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)
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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