Get up and go See/Hear

In two years, some things have changed for Ian Par­ton of The Go! Team. He’s packed in the day job for one – but the sound re­mains the same. He tells Jim Car­roll how the band have no in­ten­tion of drop­ping their home-made, bed­room sound – or sell­ing yo­gurt

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

THE last time Ian Par­ton spoke to The Ticket, he was think­ing about pack­ing in his day job mak­ing doc­u­men­taries. His band, The Go! Team, had just re­turned from its first as­sault on US pop fans, and the buzz about the band and their Thun­der, Light­ning, Strike de­but album was deaf­en­ing. Band leader Par­ton, though, wasn’t sure if it it would all last.

Two years later, his day job is The Go! Team. Par­ton says there are times when he has to pinch him­self.

“There have been mo­ments which I just couldn’t have imag­ined a cou­ple of years ago. It’s like a name-drop­per’s dream. We’ve worked with Chuck D, we’ve sup­ported the Flam­ing Lips, we’ve had Kevin Shields remix­ing one of our tracks, and we’ve trav­elled the world a few times over. It has been stupidly good.”

It may be about to get even bet­ter. Proof of Youth, The Go! Team’s sec­ond album, is now on re­lease and it’s ev­ery­thing the de­but was (a whirl­wind of in­fec­tious sounds and grooves, in­clud­ing cop show sound­tracks, freaky rock-outs and block party thrillers) and more. As any­one who saw the band’s freak-out at the re­cent Elec­tric Pic­nic will tell you, The Go! Team walk the walk and talk the talk.

Proof of Youth is loud, brash, funky and über-con­fi­dent, an album cut from the same cloth as its pre­de­ces­sor, but which takes more chances and aims much higher and fur­ther. There are tracks here (Ti­tanic Van­dal­ism, Do­ing It Right) that could cause ri­ots all on their own.

“In terms of the goals, the album is not a mil­lion miles away from the first album,” ad­mits Par­ton, “be­cause there are still acres of things for us to try when you start think­ing about hy­brids and sounds you could ram into each other. I wanted the album to be more Tech­ni­color, noisy, schiz­o­phrenic and ballsy than the last one, ba­si­cally an­other blax­ploita­tion sound­track com­bined with noisy gui­tars and dis­torted drums.”

Thanks prob­a­bly to a big­ger bud­get, there’s less reliance on sam­ples.

“We’ve used more live stuff this time around, more brass and vo­cal col­lab­o­ra­tions for sure. It does sound like you’re in a room with a band jam­ming in the cor­ner. And I dig that be­cause it feels like the band are mov­ing from the bed­room into a school as­sem­bly hall. But there are still a fair few bunch of sam­ples to the record, and I don’t ever want to lose sight of that, es­pe­cially that homemade vinyl crunchy and hissy sound.”

The record­ing process was an op­por­tu­nity for The Go! Team to see if they could knock some peo­ple off their list of fan­tasy col­lab­o­ra­tors. “Chuck D was on the hit list; he was prob­a­bly the first name I ever wrote down years ago. We had to hunt him down. We fired an e-mail off to Chuck with­out know­ing if we had the right e-mail ad­dress for him or not. Three months later, it was on.”

Par­ton saw the col­lab­o­ra­tions as a way to broaden Proof of Youth’s tone. “I wanted the album to have a mix­ture of voices to it, be it snip­pets from doc­u­men­taries or real vo­cals, all kinds of dif­fer­ent ages and ac­cents.

“On one song, you have the Dou­ble Dutch Di­vas, th­ese fortysome­thing women from Brook­lyn, and on the next song it’s the Rap­pers De­light Ju­nior, th­ese kids from Mary­land at an af­ter-school rap­ping club. Then we have Ma­rina from Bonde Do Role and Soulex and the leg­endary Chuck in the mid­dle of it all. I love the idea of con­fu­sion and not know­ing what’s com­ing next.”

While the band linked up with ma­jor la­bel Sony-BMG for their first album, Proof of Youth will be re­leased on a flock of indie la­bels around the world, in­clud­ing Mem­phis In­dus­tries, Sub Pop and Ja­pan’s Avex la­bel.

“This way, you have en­thu­si­asts be­hind you who know their shit. There’s not go­ing to be some de­part­men­tal change one day, which means ev­ery­one who liked you fucks off and the new bloke doesn’t get you. It’s a real roller­coaster with ma­jors un­less you’re sell­ing ob­scene amounts of records. And Sub Pop are in­ter­est­ing be­cause they’re cut­ting away a lot re­cently from their grunge her­itage with sign­ings like CSS and us. They’ve a pretty freestyle ros­ter right now.”

Yet, as bands earn an even-smaller pro­por­tion of their in­come from record and CD sales, Par­ton says the temp­ta­tion to mine other sources, like flog­ging songs for ads, is im­mense.

“I’ve had some real dilem­mas about that th­ese last cou­ple of years, and I’ve turned about 90 per cent of the of­fers and sac­ri­ficed a fair chunk of change. The one time

Check out The Go! Team doc­u­men­tary and other videos at http://www.the­goteam. co.uk/flash/Su­per8.php Proof of Youth is out now on Mem­phis In­dus­tries we had to buckle was to fund a sup­port tour with the Flam­ing Lips and Sonic Youth that we re­ally wanted to do. The la­bel in Amer­ica wouldn’t pay for it, so we took the ad­ver­tis­ing cash to en­able us to do that. It’s get­ting harder and harder in a post­down­load world for bands like us to make money from records, and I guess that’s how some­one could log­i­cally rea­son with it.”

That still doesn’t lessen Par­ton’s un­ease with the sit­u­a­tion.

“Per­son­ally, I would be cring­ing if I heard Ev­ery­one’s a VIP on a yo­gurt ad, which was an op­tion at one stage. The idea that some­one would have first con­tact with our mu­sic through a yo­gurt would be hard to take.”

Dairy in­tol­er­ant: The Go! Team’s Ian Par­ton (far right) has no in­ter­est in pro­mot­ing yo­gurt

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