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05 June, 2011 1:07 AM
Published by MDS
Acoustic and intimate music always works better, and more if it's folk, so why not taking that same sound to the studio? Well, that's what Goodwin Sands is all about! With such an unique name and an interesting mix of dutchs and english, the result can't be anything but a great band and they definitely have the sound I love! And without further introduction, here you have our interview!
Read the interview and watch some videos after the JUMP ...
*Why the name Goodwin Sands? What's it's meaning?
(Pete) Goodwin Sands are a ten mile stretch of sand banks along the Kent coast of England. These sand banks were responsible for the devastation of more than 2000 ships throughout history and also played a part in the first Anglo-Dutch escapade regarding sea trade. War was declared shortly thereafter, co-incidentally on my birthday. As an Englishman living in the Netherlands, the history between the two countries interested me and the name Goodwin Sands stuck in my head. I then of course had to force my band mates to let us use the name for our band.
*How would you define the band?
(Pete) We are four people who enjoy making music together whilst drawing on all of our musical influences. We all come from diverse musical backgrounds and it's therefore hard to pigeonhole our music to a specific genre.
*How did you form? Where did you meet?
(Pete) When I moved to Utrecht I started writing acoustic songs with a colleague, who knew Tim (our cellist). We then roped my housemate, Rolof, into playing drums and bass. After a few months, the first singer left and I asked Anna to come and sing for us. The rest is history.
(Anna)It really feels like one of those things that just had to happen this way. Some way or another I wound up at a new-years-party at Pete and Rolof's house. I came down to see their first or second show in a tiny squat in Amsterdam a few weeks later. They were singing harmonies and playing this unusual mix of instruments; I was immediately struck by the bands' chemistry. I remember getting excited and telling my friend that I'd really like to play in a band like that. Luckily the guys somehow picked up on that and a few weeks later I received a phone call asking if I'd join. I think I said yes before that question was fully asked.
*Who would you name as your biggest influence?/What is your dream collaboration?
(Pete) We are all influenced by differing artists and genres. Personally, I am heavily influenced by so many, but in the Netherlands there are a few really good bands coming through, including The Black Atlantic and I am Oak, who I think we can only aspire to follow.
(Anna) One of the bands that we all get excited about is Dry the River. Even though we don't all listen to the same kinds of music and we sometimes even make fun of each others tastes in music, we can enjoy music together and we do find each other in the end. Rolof can put on funk music and I might not like it, but I'll listen to it and try to figure out what he appreciates about it. Every song we play is going to be the music that we can all agree on and that we will enjoy playing. We all put in a little bit of our own style and it just seems to blend well most of the time.
*How would you describe your sound?
(Pete) Depends on how out of tune my guitar is.
(Anna) We got ourselves stuck with 'Acoustic Indie Folk' and I still think it's a fit, although we discuss the meaning of 'indie' these days. We might be neofolk or something? It has changed a lot along the way and it still is changing. If people like and enjoy it, we can just leave it at 'music' and we're happy.
*I see you're music is really focused on the instruments, how important are they?
(Pete) We are lucky to have a range of instruments at our disposal. Depending on the type of song we are writing, we can switch between these instruments. On tour this can cause lots of extra hassle lugging them all around of course, but it is nice to have so many options.
(Anna) I think the instruments are important and they're a trademark for the band, but I dare to state some of them could be taken away from us and we could still play a show using pots and pans or whatever's at hand. They're just the instrument, not the goal.
*So what instruments do you use?
(Pete) We currently use 2 acoustic guitars, a bass guitar, an electric guitar, a mandoline, a cello, a cajon, drums, and a glockenspiel. Plus our voiceboxes to sing.
(Anna) You almost forgot the most mysteriously crafted one in the bunch there!
*Your first EP, "Builders and Artists" was released in 2009, what else can you tell me about it?
