Newly signed to Rough Trade Management (Shame, black midi et al), Northern boys The Goa Express wrap immensely charming garage-rock tunes in swathes of fast-friendship and adventure. It all has that coming-of-age, every-day's-the-weekend, not up til 2pm then off to drink some beer in the park vibe, while picking up insightful themes about modern living. Their latest tune, 'Be My Friend' is "a shout out to individuality and an acceptance of rejection," they explain. Give it a listen below, and find out more about the group from James Douglas Clarke (guitar / vocals) and Naham Muzaffar (bass).
Hi guys, how's it going? How've you been spending your lockdown days?
James: Out in the sun when the weather has permitted, finding waterfalls, lakes and reservoirs to go swimming, in and around the Calder valley. On more occasions than usual, the lockdown has allowed for some real nice lie-ins and a much-needed, functioning sleeping pattern.
Naham: I’ve been spending my lockdown mostly doing fuck all, other than that a bit of reading and been attempting to make some illustrations & art.
What first inspired you to make music of your own?
James: Since being an early teenager, playing and singing other people’s songs never did enough. Taking the time out of your day/night or evening, to write for yourself, largely for you and you only, then and still seems like the logical outlet for expression.
Naham: Maybe the sheer boredom of lockdown. I guess it’s more DIY and peculiar as it’s come straight from us. Our drummer Sam watched some good old ‘how-to’ YouTube clips and the rest is history.
Did you find it came easily to you, or has it been a steep learning curve?
James: It came easily enough, but persistence has been the key.
How do you approach songwriting, is there a specific vibe you like to aim for? Any themes or topics you find yourselves revisiting?
James: There’s never an attempt to find or provide ‘vibes’ when writing. A song usually begins on an acoustic guitar and then the lyrics and intricacies are added in later before it gets to the studio. The less thought and premeditation the better; the more time spent reworking and fiddling around, the worse.
What was your first break as a band?
James: We haven’t had one yet! Every one little thing is as important as the last big one.
At what point will you feel as though you've 'made it'? What's on the bucket list?
James: Never. I don’t think we will ever be satisfied. The grass is always greener and all that... Playing somewhere warm though would be nice, I guess.
What do you lot do for fun?
Naham: Everything and anything.
James: If you can think it, we’ve probably done it.
Are you a ramshackle band, or very responsible lads who'd never turn up late for a gig?
Naham: Will pass on that, just in case we ever turn up late for a gig.
James: A bit of both, depending on the circumstance and our mode of transport. None of us drive, so it depends on how quick we can run.
What current bands do you find exciting or interesting at the mo?
James: I’ve been listening to Aldous Harding’s new stuff and lots of lots of Folamour. I also enjoyed that new Rose City Band album, Ripley out of Moon Duo’s new project.
Naham: There’s always been some interesting stuff coming up from Manchester and Northern areas. It’s good the see artists from the north get the recognition they deserve
What are you working on, is there more new music on the way?
Naham: We’ve all been working on some material during the lockdown, so we’re all incorporating that into the set during practices etc. There’s never a shortage of material and we’re constantly exploring, so you’ve always got something to look forward to!
The Goa Express's single 'Be My Friend' is out now.