Goat Girl – Interview 2018

Very much part of an organically burgeoning guitar scene that includes the likes of The Big Moon, IDLES, Dream Wife, Shame, and many many others, London’s Goat Girl have already released a brilliantly incisive, raw, and energetic album – 19 songs in 40 minutes – that was not afraid to tackle social-political and ugly urban realities issues head on, with songs such as ‘Scum’, ‘The Man’, ‘Burn the Stake’, and ‘Cracker Drool’. Clottie Cream, Rosy Bones, Naima Jelly and L.E.D until recently made up the four-piece, although Naima has recently announced her (amicable) departure, and new bassist, Holly, filling in, including a date in Brighton which was re-scheduled from earlier this year following a nasty accident involving Rosie.

Brightonsfinest caught up L.E.D to find out what the crack is…

What’s happening today?
No band stuff today. Just going to meet my Mum and my little sister. Later on we’re going to a gig, me, Lottie and Naima. Rosie is away at the moment. Gonna see Treehouse. It’s being put on by this little label, Memorials of Distinction. I think they’re based in Brighton, aren’t they? I was recommended it. Should be good.

I hear there’s a new band member?
Naima the bassist is leaving the band. It’s a transient period. We don’t know what’s going on right now. We can’t commit anyone joining the band until we’ve gone on tour with them and see if they fit. It’s a big decision. But, yes, we do have someone who will do the next few dates with us, and the re-scheduled band dates. The first gig with Holly will be in Brighton.

She hasn’t got a stage name yet.
Not yet. We need to think of one!

You’re obviously still all friends
It wasn’t anything personal. It’s more of a life style choice. I think the touring has got her down, which is understandable. There’s other things she wants to do with her life.

Following the cancellation of your Brighton date back in April we were all wondering if you were going to make it to the The Great Escape!
Rosie was still in a lot of pain so we did a slightly shorter set. Her burns were quite severe, so we had to take it easy. But, I think it was getting to that point on tour when something like that was bound to happen. We were all so knackered. It was one thing after the other.

How was that show?
I really like The Great Escape. I like Brighton as well, although I’m not sure I could live there. I also saw one of the girls out of The Big Moon doing here solo thing (Soph Nathan). That was quite good. But, didn’t get to see much. You’re sound checking, having dinner, fish and chips…

How did Rosie manage to burn herself so severely?
We were on a ferry. There were loads of pissed football fans, and it was 6am. Our sound guy was holding a try of hot teas, without milk in, and one of them bashed into him. And he was stood over Rosie with the hot teas. She’s still quite scarred, physically, but she’s on the mend.

You recently played Green Man festival. How was that?
I love that festival. It’s got to be my favourite. I was only there for one night, me and Naima. The rest of the band went for the weekend. One night at a festival is just enough for me. I don’t know how people can do the whole three day blow out thing. I saw Del Osimi Afrobeat Orchestra, my favourite thing that I saw. We were in The Walled Garden, and the crowd was massive for that, which was quite surprising. Apparently, it was at full capacity, so it was one in, one out.

Since then we’ve done a show at The Windmill, which was basically a bit of a party, because it was Naima’s last show with us.

That must have been emotional.
Yeah, it was. Everyone was crying. Apart from me, because I don’t think it has really hit me yet.

I read you signed a deal with Rough Trade the same day we left Europe, 24 June 2016. How did that feel?
It was quite bittersweet. The referendum was a weird one. I could understand both sides. It is quite an abstract concept in a lot of ways. Like being part of Europe. What does that mean? As regular people we don’t know what that means. It’s all these concepts which we don’t fully understand. And maybe we’re made not to understand them. I understand why a lot of people wanted to leave Europe. There’s a lot of things with this country that aren’t as good as they should be. Even though the idea is that we would be better off financially, in Europe, I can see why people wanted out. At the end of the day it was a democratic decision. These people saying we need to have a second vote, that’s like liberals trying to say they don’t want democracy, in a way, even though I think we should be a part of Europe.

How does a Goat Girl song come about?
It’s mainly Lottie who comes in with a song, the guitar part and lyrics and then we all do our thing over the top, and it morphs in to Goat Girl.

People have talked about punk, post-punk and new wave bands from the past informing your sound.
There was a lots of Pixies, Nirvana, and The Fall in my life, but also more chilled out stuff like Devandra Banhart and Woodbine which is where we get our harmonies from. My Mum would always play funk and soul, and world music, afrobeat and stuff. My Dad was more indie, folk, and hip hop. I think when I was about 11 the punk aesthetic and attitude appealed to me. Me, Naima and Lottie would always go to gigs together.

How did you all meet and get your first jam together?
I think it was after a party and me, Naima and Lottie stayed over together somewhere, and then we ended up playing each other songs, and playing over each other the next day.

Your sound is very organic.
We were doing it for the fun of it, and never saw it as a job. There’s nothing wrong with that but there are bands whose goal is to get signed and put a record out. We were never that ambitious with it at the beginning. At the point we got signed everyone was like, ‘This is fucking crazy!’ ‘Is it?’ ‘I guess so’. Because we were so young…

Do you think there is a London scene?
There’s the Windmill which has a lot of good stuff coming out of, where bands put each other on. But what goes on in the venues I’m talking about is diverse.

What about the explosion of female musicians. Is it relevant to feel a part of that?
Definitely, although I have split feelings. Although I feel it’s a brilliant thing for women, I’m also quite cynical, thinking that feminism is becoming this thing that is quite sell-able. I’m glad that more women are in the spotlight, but I don’t think it should be seen as this thing, ‘wooah, isn’t so crazy and wonderful that women are getting the attention they deserve’. It’s what should have always happened. There’s always been really good female artists, they just haven’t always had the attention before this point. Our lyrics do talk about female sex and being spied on by creepy men, so I get why people ask us about these things. But if there is an all-female band that addresses anything like that, then why are you asking them about feminism. But, it’s not only women that are repressed. The patriarchy oppresses men just as much. That’s something that needs to be talked about more. Men opening up and talking about how they feel. Male suicide rates are higher, that needs to be addressed.

Jeff Hemmings

Website: goatgirl.co.uk
Facebook: facebook.com/goatgirlofficial