Goose are a four piece band from Belgium. Apparently they make dance music as though they were a rock band or rock music as though they were a dance act. Whatever the case, Skint Records thought they were good enough to sign and that's why they'll be releasing their debut album 'Bring It On' with the Brighton-based scenesters this September. In the meantime you can catch them at the Carling Weekend at Reading and Leeds or at the TDK Cross Central festival. We caught up with their singing synth wizard Mikial to find out what makes Goose tick...
VF: So you guys are playing the Carling Weekend and the TDK festival, which are you most looking forward to?
Mick: “We’ve already played at the TDK site, we did a Radio Soulwax show there in May so we can expect a little bit what it will be like, although it will obviously be different. And then the Reading and Leeds festivals are going to be big, but it’s nice that we’re going to be playing on the Radio Soulwax evening so it’s going to be a bit familiar and so I think that’s a highlight of our summer.”
VF: Who are you looking forward to seeing play at any of these events?
M: “To be honest I’m not sure who is playing there. I saw Primal Scream are playing but I don’t know if they are playing on the same day. I don’t know if they are playing on Saturday or Sunday. So I really wanted to see Primal Scream but I am not sure I am actually going to see them.”
VF: How is the festival scene in Belgium?
M: “Well we’re doing quite a big one it’s called Pukkelpop this Saturday. We have two major festivals in Belgium, there is Werchter in July and Pukkelpop. And Daft Punk are playing on Saturday as well so that’s a gig we are looking forward to. We asked our booking agent to book us on the same day as Daft Punk so we were sure we would see them. And Justice is DJing, Erol Alkan is DJing, Hot Chip are also playing so it’s going to be a good night.”
VF: Besides dEUS I think you guys are the only other Belgian act I know about. Why do you think Belgian music is so distinctive from English music, for example?
M: “If you look at history Belgium doesn’t really have a musical history. We have a lot of painters and film makers, we have some creative people but in the music industry we don’t really have a lot of people who were like the first to introduce a certain genre, also we don’t have anyone over here like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. So we are just somewhere at the beginning of something. We had dEUS, they were the first Belgian band who went international, they had a contract with a UK label so that was a good start for an indie band to go abroad. And then we have Soulwax who are also making music but not in a Belgian way, by “a Belgian way” I mean a lot of Belgian bands think that Belgium is where you want to start if you want to start a career in music but that doesn’t really work. If you want to start a career in Belgium then you should start abroad. For us we made the choice to start in the UK because there is more of a scene for us there and then once we’ve established some kind of name it will be better for us in Belgium. There are other good Belgian bands though, like Millionaire who are much more rocky but they are really cool. They toured with Queens of the Stone Age, Josh Holme produced their latest album. They are hard but they are certainly an exciting band to look out for.”
VF: You are now signed to the legendary Skint Records. How did that happen? Did you find them or did they find you?
M: “Well our guitar player played with Soulwax for two years and while he was on tour he met Damian [Harris, one of the head honchos at Skint Records]. And it was really in a very friendly, not-A & R-type-of-way that they met and that’s also very characteristic of the Skint label. They’re just good people and they’re good to hang out with, they’re not the typical music industry types. It’s fun and they just live for the music and the creative thing behind it.”
VF: Are you fans of the Skint sound?
M: “I think we are a bit like an outsider at Skint because most of the acts are DJs or really electronic acts. Then you have two folky acts like Ralfe Band and Lucky Jim, so that’s also something different and we are again something else so that proves also that Skint are a label who want to take a challenge and not stick with what they have done for the last ten years. They want to go on and try different things and we share the same attitude with our music, we play what we play today but we’re going to evolve, every record from Goose is going to be different. You might recognise a sound or a vibe but we’re just growing everyday and there is certainly an evolution in every song we write.”
VF: Why are you called Goose?
M: “Well we’ve known each other for a very long time, ten years now, we’re all 26 so we all met when we were 16 and if you meet each other what do you talk about? About music and films and ‘Top Gun’ was a film that all four of us liked, we were young in the 80s. So that film, I don’t know why, but we were stuck with it somehow…the lovely Kelly McGillis, when she calls for Maverick, Tom Cruise’s character, she always goes “Lootenant, lootenant!” and that sound has always remained in my head. The way she says it I am stuck with it for the rest of my life I think. In the part where she runs behind Tom Cruise and he’s a bit angry and he jumps on his bike and he says “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you” because he is revving his engine, vroooom vroom, and then they make love three minutes later and then when he leaves he leaves her a rose…aaah.”
VF: And now your music is being used, or has been, by both Heineken and Coca Cola…please explain.
M: “Well, we see it as something good. I think we’re lucky as we’ve had two songs, both from the album, one for the Coca Cola advert, which is a bonus track on the album [‘Bring It On’, released September 11], it is quite an old song but we thought it was quite nice so we put it there to show how the record could have been and where we came from, and then the other song is ‘Black Gloves’ which is the introductory song on the album and I don’t know why but the people from Skint they just send out music and some people check it out and then use it in their adverts.”
VF: Will you only allow your music to be used by drinks manufacturers? If for example Nestle approached you about doing the sound track for a new chocolate bar advert would you agree to it?
M: “Only drinks? Oh no. We would agree [to allow our music to be used to advertise chocolate]. We don’t see the harm in being a little bit commercial because it is just a way of getting your music out there. Maybe if you had asked me a few years ago I think the whole vibe would be different, I would have probably said “I don’t know if it is politically correct” or “I don’t know if a band should do this” but it’s just become normal now. I think every band does it but not everybody comes out with it. For us though, it is not a big deal. What we did was use the money [from the adverts] for the record because we recorded everything ourselves and in our home studio so it’s not like we went on holiday or something.”
VF: Who would win in a fight between Tintin and Asterix?
M: “I am not really into those two, which is not very Belgian of me. The only connection I have with Tintin is it must have been the first thing I remember on the television, it was either on TV or my parents rented it for me on video when I was small but it is my first memory of television and from then on I have no further contact with Tintin.”
VF: Who does what onstage? Are there really no more lengthy guitar solos?
M: “Well, we have skipped a bit of guitar in our live sets so it’s a bit more dancey, a bit more funk, in the 40, 45 minutes that we play we just want to have a party and we just went “Well, let’s use the drums and as many synths as possible” because we were very proud of the fact that although it sounds very electronic everything is played live. So when we are there on stage with our synthesizers we just want to have fun and, you know, what you hear is just coming out of those machines, no samplers, no click tracks. So we have one live drummer, then the guitar player, well he used to play guitar, plays 80 per cent synth right now, the bass player plays both, bass guitar and bass synth, and then I play also synthesizer and I sing.”
VF: Do you see yourselves as blurring the boundaries between rock and dance music?
M: “This is a tricky question because I see in the last few years in the UK you have a lot of bands who I think used to be rock bands or a bit punky, they just add a little sample or some electronics and you have the mix. But we don’t want to be compared to that kind of mix because I think we play electronic music but as a rock band. We use a lot of tricks that a DJ would use, like filtering, we use a cut off with our synthesizers as a DJ would do it with a mixing desk, we do the break down, like taking the bass away or taking the drums out, or just the vocals and leave the synth, so we’re just playing around and sometimes we sound like a DJ but as a rock band.”
VF: If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
M: “John Lennon”
VF: What song do you wish you’d written?
M: “A Belgian hymn, maybe the national anthem…just joking. That is the most difficult thing you could ask me because that is like asking me what is your favourite music for now, or what is your favourite dance. I can’t answer that but let’s say that I’m really happy with the songs that we have written.”