Stephen Taylor / Special to The Daily Yomiuri
|The Go! Team backstage at Heaven, London, on 8th February 2011|
LONDON--Three years ago, The Go! Team lit up Fuji Rock Festival with an explosive set that was one of the highlights of the weekend for this writer. Yet, according to the band's founder and leader, Ian Parton, when the British-based band return next week, it could be their live swan song in Japan.
"There's a fair chance we might stop touring as a band, maybe next year," the 37-year-old said in an interview for The Daily Yomiuri alongside bandmates Kaori Tsuchida and Ninja backstage before a recent show in London.
When asked to expand on what could be a momentous decision for the group's fans, Parton thought long and hard, before uttering the inconclusive reply: "Stuff. You know."
Parton is a focused individual, having formed The Go! Team after recording what became the group's debut album, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, by himself at his parent's house in 2004. Mixing pop, hip hop, lo-fi and nostalgia to produce accessible, engaging pop music, this cosmopolitan outlook extends to members of the band, with guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Tsuchida and compatriot Chi Fukimi Taylor on drums accounting for one third of the band. While Tsuchida may not be a household name in her home country--in spite of her overseas success--she is more than happy to maintain a low profile.
"I really liked [British artist] Billy Childish and [his band Thee] Headcoatees when I was in Japan. Some music lovers [in Japan] are really into American or English music that's [seen as] underground in Japan, so I'm proud to be in that position myself now," she said.
Though based in Britain these days, Tsuchida's thoughts not unnaturally turned to Japan when she heard about the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake.
"I wanted to go back straight away and do something, but I couldn't, so I felt useless. My thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected and I hope Japan rebuilds from this disaster," she said in an e-mail message last week.
The Go! Team's latest album, Rolling Blackouts, is an entertaining collection, ranging from epic-sounding production numbers to catchy pop tunes, such as the Japan-inspired "Secretary Song."
"I got this '50s sample of someone on the typewriter, and put it on top of this other thing...and as soon as I got the two on top of each other, I had an instant vision of it being like a Tokyo secretary," Parton explained. Parton's love of obscure musical samples manifests itself one of his favorite tracks on the album, "Super Triangle." "[It's] probably the one I play the most [at the moment]. I love little interlude songs, little cheeky songs," he said.
Vocalist Ninja revealed a more sensory approach to her appreciation of the album. "I can see pictures really clearly when a song plays, and if I like the picture, then I like the song. If a song doesn't give me a picture, then it's probably a rubbish song," she said.
But for a neat description of Rolling Blackouts, Tsuchida has coined a phrase that sums up The Go! Team, both on record and on stage.
"On one side, it has really hard songs, and on the other side really, really sweet stuff, so together I described it as 'Sugar-coated Chaos.'"
The Go! Team will play May 17, 7 p.m. at Club Quattro in Nagoya (052) 264-8211; May 18, 7 p.m. at Club Quattro in Shinsaibashi, Osaka (06) 6281-8181; and May 20, 7 p.m. at Liquid Room in Ebisu, Tokyo. (03) 5464-0800.
(May. 13, 2011)