2016 was a huge year for Brisbane-trio, The Goon Sax. Their debut album, Up To Anything, was one of our favourite albums of 2016, while their single Sometimes Accidentally was just one of our favourite songs of all time. Luckily for them, we weren’t the only ones who noticed their talent, Up To Anything gaining near universal critical acclaim for its unflinchingly honest portraits of teenage living. Nodding to the likes of The Pastels, Orange Juice and Galaxie 500, it was an album resplendent with heart-ache, social-awkwardness and unforgettable melodic hooks
The Goon Sax are back over in the UK for a set at The Great Escape, as well as a handful of dates across the country. Ahead of those dates we were delighted that Louis from the band took some time out to answer our questions, taking in future plans, his appreciation of Outkast, and how success can turn your life on its head.
FTR: For those who don’t know, who/what are The Goon Sax?
Louis: A band from Brisbane
FTR: It’s been about a year since you released your debut album, what’s changed since then?
Louis: I’ve finished school. We’ve recorded another album very recently which has been great, we were writing for that since we recorded the last one. Riley moved to Melbourne for a while and now we’re planning on kind of indefinitely going overseas.
FTR: The album obviously got excellent reviews, were you expecting that?
Louis: I don’t know, I think the way the album was recorded without us even knowing if it would really come out meant that it definitely wasn’t something we thought about while we were making it. Closer to the album coming out I lost quite a lot of perspective I didn’t know if I thought it was good or bad sometimes so it seemed impossible to imagine what critics might think.
FTR: Is there anything about the album you’d change if you got the chance to do it again?
Louis: It would be great to record the acoustic guitar differently, that is something I would probably change. We wanted that album to capture our sound at that time but we put the acoustic through an amp which we wouldn’t normally do and it ended up sounding quite electric
FTR: You’re coming back to the UK for some live dates, how has the reaction been here previously?
Louis: It was great! It really surprised us last time I think
FTR: How are you adapting to life on the road, is it something you enjoy? Has anything surprised you about it?
Louis: We haven’t really spent more than two weeks at a time on tour at the moment and I think that’s probably hard to compare to touring even for three or four months, but I definitely have enjoyed the time we’ve spent on the road. It gives every day a simple sense of purpose which you always achieve and I like that a lot.
FTR: There seem to be loads of great bands coming out of Australia right now, what’s the scene like over there? Do you feel part of a scene?
Louis: Yeah I agree, there are a lot of bands that I really like from Australia at the moment too. I am not sure if I feel like a part of a scene. Definitely amongst our closest circle of friends a lot of people are in bands but music almost feels like an insignificant part of those relationships.
FTR: Any Australian bands we should be listening to?
Louis: Yeah, you should listen to Pious Faults and also the new Stevens single. I have been listening to Habits and Total Control recently too who are worth listening to if you haven’t already.
FTR: So nearly every review mentions Louis’ dad’s band – do you think it’s helped or hindered being related to someone so hugely respected?
Louis: I am not sure, I would really hope it did neither but I guess it depends on how you view it. To me it does feel slightly hindering when I know that there will be some people who hear our music and have a different way of hearing it because to them it’s connected to something else.
FTR: Who are your major influences? What were you listening when you wrote Up To Anything?
Louis: I think our major influences have probably changed a little bit over that time, there are definitely some things which I listened to so much around the time of making that album that I have had to take a bit of a break from them. Galaxie 500, Twerps and the lovin spoonful were definitely among the ones that really influenced us at that time who I have recently come back to after a bit of a break. We definitely listened to a lot of stuff around that time though which maybe you can’t hear as much like Outkast and John Cale, I remember getting quite into them around that time.
FTR: What about influences outside of music?
Louis: It’s hard to properly tell.
FTR: Are you full time musicians now? Can you make a living out of music?
Louis: No we definitely can’t make a living. None of us have jobs at the moment because we are about to tour but after that we’re planning on staying in Europe so we will really need to work then.
FTR: One word kept coming up in your reviews, adolescent, what do you make of the label? Did you set out to capture a particular time in your lives?
Louis: Yeah we did set out to capture a particular time, I don’t think we would have considered the word adolescent though, we didn’t think about it very deeply in that sort of way. I don’t think it’s a bad label though, it definitely doesn’t bother me, looking back on it now I can see why people said it because it was definitely accurate.
FTR: What’s next for The Goon Sax? Are you working on new material?
Louis: We have just finished recording a new album, so we are in the mixing stages with that now. Working on that release is definitely something we will be doing over the next couple of months. More immediately we are leaving to do a tour of Europe on Monday like I mentioned earlier.
Up To Anything is out now via Chapter Music. Click HERE for more information and live dates from The Goon Sax.