lazyhome         reviews         hype         webboard                interviews

The Go! Team: No One Sits on the Bench

story by tim mcmahan



Lazy-i: July 26, 2006

The Go! Team
w/ Eagle*Seagull, Little Brazil
Monday, June 31, 9 p.m.
Sokol Underground
13th & Martha

The Go! Team is huge. You just don't know it. Go to Europe, however, and they're everywhere. They're big in Japan, too. But here, well, no one knows them, yet.

This detail is not lost on Go! Team mad genius Ian Parton, who created the band's infectiously danceable music by piecing together samples of some of his favorite sounds from sources like Sonic Youth, Sesame Street, Shellac, old hip-hop, television action-show sound tracks, and whatever else caught his ear. Just add a fuzzy break-beat and some tasty rap/yell/cheer vocals and you've got yourself a hit. Like the scratch-guitar-hip-hop-orchestra-laden-rock-flute jive of "Ladyflash" from their mondo-successful debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike. It's a pseudo anthem across the water where the band is a festival staple, like at Bristol's Ashton Court Festival, where they performed in front of thousands just the day before our interview.

But here in America, The Go! Team is an unknown commodity to anyone but those of us who watch MTV's Subterranean. The anonymity has the band's U.S. record label, Columbia, all in a tizzy. "They are very underwhelmed by us because we didn't meet their expectations," Parton said via cell from his home in Brighton.




Columbia expected big things from a band that seemingly arrived bigger than life on the European scene. "We were lucky to bypass the backroom of pubs," Parton said. "Most bands earn their right to be big by doing the toilet tours -- that's what they're called over here -- in obscurity. We never had to play to empty rooms.

"It doesn't feel like we're huge in America, I guess. Amongst people who know about music and search stuff out, we're vaguely well known, but mention our name to anyone else and we barely register, you know what I mean?"

Parton blames their obscurity partially on the fact that he and the band won't sell out. "We have a habit of saying no to things like remixes of songs," he said. "They (the label) gets pissed off."

They also don't allow their music to be used in commercials -- what the Brits call "adverts" -- though they've had plenty of offers, including from the good ol' Golden Arches. "People coincide the release of a single with the release of an advert," Parton said. "It impacts the shelf life of a band when you're brought to peoples' attention that way."

Instead, The Go! Team are doing all the right things to become this year's biggest European import, including playing Red Rocks in Colorado with The Flaming Lips and Ween a couple days before their Sokol Underground gig, then playing Chicago's Lollapalooza in early August followed by support slots with heroes Sonic Youth.

How do you go from playing a festival filled with thousands of fans dancing and "going mental" to playing in front of a few hundred lurkers at the Sokol dungeon? "We do the same thing whether in front of a few people or thousands," Parton said. "I like sweaty rooms when there's a rowdy crowd right in front of us instead of behind a massive barrier."




"Most bands earn their right to be big by doing the toilet tours -- that's what they're called over here -- in obscurity. We never had to play to empty rooms.."












Their typical show involves six people, two drum kits and an assortment of noisemakers, including glockenspiel and recorders. "Everyone's running across the stage picking up instruments," he said. "Ninja (the band's vocalist) is like the ringleader."

It's her job to coax people to dance -- no mean feat when you're in Omaha. Parton doesn't mind, however, if you just stand there at the show with your arms crossed. "We do base our gig on how people bump around," he said. "But I don't believe in hassling people. If you just stand around, it's cool. I won't necessarily thrash around at shows, either. I stand there and check it out. But we always love it when people are down to it, stage diving and stuff like that. It's a good thing."

Between tours, Parton and the band are busy in Brighton working on the follow-up to 2004's Thunder Lightning Strike. "It'll still be sample-based music, even if it's not literally sampled. It will seem like a sample," he said. "Most people don't know if it's live or a sample, anyway. I want it to sound cut-and-paste, with genres next to each other. Public Enemy is a big influence on this album, with their military style and break beats, but mixed with a kind of cheeky recorder and glockenspiel. The band will certainly be playing a lot more on it than the first one. They're all better musicians than I am. I struggle with bar chords."

For Parton, 32, music and The Go! Team are more of a hobby than a calling. Before he got the idea for the band, he used make a living traveling the world filming documentaries about things like street walking and nanotechnology. "I'll go back to it when I'm too old to rock," he said. "Music isn't a career. If you approach it that way, it'll make you do desperate things."

Back to  huge.gif (2200 bytes)

Published in The Omaha Reader July 26, 2006. Copyright © 2006 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.