Six-piece British band The Go! Team offer a distinct combination of indie rock and garage rock, blended with eccentric styles such as Blaxploitation (an ethnic subgenre of exploitation film), Bollywood soundtracks, double Dutch chants, old school hip-hop, and heavily distorted guitars.
The band released their latest album, The Scene Between, last year and are now ready to bring their wild live show to the United States in 2016 for their first American tour in five years. Their revised live lineup includes a few newly added band members, and they’re anxious to put on an impressive show for San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall on January 18.
To preview the show, we interviewed lead songwriter Ian Parton to ask about the band’s development, their musical influences, and learn more about their personal side.
Besides the lineup change, what do you think will be the biggest difference between this live show setup [during the band's upcoming U.S. tour] compared to the previous one five years ago?
I think the show has more variation between light and shade now, as we can draw from all four Go! Team albums. We still play the aggro brass-y chanty Ninja type stuff but as we have Maki and Cheryl [Pinero] we can do the newer sing-ier melodic kinda stuff now. Even though the Go! team sound is all over the place I think its pretty recognizable as the Go! Team and there’s a sound which ties it all together. We still love thrashing around as much as ever – there’s still lots of swapping instruments and chaos.
How did you find the band’s newest members Cheryl, Maki and Simone Odaranile – and determine they would be a great fit?
Well Simone is an amazing drummer who I heard about, who lives near me in Brighton. Maki sings in her own shoegaze-y group called Parlour in London and I always thought she had a great voice so I asked her if she wanted to moonlight with us. Cheryl is a half German, half Filipino bassist who was also playing about in bands in London and again I asked if she wanted to join. I knew I wanted to have a female bassist to do backing harmonies on songs too.
Who are some of your most noteworthy songwriting influences?
For me, the Go! Team is a bit like your life flashing before your eyes – it’s all the things I have ever loved across my life. Whether it’s Ennio Morricone, The Shangri-Las, Charlie Brown, My Bloody Valentine, Roxanne Shanté, Midnight Cowboy, Girls in the Garage compilations, The Taking of Pelham 123…..
What were your biggest inspirations when writing the new record, The Scene Between?
Lots of inspirations are non-musical and more about feel and images – for this record I was imagining the Pacific Coast Highway, lens flare, broken VHS machines, abandoned theme parks…I think the word that best describes what I was going for is sun damaged. I knew I wanted the album to be much more singing and songwriting based – more melodies and less chanting because it’s the side of the band which gets less attention. I’ve always had been simultaneously obsessed with curvy melodies and noise. Catchiness is the hardest thing you can do…
What do you miss most about England when you’re traveling abroad?
We’re not away from home long enough these days to miss things. We generally love playing anywhere. We played some shows in Japan recently and it was heaven. Ninja literally didn’t sleep for five days cause she didn’t want to miss out on anything. It’s style overload. Every footstep, there’s stuff to see.
What was your fondest memory from last playing in San Francisco back in 2011 at the Mezzanine?
We love playing the US – that’s the prize. San Fran has always been good for us. I’m such a tourist I always go to Alcatraz when I’m in SF.
Do you have any festival appearances scheduled for this summer?
None yet – I much prefer playing sweaty little clubs than festivals to be honest. It suits us better than these cavernous gaps between the stage and crowd.
What was your favorite album you listened to from 2015?
I like kinda Ghostbox-y type music. Jane Weavers album, “Hypnophobia” by Jacco Gardner. Hinds are quite good, but the best song I discovered last year was an old one – “Easy as 123” by Jill Gibson.
Do you have any New Years’ resolutions?
My default gag is “my New Years’ resolution is to give up.”