Features | Interviews

The Go! Team

By Matt Stephens | 20 August 2005

CMG's Matt Stephens (CMG): So this is your first full North American tour, right?
The Go! Team's Ian Parton (IP): Pretty much. We played South by Southwest, three shows in New York, and then Miami after that, but it’s our first proper tour.

CMG: Is there any sort of culture shock coming to North America? Do you find the crowds any different?
Dynamite (D): We’ve hardly played yet! (laughs) We don’t know about the crowds.
IP: I don’t know, because the types of gigs we did in New York were kind of industry-ish, with major label people lurking around, so it wasn’t like a normal gig, I ‘spose. We did one good gig in Southport, which is in Brooklyn, and it was amazing, just like a home gig. But yeah… I’ll tell you at the end of the tour.

CMG: Does it feel weird being away from home with all the turmoil going on in Britain (the London bombings had taken place less than a week before the interview)?
IP: Hmm… it’s quite good being away, actually. I’m kind of surprised that it’s front page news all over the world, that the front page story in Canada would be the London bombings.

CMG: Is the process of taking music based largely from samples and translating that into a live show complicated?
IP: We actually use a hard disc recorder, and the drummers have to sort of play a long with it. It’s not ideal, but I didn’t really want to get into the territory of triggering it live, because you could have used MIDI switches and stuff like that, and it gets pretty dull, and it can so easily go wrong. There’s so many things to think about.

It’s just about getting the right people, really, the right mix of instruments. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, when I set about doing it.

CMG: Whenever I try to describe what you guys sound like to my friends, I end up getting tongue-tied and cough up, like, an incomprehensible, sentence-long explanation. How would you describe your sound, if you had to?
D: I still can’t describe it, actually. I just end up fumbling my words: “It’s got a mix of… everything! It’s different, it’s real, it’s crazy, it’s mad! I still can’t describe it to you, and I like the fact that we can’t really define the music, ‘cos it sets us apart.

CMG: Do the Avalanches comparisons ever bother you?
IP: I hadn’t really thought about it at the time. It was only once we started getting reviews, and it was like “hmm… alright.” I think they have a slight point, because when we sample strings I think it’s a bit like the Avalanches, that same sound.
CMG: There are worse bands to be compared to.
IP: Yeah. I mean, I’m not a massive fan, I like a handful of moments on the album, but there a lot more clubby, and they have much cleaner production.

CMG: So what kind of music did you start out playing? I don’t imagine you stumbled on this kind of sound on day one.
IP: No. Y’know, it was kind of noisy, guitar-ish stuff, when I was a kid, being in bands like that when I was in school. And then getting into more stuff as the years go on. I don’t think what I do now is something I could’ve done when I was 18 or 19, partly because the technology wasn’t around.

CMG: So it’s been pretty gradual from the time when the album was released back home which was, what, September?
IP: Yeah.
CMG: Right, and then Pitchfork hyped you guys later in the fall, and now you’re doing South by Southwest, Intonation and selling out clubs, you weren’t an overnight success at all…
IP: We’re still not really a success, know what I mean? We’re still a little band.

CMG: Well you sold out here in what must have been a few days, it was sold out back in May. I mean, was there a point where you were like “wow, people really want to come see us play.” Do you feel like you’ve arrived?
IP: Not at all. The turning point in America, I think, was the Pitchfork review. The label really started to notice it right after the Pitchfork thing. So yeah, I guess it was that, and the being put at #8 on their albums of the year list, and then the South by Southwest thing, and getting a lot of interest out of that. But, you know, we’re still tiny --- in Chicago, we couldn’t sell half the tickets. We’re not established in any way.

CMG: So you’re excited about playing Intonation, I guess?
IP: Yeah, we’re on after Four Tet. It’s quite interesting, because I imagine it’d be a chin-stroking kind of crowd, you know what I mean?

CMG: How has the process been re-tinkering the album for the North American release?
IP: Well it’s quite ongoing, actually. It’s a pain in the ass, because I should really be in the studio right now overseeing it. I just get sent mixes and stuff. Some things have to be removed for legal purposes, some of them have to be changed, some have be cleared, some have to be ignored. It’s quite messy. We’ll get there. Maybe when it’s done it’ll be even better.

CMG: Looking towards the next record at all?
IP: That’s ongoing too, actually. It’s basically just little snippets of things in various stages on tapes. We’ve got two new songs that we’ll play tonight. So I don’t know, it might be a long process, really. We’ll see.