The Go! Team’s Ian Parton: ‘This band has become my brain on record’
- Credit: Archant
As the cult pop group brings their new album, The Scene Between, to the Village Underground, its chief songwriter tells Alex Bellotti why he’s penned his most personal record to date.
Following The Go! Team’s last record, 2011’s Rolling Blackouts, many of its members became occupied by marriage, babies and other commitments that took them away from the group. The onus therefore fell back on the band’s leader and songwriter, Ian Parton, to re-imagine their future and last month, his response in the form of new album The Scene Between was released to much acclaim.
The record begins with the sound of a fizzy drinks can being opened and it’s a fitting tribute to the ride that follows: a soaring, ambitious blend of melodies and subtle samples, delivered with a Californian warmth which Parton describes as a “Mamas and Papas left out in the sun” vibe.
Compared to The Go! Team’s breakthrough album, 2004’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike, the emphasis has notably shifted away from high-octane hip hop thrills towards a more structured form of pop song writing.
“One thing I knew I wasn’t going to do again was to get some brass samples and put some Double Dutch over the top of it,” Parton says. “Nobody wants to hear that again, particular me – even though I still love it.
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“I figured that people thought they had The Go! Team worked out basically; they thought this plus this equals that, so I wanted to get far from that. Songs like What D’You Say? and Reason Left To Destroy really leapt from ‘songwriter me’, with nice curvy melodies and hopefully catchiness in a less obvious way.”
Alongside a clutch of The Go! Team’s original members, like lead vocalist Ninja, the group are back on the road with a number of relatively unknown female singers hired especially to sing on the new record.
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On June 17, they’ll be coming to The Village Underground and Parton, a Brighton resident, is pleased that their new material will shift the emphasis back on the music itself.
“I was aware that with the other albums it turned into a bit of a namedropping campaign. Thinking, ‘Hey Bethany Cosentino’s (of Best Coast) on this album, Chuck D’s (of Public Enemy) on this one – it kind of overshadows the song a bit,” he explains, adding that one benefit of the band’s reshuffle was that he felt freer to write songs without wondering if the other members would like them.
The Scene Between, Parton believes, is his most personal record to date, but after debating whether to release it under a different name, he eventually decided to continue under his band’s usual moniker.
“I veered back and forth, but The Go! Team is kind of my brain on record; it’s quite a personal thing. No matter what I do, there’s still something Go! Team which flows through it, no matter what song it is.”
The Go! Team play Village Underground on June 17. Visit villageunderground.co.uk