Interview: 5 Minutes with GOOSE
Image by : Charlie de Keersmaecker
The feeling one gets from exploring the work of Belgian four-piece GOOSE, is one of electric excitement. Since releasing their debut effort Bring it On, GOOSE has created a distinctly stylish body of work, with much of their material feeling fully realised beyond the sonic. This is demonstrated by their many cross-medium collaborations, such as their early work with legendary graphic designer Storm Thorgerson or with fashion photographers Willy Vanderperre and Pierre Debusschere to create a series of short films. There is an understanding of music’s relationship to other creative mediums in a way which expands the experience of GOOSE’s sound and vision.
It is telling that boundary pushing fashion designer Raf Simons once referred to the fourtet as “new energy”, as so much of what GOOSE creates comes from a desire to play with energy like building blocks. Having recently established their own Safari Studios in their hometown of Kortrijk, GOOSE has given themselves a space to play like never before resulting in the rapid creation of work for them like never before. Their most recent release, the mini-album Something New, sees GOOSE team up with visual artist Bart Stolle to create visual renderings of the music. Inspired by their creative exploits, we caught up with the band to find out more about their process and what inspires them:
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
The idea that you can make something out of nothing attracts us. There is something magical about it. When creating or dreaming you feel a childlike enthusiasm like when you were playing with your toys, building imaginary worlds. I remember the first time I could play 3 chords in a row I felt that same spark. Call it butterflies perhaps. Since then I’ve used music as a form of escapism. With GOOSE we love to reach out to other mediums. Like for the release of our Mini Album we intensively collaborated with visual artist Bart Stole who made a visual interpretation of our music.
Tell us about the name GOOSE – how did you decide on it?
We wanted to enter a rock competition but had no band name. So, the night before the deadline, we got on the phone and started throwing ideas. As kids we used to love the movie Top Gun. Maverick was our preferred name, but as it was already taken by Madonna’s label, we went for GOOSE.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
It depends. Can be both. And sometimes the idea is a sound or the other way around 🙂
We also are very much inspired by the instruments. For instance our track Synrise is born out of a jam Dave playing to test out our new Genelec speakers. Or the most recent song Viper is a Buchla going crazy. That’s the great thing about analogue synths: they surprise you and their imperfection is why we love them so much.
You’ve just released your latest EP – ‘Something New’. Which track should fans pay extra attention to and why?
We are really happy with the way ‘Losing You’ turned out. From the start we felt it had potential, but it took us a while to figure out how we needed to approach it. When we picked our instruments and started to play it live, we felt the power of the groove. We then got back behind the desk and finished the track in 2 day’s time,
Does your material feature any collaborations?
We had the chance to work with very talented people over the years. Mostly visual artists in fact. Storm Thorgerson for the Synrise cover art, a short film and artwork by Willy Vanderperre for our What You Need Album or Pierre Debusschere’s videos and artwork for Control Control Control album.
What’s on your current playlist?
As I’m answering this questionnaire I’m listening to Nick Cave’s Ghosteen album. As you can tell our taste is very eclectic. There is not one style that blasts through our speakers. We are four individuals with each a taste in music, lives, experiences, emotions, … GOOSE is GOOSE because we are so different in a way, but together we are one.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
A concert is about creating as much energy in the room as possible. Our attitude has always been that a show is never about us. It’s about giving a good time, creating a good vibe and giving everything we got. We give and receive energy at the same time.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
It’s really the combination of us four that makes the sound unique. We never intended to go for a certain sound also. We are driven by our emotions and what feels right. Therefore each album is different. Like in life, you’re evolving as artists and you want to surprise yourself.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Between 9 and 10 AM everybody arrives in the studio. First, one turns on the computer and makes coffee. Then it depends on what needs to be done. Sometimes we start the day talking about running projects and other days we start straight away either finishing a track or creating something new. From 11.30 AM onwards we start discussing lunch plans. In the afternoon, we’ll have people visiting and continuing making music. Around 16.30h we start going home. Sometimes, depending on the projects and deadlines we’ll come back to the studio after 20h and finish off with a couple of drinks.
Along with 5 original tracks, you’ve included some amazing remixes on the EP. Which remix is your favourite reinterpretation and why?
The Whitesquare remix of ‘Losing You’. His approach was very musical, it kind of works as an original track too. It’s more like a new interpretation with different arrangements and drum patterns we don’t usually use. One of the best remixes we ever got for a track.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
Watching Elvis Presley movies at the age of 6 or so.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
A Vodka and Coca Cola drink
Any emerging artists on your radar?
The Whispering Sons are cool.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Boring stuff like eating healthy and having a good night of sleep.:)
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
Solina String Ensemble, Teisco SX400, Arp 2600, Trident desk, linn drum, sequential circuits drumtraks, Boss VT1, Alfa Juno, Buchla, Lyra, … we gathered a lot of gear over the years so we are very fortunate to be surrounded by actual instruments. As we started out as a rock’n roll band we’ve always been used to recording our instruments live. That’s why today we still use Pro Tools as our mail recording software.
Any side projects you’re working on?
We all have our side projects. Dave is composing music for tv shows and is recently working on the soundtrack for War Of The Worlds 2. Bert aka B1980 releases EBM/techno music under his alter ego. Tom produces, mixes for other bands and I’m working on a solo album. All projects are produced under the same roof: Safari Studios. So although we work on different projects, we are always in each other’s proximity.
Tell us about your creative process – how do you ensure everyone has a chance to have their voices heard?
We’ve known each other for a very long time and we all have our own ways of communicating. In order to move forward we all have to be on board otherwise there’s no evolution or release going to happen. So yes, we all have our say. It’s not always easy, but that’s ok. What we do is too important to us to go: “Well, it’s ok, I don’t mind”.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
We are always evolving, that’s the beauty of it. We have a slow career, like slow cooking 😉
You can catch GOOSE live at Colours, in Hoxton, London. Tickets are available here. Also check out their latest music video for “Losing You” below: