The Go! Team: In the Studio

Ian Parton on the Band's Third Album

Jan 15, 2010 Web Exclusive
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Since its 2005 Columbia debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike!, The Go! Team has built up a reputation for super-energetic vocalist Ninja's chants mixed with samples compiled by frontman Ian Parton. 2007's Proof of Youth (Sub Pop) found the British band taking a more melodic approach, and the still-to-be-named third LP, which Parton says will likely be out sometime in the spring, is headed in the same direction. "I didn't really want to make it super chanty this time," he says. Parton took time to speak with Under the Radar about his plans for branching out on the new release.

Where are you right now?

Ian Parton: I'm in my new music room in my new house. We just rented a place and it has a room with a wooden floor, so I figured it would be nice to record in there. We're just unpacking things in boxes and shit like that. Next week we're gonna start getting noisy.

Is that where you're going to be recording the next album?

We went to a studio and did the bass and the drums, a studio in Brighton called Brighton Electric. And lots of songs are made from samples and stuff, so it's not like they're completely raw but we're adding to it in the next stage. Some songs are more sampley than others. I have them in kinda demo stage at the minute, so it's not like a blank canvas where I don't know what's going to happen.

So you said you've started recording the drums and bass and then you've just been working on the sampling on your own?

That's been going on for months. Any given moment over last few years, I've probably been storing samples, 'cause that's kinda what I do, that's what I'm interested in. For this record I wanted to be even more sampley, if anything, and if I had it my way I'd do everything kind of without clearing anything. I'd just make these little records and just fuck it because I feel it's fair game, you know? I'm not ripping anyone off particularly because I'm re-contextualizing lots of the stuff anyway.

As far as coming up with song ideas, you kind of hoard random things, like you were saying you collect samples. What's your process of organizing all those bits and pieces before going into the studio?

Well, I just make a massive document on my computer, a massive session in ProTools, with everything I've got. I get quite picky about it and I arrange things into major and minor and different-is this more breakbeat-y or is this more kind of charging? Things like that. Then I kind of arrange things into the greatest hits, the things I definitely want to use and, at this stage, now I'm kind of raiding my drum sample hoards, which has loops from the '50s, that kind of really scratchy '50s drum sound, or it could be the more breakbeat-y stuff from the '70s or electro-y stuff. I think it's the final stage where things could kinda either work or not. I'm really interested in how you execute a song, 'cause I'm a believer that a song should stand up on its own. It should be melody and it should be chords-that's one phase, but then the next phase is how you execute it and you can do that in a million different ways. You can kind of drown in the possibilities, in a way, but it comes down to taste and keeping an eye on what the song should be rather than just wanking off.

Do you have a name for the album yet?

I don't actually. I've got a lot of books. In the same way I am with samples, I kind of hoard slogans and phrases and stuff, so I'm sure in one of my books I've got the name somewhere, but I haven't really committed yet.

When did you start recording?

Well, the process has been ongoing for the past three years, really, in the whole practice of finding stuff. The actual recording was just about a couple months ago. Recording's gonna take us through December [2009] and we'll mix in December and it should be in a vague state to listen to early next year-type thing.

When are you aiming for it to come out?

Probably, I think if the record label had their way it'd be April or May of next year. I don't know what it'll be in America, hopefully it'd be the same.

Are you staying on Sub Pop in America?

I think it might be a Memphis [Industries] release in America. I'm not sure yet. I don't know what the options are. It worked out quite well for them so we might keep it in the family.

Do you know how many songs will be on the record?

I've got about 16 or 17 knocking around. That's including little interlude-y, noodley songs and stuff, so I think we'll whittle it down to maybe 13 or 14.

Your last record had appearances from Chuck D and Marina Ribatski from Bonde do Rolê, do you have anyone special helping out on this one?

Yeah, there's lots of international involvement again. Not all the folks have come through yet, and I don't know if it's gonna pan out exactly but yeah, I'm trying to involve lots of people. I just had some vocals from a girl called Lispector, she's French, kind of lo-fi, and a girl called Dominique Unique who's doing something.... Generally it's a lot more singing and a lot more melodic, a lot more kind of songy, and less kind of chanty. We've done that chanty thing, and The Go! Team name is kind of synonymous with that sound and I knew that was kind of the main kickoff for me, is I didn't really want to make it super chanty this time, I feel like we've kind of done that. I'm more interested in melody, really, and more interested in kickass songs. In some ways it's about the kind of classic '60s idea of a pop song in its purist way. I'm always into my girl groups and I guess it will probably be a bit more apparent on this one. It's making it kind of choppy and a bit schitzo.

Have any of the band members' roles changed for this record? Is anyone doing more or less of something or doing something new this time around?

Not really, no. I've recorded with a community brass band the other day, which is about 11 brass players. They were about 18-year-old brass players. That's a new thing for me. We had to score out the parts. We had alto saxophones and baritone trombones, which is kind of new territory, trying to figure out scoring and stuff like that. But one particular song's got a marching band parade kind of dimension to it, which I've had that kind of obsession with majorettes and stuff like that. There's gonna be multiple xylophones and that kind of sound, lots of people playing the xylophone, and whistles and crowd sounds. And we're thinking about finally using live brass for the live show, but maybe having a community brass band playing it rather than some 40-year-old session musicians all standing in a row. I've always had this kind of fear of brass and how it looks, 'cause it always looks really square and session-y, but I dunno.

www.thegoteam.co.uk



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abc
August 11th 2010
1:31am

Ninja from the Go! Team is on Twitter!!! @NinjaFromGoTeam

Green
November 21st 2010
6:03am

Very modest man, hope it stays that way under the spotlight