"People often talk about the positivity of The Go! Team music and I think surrounding myself in this everyday was useful... It’s strange how some of the lyrics - which were written a while ago - seemed to foreshadow both my hearing loss and the pandemic."
The Go! Team are a six piece band from Brighton comprising of Ian Parton, (vocals, guitars, harmonica, piano, drums, triangle, glockenspiel, tambourine) Ninja, (vocals, drums, tambourine, recorder) Sam Dook, (guitars, banjo, drums, tambourine) Niadzi Muzira (drums), Simone Odaranile (drums, percussion) and Adam Znaidi (bass).
A collage sampling type style encompassing a kaleidoscope of sounds, indie rock, garage rock, Motown, Bollywood and old school hip hop. The Go! Team have created a musical world distinctly of their own making. With this year marking 20 years for them as a original cult band, they now return with their sixth studio album, Get Up Sequences Part One, released via Memphis Industries, which we are excited to have pressed on a beautiful Rough Trade Exclusive yellow vinyl.
The Go! Team's founder and producer Ian Parton recounts the recording of the new album along with his recent battle with ear disorder Menaire's disease.
"Every The Go! Team album begins by listening to thousands of records over weeks and months. Often I’ll camp out in a genre - so spend a week listening to Turkish psych, then Italian soundtracks the next. The process of listening generates lots of melody ideas where I stop the record and think I would have done a different melody. So over months and years my phone is full of hundreds of melody ideas (I recently managed to go swimming with my phone in my pocket and lost loads of ideas). And melody is really what rules the show for me. People might think The Go! Team would grab a sample, stick a beat on it and some cheerleader chants and call it a song but it’s much more about hooks and classic songwriting really.
Listening back to ideas weeks later its like they’re someone else’s and you can immediately tell if they’re worth pursuing. I have a mega document on my computer with all the ideas in it - arranged by major, minor, breakbeat and non breakbeat. It's like doing admin but it allows me to try ideas next to each other to see if they gel. Over time the good shit rises to the top - so often I’ll have one killer section and then will trial and error other sections next to it. So I never sit down with an acoustic and write a song from start to finish its much more about sticking together 5 or 6 sections until it feels like a song. It's a long process but for the songwriting is 90% of the work. I probably only use 1% of everything in a finished song.
When I had enough songs for album 6 I get on the hotline to the rest of The Go! Team and I build it up instrument by instrument - we started with drums. Me and GT drummer Simone Odaranile went over to the Isle of Wight for a few days and recorded drums in an old water tower turned into a studio. Distorted roomy drum sounds are kinda The Go! Team hallmark. Then bassist Adam Znaidi came to my house in Brighton - I have a brick built space in the garden where I do all GT business. We used a Fender bass with flat wound strings with really bad action so his fingers were getting blistered and he had to wear latex gloves to keep going. He’s amazing at that James Jamerson flow. Next came brass with trumpet player Deanna Wilhelm and trombonist Viva Msimang over 2 days in Urchin Studio, London. Then me and guitarist Sam Dook made a racket in my garden studio. I don’t know how my neighbours put up with it.
Vocals are normally the last thing we do - I love having a variety of voice and accents across an album. When I was in Detroit recording the last album Semicircle I met a rapper who was in the community choir called Indigo Yaj who had a Roxanne Shante kinda delivery which I love. So I tracked her down for the song Cookie Scene and she went into a studio in Detroit.
I also remembered a lady I met called Mrs Kee who leads the choir in a Detroit high school, so I asked if she would take a few of her pupils - who’d never been in a studio - along and try out recording a song called a bee without its sting. One teenager called Jessie Miller totally stood out and made it onto the song. I’d rather do imperfection and charm over vocal gymnastics. I always veer towards singers who wouldn’t call themselves singers - who don’t oversing, more bedroom-y. The minute you call yourself a singer you start doing all the things you think a singer should do - going through the motions.
Vocals are always a mix of guest vox and go teamers. Singer Ninja was pregnant during recording so I had to go to her in Guildford - literally a week before her due date. Breathing was pretty tricky during takes but she’s such a pro. Nia in the band added a lot to the record too with her unusual, breathy voice.
It was halfway thru the album that I had a pretty traumatic episode - I lost the hearing in my right ear. It was a Thursday in October 2019 when I woke up and my hearing had changed somehow. I realised all the bass had disappeared from my right side hearing. It fluctuated over weeks and at one point sounded robotic and dalek-y and I remember listening to music was unbearable - sounding like 2 records playing at the same time. I originally thought it was because I’ve been caning the volume over these years, I never wear ear plugs but it turns out I was just fucking unlucky and a hospital diagnosed it as Menieres disease which fucks your inner ear and makes you dizzy.
I didn’t handle it well and experienced something close to PTSD. It was weird listening to these songs I knew so well that now sounded different. What started in stereo was now in mono. But I think the process and routine of finishing the album helped. People often talk about the positivity of The Go! Team music and I think surrounding myself in this everyday was useful. Something less throwaway and more genuine and sincere. It’s strange how some of the lyrics - which were written a while ago - seemed to foreshadow both my hearing loss and the pandemic. Particularly in the song Let the Seasons Work:
There’s a way back
If you see that
when life went away
it goes in waves
so know this one thing:
stay right here
cos its coming
So ultimately I think music just makes things better."
Get Up Sequences Part One on Rough Trade Exclusive yellow vinyl.