Like playing '80s beat 'em up video games with Sonic Youth and The Jackson Five, The Go! Team is the soundtrack to your childhood flashing before your eyes with Chuck D and Big Bird manning the decks. They may steal more samples than Pete Doherty at a drugs awareness lesson, but last year they proved they give back a certain something to music festivals that no one can borrow or beg back from them, as proven probably the most dramatically during their season closing set at Bestival 2005. The band's debut album 'Thunder, Lightning, Strike' may have been Mercury Music Prize nominated, but forget that, it's on the live stage that the Brighton sextet truly show what they're all about. Fronted by the delectable, high-kickin' Ninja and held together by bedroom boffin Ian Parton, the band are preparing to unleash themselves on us once again for Strike 2. VF caught up with Ian and fellow Go Teamer Kaori ahead of their recent gig in Liverpool...
Virtual Festivals: You’ve been getting about recently, haven’t you? Just back from Australia..
Ian: Yeah, we’ve been all over the place. We just got back a few days ago. It’s been pretty non-stop. We did this festival called Big Day Out - it was brilliant. It’s pretty odd. You travel around as a group in a plane so there’ll be White Stripes at one end, MIA over there, Prodigy over there. It’d be like, if the whole plane went down, y’know?!
VF: Where do you reckon is the best place to play in the UK?
I: It must be Glasgow. We did a brilliant gig there. Where was it?
Kaori: The Glagow Uni’s student Union. We’re playing the Barrowlands this time. It should be a top night.
VF: So what’s so good about Glasgow?
K: There’s no attitude really, y’know? Hardly any warming up to be done. It’s good. Ireland’s a good gig too.
VF: People always seem to compare your music to TV shows. Is that a deliberate thing or is it something that’s just naturally evolved?
I: I dunno. I’d say I’ve got a soft spot for it, but I wouldn’t say it was that literal. I haven’t sat down and thought, ‘I’ll do a cop show theme’. But I’m kind of a fan of action packed stuff, harsh edged kind of thing. Makes it a bit more original, hopefully, so we’re not kind of an acid jazz band doing the Starsky and Hutch theme. Fuck that.
VF: It’s very dense, layered music.
I: Yeah, even more so live, 'cos we’ve got two guitars. It’s kind of a bigger sound.
VF: So what can people expect from the live show?
K: It's completely different from the CD. It’s fun. So much fun.
I: There’s a divide. Some people prefer the record, some people prefer us live y’know. I think more so now. We keep hearing the comment that people prefer us live.
K: I think with CD and live it’s a totally different sound.
I: Yeah. The album’s quite anti-production. In a way, it’s supposed to sound home made. I always am naturally attracted to stuff that sounds a bit home made, trashy, garagey, y’know what I mean? Live, I just want to thrash around. For me, it’s just an excuse to thrash and drum really hard. And actually finding out which songs people prefer.
VF: Which ones tend to go down well?
K: Bottle Rocket. And Junior Kickstart too.
I: It’s good because each song is kind of different from the one before it so you kind of get that mix. You kind of feel like you’re moving things around.
VF: Have you guys started work on a new album?
I: It’s kind of an ongoing thing really. It’s not like a sitting down to write a record thing. The nearest thing I get to that is getting a bunch of old tapes at home full of samples. Whenever I get the spare time I sort of pick out the greatest hits and put them together and think, ‘that could be a good song there’. But I don’t really know when the next album will be around.
VF: Is it still mainly you making the music, Ian, and the band performing it live?
I: Yeah. I mean the first one I made without the band actually being around and then it came to actually getting a live act together. Kaori here’s the latest member.
K: The new one. Glasgow was my second gig. Very emotional. First it was Warwick University and then it was Glasgow and people went mental. They just went crazy. It was like, ‘what the fuck’s going on?!’ I didn’t really understand, but it was cool.
VF: You guys are playing at T in the Park this year, what about the others?
I: We’re playing Reading again. We did them all last year. I think it might be a bit cheeky to do them all again.
VF: Are Reading and Leeds special festivals for you then?
I: Not really. I think the worst thing about it is that it’s basically an excuse to get a captive audience to buy Carling. I’d like to play All Tommorrow’s Party.
VF: If you were to headline the main stage at Glasto next year, who would you want playing with you?
I: Public Enemy, My Bloody Valentine, Cornelius, and Rock Steady Crew.
K: Iggy Pop and the Stooges and My Bloody Valentine. That would be cool.
VF: You’re playing Coachella aren’t you?
I: Yeah. And we might be supporting The Flaming Lips at the Royal Albert Hall.
VF: What are the crowds like in America compared to the UK?
I: They’re not wild. You’d expect them to be like ‘woohoo!’ but they’re quite subdued. Who was the best crowd we had?
K: New York.
I: Yeah that was good. LA was good.
K: And Chicago.
I: I can’t remember that one. They’re not wild but they’re kind of like a Londony type crowd, I suppose. Minneapolis - that was cool. There was like a bunch of kids there. They were doing the conga for the whole gig, all over the place. I dunno. I don’t think we should be trying to encourage congas - not in Liverpool.
VF: What’s the best gig you’ve ever done? How was Glastonbury last year?
I: It was shite. The PA blew up literally when we came on. We were playing but nobody was dancing. It was like ‘what the fuck’s going on?’ The best was the Pitchfork Media Festival in Chicago.
VF: Has your album come out in the States yet?
I: Yeah. It’s kind of got a cult, collegey following. Over there they call us a buzz band, whatever that means. It kind of, basically, means internet driven hype type of thing. And then people kind of queue up to diss us, y’know?
VF: How was being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize?
I: Yeah, you can’t argue with it.
VF: A lot of partying that night?
I: Kind of. It was quite a weird one really. It was kind of, not really a very good atmosphere. It was sitting around in a room with a lot of lawyers and businessmen and suits basically. And then us. It was just weird really. It felt like we’d kind of gate crashed the night. I was quite pleased though really 'cos it felt like we were quite different to everyone else.
VF: MIA was there as well, wasn’t she?
I: Yeah, with her coked up acceptance speech. Did you hear it? They cut it right down for TV. She went on and on.
VF: You’re all together all of the time – who’s got the most annoying habits?
K: Ian's tapping and Tom’s beatbox. It’s not annoying, it’s kind of fun. It’s not really annoying.
I: I kind of tap subconsciously all the time.
K: They’re like jamming all the time. It’s quite good though. Kind of a good habit.
VF: The last track on your album is Everyone’s A VIP To Someone. Who are your VIPs?
K: Yeah, me!
The Mercury-nominated 'Thunder, Lightning, Strike' is out now. See The Go! Team at Coachella, Oxegen, T In The Park and Reading and Leeds this summer.