The Goa Express shared their anthemic new single “Everybody In The UK”, a melodic call-to-arms for togetherness in a world that increasingly looks to drive us apart. It’s a further statement piece from the Manchester five-piece, close friends since their teens, that they’re making music set to connect on a much wider level than most.
“Everybody In The UK” is the band’s first release since both “Be My Friend” and it’s Mark Gardener (Ride) mixed B-side “Second Time” made BBC 6 Music’s A-list. The song has become a live favourite for the band at numerous sold out headline shows, and as they took to the road on tours with The Magic Gang and Shame at the tail end of last year.
Vocalist James Clarke had the following to say about it: “A song written for us all, “Everybody In The UK” throws us all together into one big, shared experience, whether we like it or not. Without a real plan in mind, it soothes thoughts about growing up and jokes that it’s okay not to want to. With everyone welcome, those not onboard are to be left behind: the journey must go on…”
Teenagehood, brotherhood and a genuine love for alternative music has united The Goa Express from the off. Hailing from the industrial town of Burnley and adopted by the Manchester culture carriers, their teenage years can be viewed as something of a hedonistic pilgrimage into the underbelly of suburban rock and roll- their first gig having been 3 songs blasted out their mates garage, the next on top of a local vintage shop where the floor nearly caved in: “when there’s fuck all, you make do with what you got”. This sentiment is nothing new, but in an age where artists and bands are often exist as heavily constructed, pretentious facsimiles, it certainly feels new.
The intensity of this friendship has resulted in the occasional bust up along the way, yet it only adds to the burning chemistry that the band offer on record and on stage. Together, brothers James Douglas Clarke (Guitar + Vocals) and Joe Clarke (Keys), along with Joey Stein (Lead Guitar), Naham Muzaffar (Bass) and Sam Launder (Drums) all contribute to a fuzzy wall of diverse sound, becoming harder to pin down with their constantly evolving, psych-umbrella’d, rock and roll. What sets The Goa Express apart from other musicians who sit comfortably within scenes is that their identity as a band has been growing organically long before the 5 of them decided to pick up instruments and teach themselves art of killing time.
Their genuine joy in the everyday; their attitude and antics seem to hark back to the glory days of the NME- if they talk about a night out, you want to be there- because these lads ooze charm and wreak havoc. This purist, old school approach to creating music through unified experiences and stimulated good times is married with the plain fact that they are very much young people of this generation, and while they see its flaws- its hyperreality, its sheep-like tendencies, they still understand the importance in the immediacy of pop music: of a banging riff, or a glorious chorus and how effective this can truly be, and they want everyone along for the ride. In their own words, “it’s melodic but instant. It stops you in your tracks. You can hear it coming from a mile away, but it’s still extremely hard to get out of its way in time.”
With influences ranging from Spacemen 3 and The Brian Jonestown Massacre to French existentialism, from Beat Literature to long hours working at the Bookies to the journey into the sunrise on the night bus home, it is their ability to be all these things at once which makes The Goa Express a guitar band for the 21st Century. Nothing is ever a compromise because they are so unapologetically themselves in everything they do – proud Northerners with a DIY foundation that aren’t afraid to look into the often dim future and see themselves shining brightly in it, unforgiving and unpretentious.
So far, the band have released two singles with great success. The first: ‘Be My Friend’, produced by Ross Orton right next Sheffield’s famous ‘City Sauna’ brothel, presents itself to us as a cheeky, snarling pop song, holding undertones of raw cynicism laden with psychedelic sunshine. The song is a “a step away from those who’re always trying to get close to you. An avoidance of those that are always hanging round. A shout out to individuality and an acceptance of rejection.” It’s evocative and immediately intense but also an instant sing a long, with lots of layering of both analogue and digital synths for depth, bongo’s on the breakdown and a multitude of effects merging over them… “can’t go wrong.” The song is a perfect fit into their impeccably tight live shows, which often feed the raucous energy of the north-western gig-goers. Ross Orton’s studio was also right next door to where the band recorded their last single ‘The Day’ with Nathan Saoudi of Fat White Family at ‘Champ Zone.’ Both these producers have been able to give these instant pop classics a grittier feel, capturing the essence of the unfettered lifestyle the band were living at the time that they were able to capture themselves in the music video for ‘Be My Friend’. “It’s a collection of stupid nights out and just day to day stuff that had mostly been recorded on Joey’s phone. None of these videos were ever taken with the intention of them being used in a music video” which only adds to its humour, honesty and charm. It’s a snapshot into the band’s shining personalities and wonderful ability to not take life too seriously- the perfect antidote.
After signing with RaRaRoks, (WU-LU/Bingo Fury) the band released anthemic summer hit ‘Second Time’, that went straight to the 6music B-List before quickly heading up to the A-List 2 for 2 weeks. This was followed by the release of its B-Side ‘Overpass’ that almost immediately caught the eyes and ears of BBC Radio 1’s Jack Saunders, who had the band on his ‘Next Wave’ Segment. With a sold out comeback show at Manchester’s YES to a 1500 strong audience at Latitude-their first ever mainstream festival performance- its fair to say that this really is only the beginning.
Previous single ‘The Day’ has attracted the attention of BBC Introducing Leeds and Lancashire, as well as gaining multiple plays on Steve Lamacq’s BBC Radio 6 show, who gave the band their first radio session for BBC Introducing at Abbey Road studios.