Music Q&A:
The Go! Team

Inspired by the idea of a school marching band gone rogue, the band returned with their fifth album last month. Ian Parton chats ahead of gigs in Leeds (10 Feb) and Manchester (17 Feb)

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What informs your music and songwriting?
Well, I think it’s pretty important that every band has their own distinct sound so that’s a big deal for me. Also melody is a big one for me. I’m after melodies that are clingy but not obvious. Once you have a dreamy melody you can get inventive about how you fuck up the sound and get experimental with the arrangement. I’m also into sections – making tangents with different production and sounds so it isn’t uniform throughout, different drum sounds from section to section. That kinda stuff.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
My sense of melody is a lot better than it was in the Thunder Lightning Strike era and I think the songwriting is more complex. I always hope that although people often talk about The Go! Team songs being instantly recognisable they span a wide spectrum of sounds – so the song Rolling Blackouts is nothing like Ladyflash, or Mayday nothing like Everyone’s a VIP to Someone. So the album Semicircle is more expansive  – veering between big marching band brass sections, community choirs, steel drums and little warped VHS-y tunes like something from a Canadian nature documentary.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
What I always do – hoard little ideas until the moment comes when its time to start sticking them together and writing songs. I never sit down to write a song because I can’t write in a vacuum. So I’m always on the lookout for hooky ideas and my ears prick up and I sing into my phone – even if at a self-service checkout.

What’s on your rider?

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
One of my best embarrassing experiences is pretty small time, really. I was in a Little Chef, paying my bill at the counter. There was a saucer on the counter full of coins. I thought it was my change and emptied it all into my pocket. But it was actually their tips and they explained that I had helped myself to their money. I haven’t been to a Little Chef since.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Wichita Lineman is pretty special.

What’s your worst lyric?
This is like one of those job interview questions – what’s your worst quality? I don’t know. “We came here to rock the microphone” isn’t the best lyric, I suppose, but it’s a sample so maybe that lets me off.

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