THE GO! TEAM INTERVIEW (FROM THE FUNKY MOFO ARCHIVES)
After a receiving a stunning review from Funky Mofo for their first album ‘Thunder, Lightening, Strike’, the Go! Team’s Ian Parton (“but Ned Flanders!”), Silke and Chi agreed to talk to us via e-mail…
Funky Mofo: Who are you and how did you meet?
Ian Parton:Me – Ian – I write the songs and play guitar and harmonica live, Ninja on vox, Chi – first drummer, Silke 2nd drummer and multi instrumentalist, Sam on guitar, Jamie on bass. That’s 3 ladies, 3 fellas. The ladies have better names than us, that’s for sure. It originated from my bedroom 4 track project on a shitty 80’s sampler. Eventually I recruited like-minded people to do it live – I’ve know the guitarist Sam for a while cos he had stuff out on a label I used to be on. The bassist Jamie lives on the road next to me in Brighton, the girls I met through friends of friends in london. Ninja was doing an open mic nite.
FM: Where did The Go! Team idea come from and how did you put it into practice?
IP: The aim was move away from earnest singer songwriting and to layer and mix up all our favourite musical styles to create something that references the past but is doing something new with it. For me I saw no reason why maybe noisy discordant guitars couldn’t combine with maybe blaring Rocky style trumpets. I like Shellac as much as some Jackson 5 music – so that means you make some unusual choices. It was a long process of mixing stuff I’d written with samples – pulling an idea for a chorus from somewhere and combining it with a sample. The albums a pretty much 50/50 split of live and sampled stuff – so you can’t tell where when ends and the other begins.
FM: Many people comment on the fact you’re best appreciated live. Did you intend to make the live experience memorable or are you just good?
IP:We’re not good in a technical way – no wanky guitar solos or super tight playing skills but that’s not the goal – in fact the aim is to keep it rough. But I think we have some energy and our set up is unusual in that we have 2 girl drummers, loads of instrument swapping, a backing track and a dynamite vocalist. It’s not gimmicky its what we need to get the sound.
FM: There are six members in the band and just as much angles/influences I guess. What are these angles (/etc) and what do you do as a band to make it work?
IP: We’re all totally different people from different backgrounds with different musical tastes so we’re the kind of people that perhaps wouldn’t normally be in a band together but are linked by the go team. I think that makes us pretty unusual. Like ninja the vocalist comes from a south London hip hop background but me and Sam are originally more from a noisy guitar angle. That’s a pretty odd mix.
FM: Is Brighton still the place to be and why?
IP:It’s a good place – it’s like a magnet for youngsters with guitars so there are hundreds of bands around. But we’re not exactly part of a scene or anything – in fact we’ve only played in Brighton once.
FM: One for the ladeez: it’s still unusual to see multi-instrumentalist females in a band scenario, especially behind the drumkit (both of you!). I’m a female drummer myself (that’s Jo here, hello) and I’ve found it difficult for people to comprehend a “female” drummer. How does it feel for you to be enjoyed and respected within the band (at least I hope you are) and has the public reacted at all?
Silke: I think being a girl drummer/multi-instrumentalist is gradually getting easier as there are more and more female musicians around (and I think the Stereolab girls did a bit of instrument swapping.) the whole music world is still pretty macho and male dominated though. one of my first gigs was playing a small festival in Germany and I was the only girl around before the doors opened (apart from the girls hanging around trying to catch the guys’ attention…). in a way it was quite nice because I felt I was part of changing that, but at the same time i felt really left out, too. Another example was playing at mean fiddler years ago. i told the sound guy that my monitor wasn’t working to which he replied that nothing was coming out because I wasn’t hitting the drums hard enough because I’m a girl. That much for sound guys… I think things are getting easier though, especially coz these days it’s perceived as quite “cool” to have girl drummers. Which itself is a bit annoying as well because it shouldn’t matter, you’re playing should be the thing that matters.
Being respected in the band as a female drummer is nice, but as there is a fifty-fifty boy-girl split the dynamics are quite different compared to the usual four guys or three guys and a girl set-up anyway. Having a fellow girl drummer is quite a nice back up! if in a band there are issues about the drummer happening to be a girl, I wouldn’t join in the first place coz it’s simply a waste of time.
Chi: I am aware that some people see female drummers with different eyes, either positively or negatively. I myself personally wonder what’s so special about drummers being female, but I don’t feel offended or anything. I think I am fortunate to look different if my appearance is adding some extra value to me as a drummer to entertain people, and I’ve luckily only come across people saying positive things, so I just purely appreciate that. If someone made negative comments just because I’m female, there’s no point in worrying
about it, and I just do my job with all my heart as usual. Anyhow, I simply love playing my part in this band and seeing the audience enjoying every moment with us, just like the other members of the band do.
FM: Tell us a little bit about Thunder Lightning Strike. Who produced it, how long did you take to record it, do you have a favourite aspect of the experience and/or track?
IP:It was a long chaotic process, recording in bursts in a basement over the course of a year as each song was written. I play some of the instruments and others came in to play as well. Recording levels are high, drums super compressed and everything’s put to tape at the last stage. I like the way that every song is a surprise and each one is different from the last but that the album sounds like the go team – not 11 different bands.
FM: What are your plans for the near future?
IP: I think we’re playing Bristol in Feb 05 – so come along. Apart from that we’re gonna play in Japan, Australia and America and I might give up my day job.
Céline Lux & Jo Whitby