No this isn’t a new instalment of Inspector Gadget, GoGo Pengin is the name of a band who hail from Manchester and have a really unique and captivating sound. We have been lucky enough to chat with the guys and find out more about them!
Tell us about yourself as a band, how you met and who’s, who.
We met playing around Manchester. We’ve known each other for a long time and have played in a lot of other bands in different guises playing everything from Jazz to folk and classical.
Rob plays Drums, Chris plays Piano and Nick plays Bass. The fourth member of our band is Joe Reiser who is the sound master. He co-produced the album and is the sound engineer in the band.
GoGo Penguin is such an unusual name, how did you come up with it?
When we first got together it was because we wanted to play our own music for no reason other than to do it. We didn’t necessarily even think about making a band, it was just that we had these ideas and wanted to hear what they sounded like.
We got asked to play at a local gig organised by Anton hunter from Epfi Records when someone had pulled out at the last minute and we realised we didn’t have a name. There was a stuffed penguin on the wall where we were rehearsing and Rob said let’s call it Penguin, Chris said ‘Go Penguin’, Rob said ‘Go Go Penguin’, and that was that.
Your sound is completely new, melding the worlds of Jazz, hip-hop, even a little house it seems. Was this something that just happened or a concious decision on your part?
We’ve all been obsessed with music for as long as we can remember, between us we’ve played in countless indie bands, some major hip hop artists, folk and Jazz as well as having studied classical music. Chris still does classical recitals now and again and me and nick have worked a lot in the Jazz world. It’s got to the point now where we don’t think about genre. We’ve learnt the nuts and bolts of so many different styles that now we just make the sounds that we want to hear and that are right for the moment when we’re creating.
Congratulations, you have been short listed for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize Album of The Year 2014 how does that feel?
F*****g awesome, but seriously, it’s very humbling to be nominated and it means a lot us, we’re really surprised.
Who are your biggest influences and why?
Difficult to answer, pretty much everyone, it’d be easier to say who we’re not influenced by.
That said, for this album Arvo Part was a big inspiration, there’s a great video if him being interviewed by Bjork. He sees the profound in the simple, in the relationships between the harmonics of sound. Music, from that perspective is effectively more of a philosophy than a form of entertainment.
We looked a lot at the composition techniques of William Russo who was a former pupil of Nadia Boulanger. We were listening to a lot of Burial, Thom Yorke, Debussy and Amon Tobin as well as general break core at the time which has definitely left it’s mark. But ultimately it’s the combination of years of assimilating music from the whole history of what’s available to us.
What’s next for GoGo Penguin?
Making album number three is what we’re really excited about.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer these questions, best of luck with your nomination.
You can listen to the band’s album Murmuration on Spotify, but we have a video to share with you too!