EQ Interview Exclusive: The Go! Team
By Tony Ware
The February issue of EQ profiled The Go! Team's Rolling Blackouts.
Here, read interview outtakes with Ian Parton and Gareth Parton.
Ian Parton on musical influences and mixing style...
Lots of the influence for me is listening to commercial daytime radio
and realizing what you don’t want to sound like, listening to
Coldplay’s production and thinking how I want to get away from that
A couple of the songs we wanted to have almost like a marching band
parade feel, and to get that it was essential to have the idea of
width, as if they were around you, a glockenspiel player there,
someone else there. “Bust Out Brigade” lends itself to that. There’s
definitely more reverb on this record, as well.
On one track, "The Running Range," we actually recorded in a South
London church with an African gospel choir, and I turned up with my
computer and four microphones, setting up at different distances to
make a feature of the church. It evoked an Ennio Morricone vibe, not
the spaghetti western films but the more poppy ones.
I just had this real interest in different drum sounds from different
eras, putting ones from the '60s and '70s and '80s against other. Lots
of our music is sectioned, so I like the idea of different sounds from
chorus to verse, in the middle eight or whatever, just having that
idea that it's music to make people hop as much as it hops genres.
With this album I learned you can pan without being Top 40 about it. I
think the idea of space in songs is more interesting to me now. Also,
how bass drum sounds work with bass, I’m more aware of that. Even
after all the live drums, samples on top, I’d find myself adding
another bass drum to make the bass drum and bass guitar work together
more as a physical thing. So that made me aware of bottom end.
Gareth Parton, on working in the studio...
When we hit the studio, a lot of the tracks were unfinished—which
was a bit crazy really but there was a deadline looming. I was about
to move overseas [to Australia] so I was trying to get as much
finished as possible before I left. So we kind of treated it like we
were mixing stems, rather than the finished article ... a few of the
songs were still instrumental when I mixed them, but guest vocalists
were going to be added later, and some of them had scratch vocals ...
so I tried to leave holes in my mixes for them to be added.
Mixing this time differed a bit, 'cause I was wary of over-compressing
and eqing at this stage. I wanted to leave more scope at the mastering
stage. With the last two records, we’d slammed our final mixes to ½-inch
really hot ... the second album in particular I think sounds a wee bit
draining when you listen to the whole thing—individual songs sound
great, but as a whole piece I think it was a little harsh—this time
round the idea was to go for more colour variation.
There’s often tones of things playing at the same time, and
undoubtedly lots of frequency masking, but the rule is—does it
sound exciting? It’s not always about ‘the perfect’ technical balance
—it’s good if stuff pops in and out of focus, grabs your attention,
then ducks out again, something else says hello, and so on...There
needs to be a focus in the chaos, but it can jump around a bit. Drum
fills, scratches, cymbal crashes in particular should leap out.
My mixing is a bit non-linear. I’ll set up a rough mix pretty quickly
and gradually circle in on it, rather than always starting with kick,
snare, etc. I try not to eq tracks in solo too much and leap from
instrument to instrument as it takes my fancy, trying to do what
excites me when I’m on a roll. Some of my final mixes survived intact
but some were handed on to Sam Williams to add his finishing touches
to once final vocals had been finished.