Interview with Goa Express

A day after seeing Happy Mondays and James, two bands that are… past their peak, at the AO Arena in Manchester, I couldn’t think of anything further from that experience than walking through the city streets with indie up and comers Goa Express on the way to their biggest show to date, a headline slot at Gorilla. The night had already had some bad news going into it, with support band The Lounge Society having to drop out because of the latest COVID restrictions, but that didn’t seem to faze Goa with their minds firmly on the night ahead. The show comes directly after the bands supporting tour with Shame and before that Magic Gang, an experience that had clearly stayed with them; It was good man, it feels a bit weird going back down to reality a little bit I thought I’d have maybe a week off the beer but it’s been more like two days.   

Despite the chance to get to play in front of the big audiences that they witnessed on tour with these bands the prospect of playing a headline show of their own was still a more exciting one for the band; Obviously it’s a sort of trajectory, the bigger you get the bigger the stages you play, but I do enjoy the smaller, more intimate chaotic shows. It remains to be seen how quickly the band will grow but it seems pretty undeniable right now that they are on the upward trajectory that they say they’re on. You could feel the excitement rise as the sounds of soundcheck came seeping through into the green room as the interview went on and for good reason. Gorilla, I’m told, is around a 500-capacity venue and it is no mean feat to headline a show organised by Now Wave with promising up-and-comers The Lounge Society (barring a change in COVID rules). Clearly there was something to Goa who to this point, despite being around for over half a decade, had only released a handful of songs, by no fault of their own; What can you do, it’s either happening for you or it’s not happening for you. It’s starting to happen now and it didn’t before so we just sort of carried on doing what we were doing, that’s all really. Surely, I thought, it can’t just be as simple as that. I wandered if they had noticed a difference in themselves as a band since they had started to find more success; I just think we’re better at fucking playing our instruments and writing songs. We all essentially started and weren’t very good at what we were doing. Then the natural progression is the more you’re playing, the more your writing, the more you’re playing shows the better your tracks get.

Looking forward it really seems that however far Goa Express end up going is up to them. Despite their new-found-and-rising success it seems that little has changed for the band themselves; Money was tight before and money is tight now, that’s probably gonna be the same for a while. That hasn’t really changed much, I’m not too sure why things continued to progress during COVID when we weren’t playing but they did so it was happy days for everyone really. Going into 2022 the band have their sights on, firstly, a single release, schedule for early in the year and then later on there are hopes of an album; We’ve got an album worth of tunes, we’re just waiting for the right time really. Everything’s in our own hands at the moment because we’re still unsigned really. All these decisions are just made ourselves. There’s no external pressure from the usual sources. There’s an album their and it will come out when the timings right. I don’t know, later end of next year. It’s hard not to be impressed by the path the band have laid out for themselves without being signed and one thing is certain, 2022 is going to be a big year for Goa Express.

Photo: Louis Butler