(Pete) We went on tour in Ireland after only one show in the Netherlands. We did not have any songs recorded when we went there, so when we hit the studio on our return to Utrecht the songs were heavily influenced from our trip to the Emirald Isle. A friend of mine there had said the phrase "Builders and Artists" when describing the inhabitants of a beautiful village in Conamara. This phrase stuck in our minds and we found it a fitting name for the EP.
*The second EP, "Time Well Spent", came in 2010, how would you diferenciate it from the previous one?
(Pete) Time well spent was a live recording, recorded in an old horse stall in Antwerpen, Belgium. We had heard from people that live atmosphere from our shows was missing on our first EP so we decided to do a live recording. Although the songs are not perfectly played, the atmosphere was a better reflection of our band. The artwork for this EP was designed by the same Irish artist as the first EP, Laura Fitzgerald.
*Tell me more about the song "Mammalian Skin" ...
(Anna) Wow, that one's actually pretty personal. I remember Jim of Head of Programmes (English band) telling me about what he thought it meant and that was such a big compliment for me. The song's about how we're able to come across as a different person than we actually are and we get hung up on maintaining that image we've created. Although it's comfortable hiding behind the image, at the same time it's aching badly that we're not able to stand up for ourselves and be proud of who we really are.
*And about "Not Lost, Just Out Of Sight"?
(Anna) It's about the influence other people have on what we do and what we dare to do in particular. It's about the boundaries that seem to fade the moment there's no-one around to pass judgement. It's about no longer letting fear hold you back in what you want and what you're capable of.
*When writing, do you focus more on the lyrics or in the melody?
(Anna) I think both. When we write a song I sometimes use lyrics I wrote earlier and sometimes just let words that come up pair up with the music and make it into a logical story later. It's a different proces every time and I guess that's what makes it an unsure but super fun job to be in charge of the lyrics.
*Do you consider that metaphorical songs are more important than others?
(Anna) I don't think so. I think the songs that come up most natural and round off the easiest are the ones most urgent to be written, so I think these songs are the most important ones.
*Name me one methaphorical song you've written ...
(Anna) The metaphore that speaks to me the most is the one in "Beast". It's about a big heavy bad guy hanging around in your neck and slowing you down for the day. It feels bad to slow down at first (in this song it's slowing down by indulging in the guilty pleasure of watching shitty TV), but this beast grows on you and in the end you're actually happy that you allowed yourself to take it easy for once.
*You toured in a campervan, how is that experience?
(Pete) Fun! We have so much room in the campervan, up to 11 people can fit in it. We played a show in Antwerpen last November and we took lots of friends with us. It has alot of benefits and has become a trademark for our band in the last few months, making some lasting impressions on people at our shows.
*Is there a full album in the making? How can we expect it to be?
(Pete) We are busy writing new songs and improving as a band. We have only been writing songs together for 18 months so we are still on a learning curve. We are planning on recording some new songs in England, whilst on tour, but in video format. This is a nice way to document our new songs and easy to spread our name via the internet.
(Anna) I think we will definitely have an album out some day, but we try to not rush into it and just let things happen as they do. I trust we will find ourselves at a point where we have this nice set of songs and it just feels right to record it as a whole.
*What release date are you aiming? Any labels have contacted you?
(Pete) I hope that we will be able to record a new CD in the first few months of 2012, but we have yet to make any plans for hitting the studio just yet. We have yet to approach or be approached by any labels.
*What can we expect from you in the coming months? What are your plans from now on?
(Pete) We are heading to Belgium and England in June for 11 days, including a couple of small festival appearances. Thereafter we have a few shows in the Netherlands and from the Autumn we have been invited to partake in the Popronde, a national tour for a group of chosen Dutch bands in all major towns and cities. We will also be playing in Ireland again in September, including our second visit to the Clifden Arts Week. Dotted in between all of this we will be heading to Germany for a couple of weekends as well. So basically, we are pretty busy until the end of the year.
(Anna) Also we have a new practice room that we're pretty happy about. We will be spending a lot of time together as a band, working on new songs and just generally having fun putting our music out there via live shows and internet.