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Chris and Mike Dench with their late mother, Norma

Love For The Goodsouls

New fifty-one song compilation comes together for one of the UK's most loved music families

Sep 28, 2021
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If you’ve been at a gig or festival in the UK or Europe over the past couple of decades its highly likely you’ll have encountered either one or both of the Dench brothers, aka the Goodsouls. Their insatiable commitment to live music and in particular supporting new bands, most notable on the psych rock and experimental scenes really holds no bounds.

The two London based brothers, Chris and Mike, would often rock up at a midweek gig literally hundreds of miles from their home, spreadsheet in hand detailing where they’d be over the course of the coming weeks, championing endless artists up and down the land. So it wasn’t that much of a surprise when in 2012 they decided to form their own live music promotions company, Goodsouls Promotions. Together with the brothers’ mother Norma Dench, who sadly passed away in September 2018, Chris and Mike put on around 160 shows in London, Brighton, Leeds and Nottingham among other places while also curating a stage at the Kingston International Youth Festival.

Goodsouls by name and Good Souls by nature, their enthusiasm, generosity and supportiveness touched everyone that ever met them in such a positive way. So, it came as a bolt from the blue when Mike Dench announced via social media over the weekend that Chris had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and only has weeks to live.

So, in a matter of days, the project Love For The Goodsouls took shape. Initially the brainchild of French musician and recording artist Francois Sky, who decided to contact as many musicians as he could muster about putting together a compilation album in honour of the family. Within days, an array of artists from all over the world submitted pieces of music – some unreleased – with the number currently standing at a staggering fifty-one songs.

Francois Sky
Francois Sky

Francois takes up the story.

“As soon as I heard about Chris’s condition, I wanted to generate a wave of love and support for these guys, who long before I can tell, have done so much in terms of musical commitments for a significant number of people, artists and bands.

I found myself speechless when Norma passed away three years ago and again when reading about Chris. So, as I’m interested in finding solutions, my pragmatic side inspired me to do the following: Songs and good intentions mean more than words I don’t have, so let’s use these vectors to express feelings to these fine Dench music lovers, aka The Goodsouls.”

Contributors to the compilation so far include A Place To Bury Strangers, The Underground Youth, New Candys, Helicon, David J Haskins (Bauhaus), Cult Of Dom Keller, Chatham Rise and Julee Cruise among a host of others from the worldwide musical underground.

“I prefer to keep some things to myself because I don’t want to explain everything,” continues Francois. “But I can say that I have unconditional love for them and their mum, the late Norma. I remember them sleeping in armchairs in their very home to give a bed to some bands (including myself), so to me, they literally mean Goodsouls.”

The compilation can be downloaded from Bandcamp for a minimum donation of 7 Euros (which works out at around £6 in UK sterling or $8 in the US), while submissions are still open for any artists wishing to contribute to what is a truly worthwhile cause.


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