The Go! Team’s new album is out, and with a tour to follow in February, we can’t wait to see and hear more from this Brighton based hip-hop Indie hybrid crew. Roar’s access all areas interview allows us an insight into the inspirations and ideologies behind the all new and effortlessly groovy album ‘SEMICIRCLE’. Frontman Ian Parton gives the Culture section the lowdown on the new release…
Ian, how has the reception to ‘SEMICIRCLE’ been so far?
Good! For me it’s recognisably The Go! Team but more ambitious and pushing it further. Maybe there’s something zeitgeist-y about it with the current state of the world or something…maybe.
How long did ‘SEMICIRCLE’ take to make from start to finish?
I’m not exactly sure. I write by hoarding ideas and then listening back and picking the good ones. Some of them date back maybe 10 years where I had a chorus idea and was waiting for a good verse to come along. So the whole process is a bit of a blur. When you listen back to these ideas its almost like they’re not yours anymore.
What kind of ‘sound’ did you have in mind prior to entering the studio? Were you aiming at anything particularly different to past albums?
I think I was imagining something bigger than the last album, which in some ways was like a traditional indie pop record – some big technicolour, psych-y, f*cked up, gymnasium community project or something
Can you divulge any specific influences behind any particular tracks? For example, were there different inspirations behind the upbeat, electrifying and empowering anthems such as ‘Mayday’, ‘Hey!’ and ‘She’s Got Guns’, compared to the more melodic and reflective ‘Chainlink Fence’?
Mayday was one of those rare moments where a musical idea – the morse code beeps becoming an instrument – and a lyrical one – the idea of a love emergency came together to make a coherent song. I was imagining it in the tradition of those melodramatic soul songs and I could really go to town on the emergency metaphors: “Girl overboard”, “come in do you read me”, “sinking fast in the sea I cried”.
Any overall mood that you’re trying to capture while writing songs?
I never use the word ‘happy’ and I always cringe when people use that word. Hopefully positivity is a by product of ACTION. I’m interested in catchiness but in an un-obvious way with loads of shizo tangents and unexpected developments within the song and across the album. I don’t want uniform voices of sounds across the whole thing – it should sound channel hoppy. I always have to take the edge off something so it doesn’t tip into sickliness.
Are you pleased with the final outcome and selection of tracks? Do you feel you achieved what you set out to?
Yeah! I’m a great believer that bands should have their own thing going on, an angle, something distinct. But at the same time it’s not a retread – there are lots of things I could never have done in the Thunder Lightning Strike era: more emphasis on singing and melody, instruments I’ve never used before like steel drum and kalimba, using samples in a choppy sample pad kinda way, scoring stuff out for a big brass section….
What are your favourite songs and lyrical highlights?
I like Chainlink Fence – it’s a bit like an experimental RnB song or something. The vocals are heartfelt but have that bedroom slightly amateur kinda quality. It has loads of weird sections – backwards loops, Bollywood strings, easy listening trumpets so its hard to pin down exactly what kinda song it is. The lyrics are pretty downbeat – as are lots of the lyrics on the record
Are there any ‘crazy’ behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
I recorded some of the vocals with a community choir called The Detroit Youth Choir – a bunch of teenagers. The choirmaster was an amazing fella called Mr White. At one point I was asking them to sing a part in a less smooth R and B-ish way. Mr White says to them:” Make it rougher, more rock n roll, ya know more like Coldplay….”!!
Who are your influences and heroes?
I can’t really point to one band and say I’d like to be like them. My Bloody Valentine is one my all-time faves cos they deal in feel. I think the feel of something and putting an image to the music so you can imagine where it is happening – that’s how I think about it. The idea of things half-remembered or the idea of a 3rd generation VHS copy of something….
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
I try and avoid describing it if I can – music wasn’t really designed to be described. Hopefully, it sounds like your life flashing before your eyes. In some ways, I think it’s the best ‘Go! Team’ record.
Fair enough! Thank you so much Ian!
The brilliant ‘SEMICIRCLE’ album has been out since 18th January 2018.
And if you’d like to hear from this fascinating new album at closer proximity, along with some golden oldies from the group, grab a ticket for The Go! Teams upcoming UK tour…