There’s a lot of interest in post-punk outfit Goat Girl right now, prompting MALCOLM WYATT to talk to the drummer, Rosy Bones, ahead of their latest North West visit
Rosy Bones had reached the pub when I found her on Tuesday evening, visiting friends in New Cross after a day of admin’ with fellow Goat Girl bandmates Clottie Cream, Naima Jelly and L.E.D.
I’m not sure if those names will appear on the 2021 census, but it’s all I have, and there’s certainly lots of nterest in this all-female guitar band.
Rosy, the drummer, grew up in South-West London, her bandmates gravitating from East London, a four-piece now in their early 20s getting to know each other via a happening South London scene.
“We all went to the same gigs and like the same things. That’s how I met them, watching bands like Warmduscher, Meatraffle, Trashmouth Records’ nights. There’s always a gig to go to.”
That takes me back to listening to John Peel, those not in the know struggling with names of bands we craved. Have I become that old bloke not knowing them all now?
The Windmill in Brixton is key to that scene, and soon Goat Girl were practising and gigging. And next month they visit Manchester on autumn’s UK tour, high on fumes of interest from a self-titled debut LP. And not long ago, they were in nearby Salford for Sounds from the Other City.
“That was crazy. We had quite a fun day, although I’d twisted my ankle a couple of months before and fell and retwisted it.
“It was kind of mad. We were on late, everyone seemed really drunk. It was a good crowd. Yeah, I really liked that festival.”
Talking of festivals, how was Portmeirion for No.6.?
“That was all right, but a bit horrible with the weather, rainy and muddy.
“All good, but we did a few gigs before, and were a bit tired.”
What other appearances stand out this year?
“Green Man was probably the highlight. We didn’t play that well, but loads of people were there, including friends.
“Another big moment was in Zurich, Kendrick Lamar also playing. Amazing. There was a storm as soon as he finished. The clouds opened, massive thunder and lightning. We ran out into the heaviest rain ever, had a little rain-dance.”
I reminded myself this week of them on BBC 2’s Later with Jools Holland, the bill including Niles Rodgers’ Chic, ex-Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes, and Chas and Dave, one of their final appearances.
“I was very excited to see Chic, and Chas & Dave … RIP Chas! Actually, I’m worried we’re cursed, having also appeared on the same bill as Mark E Smith in one of his last shows.”
They played the 100 Club and The Garage with The Fall, chosen by Smith for what turned out to be their final London gigs. And it’s been a manic year for the girls, with lots going on, and plenty of acclaim. Is there concern that the music press traditionally build bands up only to knock them down?
“It’s nice that people are listening. It’ll always be about the music we want to make, whether people like it or not. We’re all pretty level-headed.”
Was there a manifesto at the start?
“We’ve never really had any sort of plan. If it works … We try not to over-think it.”
Early single, Country Sleaze, seemed to light the way. Was there a good feeling back then?
“I guess so. I think we’ve only recently realised we are kind of good! We never really thought of ourselves as that. We just thought, ‘Let’s enjoy it, y’know.’
“If we hadn’t had the label (Rough Trade) around us, we’d still be making music, although I don’t know if we’d have released anything.”
That raw feel is one of their strengths, and it shows on the recorded product so far. When I hear Goat Girl, I hear PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, even Blur’s Graham Coxon’s solo work. Many more acts are touted as influences. But who inspired Rosy and co.?
“I think we were all influenced by different music listened to growing up, including female pop stars like Rihanna and Gwen Stefani.”
More poppy than I expected. But in the week Wolf Alice secured the Mercury Prize, there seems to be a resurgence of interest in critical circles for female-fronted guitar bands, too.
“Maybe, but I find that kind of thing rigged. Good music should be appreciated (regardless of awards).”
Rosy started playing drums at 12, after early piano and guitar lessons. She’s learning piano again, though, and is seen tinkering on a web version of ‘Viper Fish’ on BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley show.
“That was a lot of fun!”
Back to the LP, and it’s a value for money 19 tracks in 40 minutes.
Do you think you truly captured the live Goat Girl experience?
“Definitely. We wanted it to have that live feel … and there’s a few mistakes in there!”
You also get a sense of the love of it all in the A Hard Day’s Night-like promo video for ‘The Man’. But what happens next? A second album?
“I think we’re going to go on a hiatus, focus on writing some new bangers! I want to do charity work, get back to some sort of reality, and be able to write songs. We’ve used them all up now!”
Goat Girl play Manchester’s Gorilla on Tuesday, October 23. For ticket and tour details, try https://www.facebook.com/goatgirlofficial/app/308540029359/ You can also keep in touch via the http://goatgirl.co.uk/ website, https://www.facebook.com/goatgirlofficial/ and https://www.instagram.com/goatgirlofficial/?hl=en