The Go! Team
The Go! Team have always been cheerleaders for a better world – an outpouring of collective joy in the face of small-mindedness and dismal careerism. They rejoice in the unifying urges and the chance encounters between cultures that lead to something new. They’re a band who still have faith in the power of music to make things better. Now more than ever, we need The Go! Team.
It’s no secret that The Go! Team is the brainchild of one man, Brighton-based melody obsessive Ian Parton. But its membership has never been exclusive: at one time or another, The Go! Team has included on its squad-sheet everyone from Deerhoof to Chuck D to a legion of undiscovered Soundcloud singers. Unlike the group’s previous album, 2015’s The Scene Between – which was essentially a solo project, following the dissolution of the previous Go! Team lineup – Ian began work on their fifth album SEMICIRCLE with the vital input of current live players Simone Odaranile (drums) and Angela ‘Maki’ Won-Yin Mak (vocals), plus original Team members Sam Dook (guitar) and Ninja (irrepressible rapping).
In his head was the idea of a school marching band gone rogue, chucking away their sheet music to blast out Northern soul stompers or Japanese indie-pop swooners or old-school hip-hop jams. “I like the swing and the toughness of marching bands, the physicality of feeling a beater walloping a bass drum,” explains Ian, “but I wanted to reclaim them from patriotic or sporty associations. That was the kick-off for this record.” Yet his extensive sample library could only take him so far. In order to fully realise his vision he knew he had to reach out, to entice a group of unlikely new collaborators into The Go! Team fold.
So Ian made a pilgrimage to Detroit – city of Motown and The Stooges, of musical (and actual) revolution – where he hooked up with The Detroit Youth Choir. Their age was key; he didn’t want kids (too twee) but nor he did he want adults, with all their emotional baggage and wariness and tendency to over-sing. Equally he wanted to avoid the religious connotations of a church or gospel choir. “I’ve always had a thing for gang vocals and group singing, particularly the roughness of community choirs,” says Ian. “Normally they might be singing showtunes or whatever, but I like the idea of getting people to do something they wouldn’t normally do. I like making things happen that wouldn’t otherwise happen. It’s always a gamble, but in this case it paid off.”