Tuesday, 16 July 2013
We're Only Here For The Banter - Colin's Godson
Colin's Godson played an absolutely cracking gig for Scottish Fiction and our gig buddies Aye Tunes and Peenko back in May. It lead me to realise that quite criminally we haven't ever featured the band on the blog in any shape or form. So let's right that wrong, and let you read a charming chat with lead Godson Joe.
Hello, how are you?
I’m fine thanks for asking.
It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?
In short, we’re a five piece pop group and we make simple melodic offbeat guitar based pop. I suppose like most bands I don’t really think it there necessarily needs to be a simple category we fit into. Because we write songs about things people don’t usually write songs about and that we don’t take ourselves too seriously we’re often compared to the likes of Half Man Half Biscuit and the Sultans of Ping FC. Our first album was even favourably compared to the Toy Dolls. While I like all of those bands I definitely don’t like the 'comedy' tag that often comes with those comparisons.
My first counter point to that argument is always simply The Smiths, a great band who deservedly revered as such but if you listen to Morrissey’s lyrics they are all hilarious and tongue in cheek, by those standards he’s probably the best comic song writer of all time. Yet somehow they managed to escape being lumped in that category. Basically I just want people to judge us on our own merits (or lack thereof) rather than writing us off as a particular type of band.
Musically we have lots of influences ranging from '60’s pop through to glam rock through to punk and post punk, C86 and Britpop. We’re all children of the Britpop era though which has left it’s indelible mark on us. It’s easy to forget how big it all was at the time. It was an era when original music made by "proper" bands came into the mainstream and probably the last big movement before the music industry ate itself. I’m sure anyone of my age in a band was inspired by seeing the likes of Echobelly, Pulp and Symposium on TOTP on an equal stage with all the boy band and manufactured trash of the day.
Anyways, that was the period where I learned to embrace music and I have a particular fondness for it, so I suppose from an aesthetic point of view we’re partially trying to recreate our childhoods by emulating those mid-late '90’s major label values on a shoestring budget. Musically however our influences are a lot more varied. We owe as much to The Beatles, The Kinks and Queen as we do to any of the bands from that era. To cut a long story short, we just want to make unpretentious melodic pop music.
What's your song-writing / creative process like?
Our song-writing process is pretty boring, either a song will appear in my head pretty much fully formed and I’ll demo it on a multi track recorder at home or I’ll just go in to my home studio and write a song and demo a song in the space of an hour or two. My demos aren’t great (my keyboard playing is particularly awful) but you get the jist of the song. Our creative process goes up a notch when we reach the studio and everyone else in the band adds their own bits to the song, we experiment with a few different things until we get the right backing vocals or keyboard part. The finished result is more than the sum of it’s parts and a million times better than my home demos. So from that point of view song writing in the band is a real collaborative process. I’d never dream of taking a sole writer credit for anything and you’d probably agree if you heard the difference between some of my demos and the final versions of the songs.
What could we expect to see from a live show?
Live we are just finding our feet as this incarnation of the band has mainly been a studio thing but we’ve done a few gigs in the last few months which have gone down well. We wear our custom football tops and jump around a bit but everyone in the band is a veteran of the live scene so we can keep it together musically. I suppose what to expect would be to hear some good tunes and to have fun. We’re definitely not morose or shoegazy in any way.
If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?
I think if it all ended tomorrow I’d be proudest of the fact that we did it in the first place. We didn’t hang about waiting to have anything handed to us on a plate and went out and did what we wanted to do without compromise. I think it’s a really good thing to not hang about waiting to be discovered or for any external validation. I know bands who have been about basically playing the same set of songs for 7 years waiting to get signed or for their big break that never comes.
We avoid getting stale by recording a new album every 6 months regardless if anyone actually listened to the last one and that process has helped us evolve as a band and stay fresh. We aren’t the same band as we were when we started and I don’t think many bands these days can boast that sort of evolution unless they are doing things completely for themselves. We stayed true to our DIY roots. That said I’d also quite happily accept a million pounds to record our next album.
For each gig you usually put together a Colin's Godson comic. Is doing that little bit extra important for bands?
We don’t do a comic for every gig as that would be a bit labour intensive but yes I think in this day and age it’s very important for bands to make the effort into having a visual identity and the comic book stuff that the brilliant Adam Smith does for us really fit’s into that. Each Colin's Godson release is very carefully thought out and packaged, the artwork is as integral to the release as the music itself. That’s also why we limit the availability of our music digitally. People can’t see the full picture (literally) through purely downloading our music. It’s also too easy for bands to record and upload music to iTunes etc these days. The quality control has gone out of the window. At least by going the extra mile with your artwork and packaging you can demonstrate to people that you’ve actually gone to some effort for them.
It’s the same with the uniform at gigs, it’s just a courtesy to the people that have gone out of their way to see you or buy your music in a tidal wave of increasing apathy.
What have you got planned for 2013?
For the rest of 2013 we’ll probably play a few more gigs (open to offers) and finish writing/raising money to record our next album: Colin’s Godson 3D.
What other artists (Scottish or not) would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?
There’s lots of good bands around Scotland at the moment for the sake of modesty and the wrath of accidentally missing someone out, I won’t mention any acts that we have a vested interest in (quite a few great bands I might add).
Bands I’ve seen recently would recommend include Eddy and The T-Bolts who have a great stage energy and some awesome rocking tunes, Spook School who we’ve played a few gigs with and they do a mix of C86 type stuff. They quite remind me of pre-baggy bandwagon Soup Dragons when they were doing Hang-Ten! and all that stuff but before they went all Kingdom Chairs. Other bands of note include The Girobabies, Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5, Orphans and many more I’ve forgotten.
Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?
Cheers! I'm not a big one for jokes but one of my favourites is:
How many bassists does it take to change a light bulb?
None the keyboard player does it with his left hand.
Check out more from Colin's Godson