- Josh Crowe
In Conversation With Goat Girl
Goat Girl are a band who's latest release poignantly dissects the most claustrophobic period of our lives, portraying a potent urgency through jangly melodies, buoyant rhythms and masterful lyricism, Their recently released album 'On All Fours' has without a doubt been one of the highlights during my lockdown. The album takes the heart of the new millennium and turns it into a fury of bouncing guitar, rolling drums and slurring harmonies. "We've been blown away by the response to the album so far. It's really humbling to know how many people are enjoying the music and are relating to its themes. We're very grateful." says the band's bassist Holly.
The South London band were able to curate an album that chronicles perhaps the most uncertain times of our lives, challenging our newly found anxieties, whilst tackling issues that came long before the pandemic. Despite releasing the album during a global pandemic the band have once again blown everyone away with a truly remarkable album. It hasn't been an easy ride, Holly admits," I'm feeling pretty exhausted with it all to be honest, as I'm sure everyone is. The creativity thing is interesting because I'm constantly struggling with inner pressure to be productive and use this time to write music, but you can't force creativity and this situation is emotionally draining. I've been trying to be kinder to myself and not to force things if the mood doesn't strike. "
Whilst a lifting of restrictions and eventual return to normality is welcomed with an open embrace by the band, it's not all been negative. "Before the pandemic, we were slightly technophobic and still are to an extent. We've adapted to using our social media outlets (flawed as social media is) to connect with people and to share messages that we believe are important. In lieu of any physical shows, we filmed a live session in a bunker in our friend Flo White's back garden (Goat Girl live at the Nunhead Alhambra). She did some wonderful set design for that and Dan Carey filled in on synths/did sound with his engineer Alexis - you can watch it on Youtube now. People are resilient, especially creatives, so it's been interesting to see how they've adapted and some good/interesting ideas have definitely come out of the situation. "
The band also used the pandemic to take creative stock, to reflect and also enjoy a ton of new music. "There's actually been so much brilliant music released over the last year." says Holly, " Lottie introduced me to an artist called OTTO, who's 2020 album Clam Day has become a new favourite of mine since lockdown. Lava La Rue and Haich Ber Na's new EPs are both incredible also. "
The release of the second album has seen the band successfully build on their already burgeoning reputation as one of the best British bands around, but amongst a multitude of success and acclaim, it becomes clear much has stayed the same. Holly notes "we're all working doing other jobs to get by at the moment, but we've been sharing new ideas through a secret Soundcloud account and have been making plans to cut ourselves off for another writing session as soon as we feel that it's safe to do so. We've also been listening to a lot of music and reading, sharing our new discoveries with each other."
The band successfully navigated their way through the countless challenges of lockdown, replacing the moshpits for the pulpits of political discourse. Drummer Rosy Bones, notes just how different an experience it was this time round, "I mean with the pandemic and all it has been a completely different experience. Like we couldn’t even be together to celebrate the release which was quite sad, and usually, we’d be out playing the songs for lovely people. But all in all, I’ve found it to be really positive and I’m glad it’s finally out!"
The album celebrates many of the elements that were a success on it's predecessor, this time expanding on them. Whilst the album has a smaller body of tracks, it is far longer in length, exploring entirely new avenues of themes and sonic soundscapes. "On All Fours was written much more collaboratively, which meant that it took a long time to get to a place where everyone was happy. But I feel it paid off. The recording was similar in the way we tracked it all together live, but we definitely explored a vaster amount of sonics with this one."
The writing process can often prove to be one of the toughest elements of being an artist; knowing when to finally call it a day on a song, in the hope you've given the track you are working on justice. "During the writing process there was a lot of changing and tweaking, trying things in different ways just to see if it would improve the song," says Holly "but when it comes to recording we're pretty strict on ourselves about capturing the moment and not overcooking anything. We're not precious about everything being played perfectly or exactly in time and we like the rawness and energy that comes with recording live in a room together. Dan has a similar attitude in that regard, which is one of the reasons we work so well together. "
When asked what track feels the most rewarding on the album, Holly answers "probably 'Once Again'. It was easily the most difficult to write to in that sense, it's very satisfying to hear it in its finished format. It's one I'm most proud of because it went through SO many changes in structure, topic and instrumentation and instead of giving up on it we persevered. '
Above: Goat Girl live at The Windmill in 2017
Whilst the band has persevered through an incredibly tough time to deliver a spellbinding album there is a sinking reality we can all relate to, it's such a shame we haven't been able to hear these tracks live. The band are well aware of just how seminal venues have been to their growth as a band, "Grassroots venues like The Windmill (Brixton), Sister Midnight (Deptford) and The Montague Arms (which has been closed for quite a while now sadly) were/are incredibly important to the success of Goat Girl. The Windmill especially, was and hopefully will continue to be a breeding ground for our creativity and is an important element of our growth... We're holding off on making any further big announcements (like European dates) until we know more about how the implications of Brexit will affect us, as well as the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic. "
We really cannot wait for the day to come when we can see this standout album live; t's a day the band and their fans deserve. I end the interview by making the point of how amazing it is that despite being written in 2019, the songs feel so relevant to last year’s turn of events. Rosy jokingly answers "perhaps we saw it coming".
Grab On All Fours Here
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