

Catch The Go! Team at the QMU on the 9th of February!

[Josh Dodds]

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