Goan Dogs are “Passing Through”

Goan DogsBristol-based band Goan Dogs have made a name for themselves as a band whose innovative approach to music stands out against the normal humdrum of the local scene; exploiting technology and a fan base that's always gaining new faces. Unsurprisingly, all the activity keeps them busy.

"Dan's lost his life," they laugh, settling down to chat about plans for the year ahead in Stokes Croft venue The Canteen, and in reference to the merchandise onslaught they're currently undertaking. "Then [we're] still recording for the next few bits of material, [so we're] going into the studio again on Monday."

"We’ve been quite busy the last few years. We had to stop when the festival season finished last year. We needed to find time to actually write! Some of the songs we’ve been playing for years and years," admits Dan Lane, the band's drummer.

Despite their reservations, finding the right balance between entrepreneurship and creative spirit is something Goan Dogs have definitely mastered. The band formed in the late 00s and they've explored various different styles and themes since: when we last spoke they were "still wandering the deserts," now they're using almost jestful harmony to create the best indie pop this side of London.

"I think we have a kind of stamp on [our work] because we’ve been playing together for so long," says guitarist Theo Mackie of the band's ability to morph and grow without losing sight of whatever it is that makes them so unique. "We all have identified with our roles in the band, so Luke plays something on the guitar, I’ll start doing something above that, Dan will do his thing with drums, the bass, and keyboard... I think that's how we retain our sound."

"In a couple of years we'll become a gamelan band," jokes guitarist Sam Kynan Powell.

All of that experimentation, and yet they never seem to drop the ball to let an aspect of their repetoire slide. From photo opportunities to synchronised dancing and the aforementioned merch, it's all part of the Goan Dogs package. And of course, the music is pretty good, too.

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They're not bucking the trend with their latest track, "Passing Through". The video for the standalone single follows the 5-piece as they explore every day life in the South West, with laundry, Monopoly money, chocolate cake and sports equipment all used as props.

"Rather than coming up with a concept for a video and having a narrative, we just thought it would be interesting to take the lyrics line by line and come up with a small action or short bit of film that could be used to describe that thing," Theo explains. "So if it’s like, "I’m not going to be your wife," we just got three of our mates tolook really disappointed down the camera and shake their heads." There's also the Goan Dogs standard: dancing on roof tops, faux-boy band poses and stuffing their faces with Skittles.

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It helps, they say, that "Sam’s really good mate is an incredible filmmaker and he's got a drone with a great camera," which somehow in the case of "Passing Through" lead to shots of the band running around St Andrews park in mock sports gear in the height of winter.

The new track follows last year's three-strong "Devil Inside", "Drifting Apart" and "Flying Business Class", and continues to prioritise single releases over EPs and albums. The tactic has paid off for the band, who prioritise maintaining a strong live presence over recording time.

"We've spent a lot of time reworking tunes. Some of our older tunes, which may not have [otherwise] sounded like they fit, have had a little bit of a refresh," Theo explains of how the juxtapose between singles works on stage. "For example Sam’s not really playing the trumpet anymore. Not having that means there's a synth lead which naturally changes the way the songs sound."

"We also agonize over set lists," Dan chips in, "so there’s quite a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into just how [a gig] should go."

If all of this sounds like Goan Dogs are perfectionists, they happily admit they are to their "detriment. We find it really hard to relinquishing control creatively when it comes to a producer, [and] online we’re just like, that’s not quite right, let’s do it again. That's possibly another reason why things take time for us," they laugh, having only just stopped off at a laundromat to take a few choice photographs for their upcoming t-shirt campaign. It's all in a day's work for Goan Dogs.

Goan Dogs will play Hoxton's Square Bar and Kitchen on 30th March and Bristol's Thekla on 31st with Harvey Causon in support. Get your tickets here.

   
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