In Conversation with…GO NATIVE

Go Native are a band that deserve all the hype and attention they are getting right now. They may be riding on the electro pop wave that seems to be so popular in this day and age, but they truly stand out from the pack and have something fresh and unique to give music fans. This four piece are based in Manchester, but are sure not to be here for much longer, they have the skill and determination to go much further a field, their music should be heard globally, it is that good. They are the best at what they do, and that’s making danceable and meaningful indie electro music that will be stuck in your head for days after listening.

I caught up with the band on Friday before their headline set at Scruff of the Neck’s live night in Chorlton, and what a headline set it was, they are seriously amazing live, if you are reading this and haven’t seen them live yet, then why not? I suggest you do. Anyway, read on to hear what they said about everything from how a race horse inspired their band name and to what’s next for the band.

(FYI: The majority of this interview I did with the band before their set but unfortunately due to technical difficulties, some of the questions I had to send by email afterwards. Catherine was very nice to pick them up and answer them, so I want to say thanks again for doing that, you’re a star.)

Can you give us a brief history of how you came together as a band?

Nick Toone (vocals, guitar): Yes.

Catherine Bebbington (keys, samples): That’s it [laughs].

Nick: We’ve all been in various bands around Manchester. 

Alex Kirk (bass): The first song we actually wrote together as a band, was our first single, Stockholm.

Joe Freegard (drums): That was kind of like the beginning of things to come.

Joe: So, we kind of met quite randomly really, didn’t we? I mean you two knew each other [to Nick and Catherine] but aside from that..

Nick: We amalgamated from another band basically.

What’s the story behind your band name and how long did it take you to settle on it?

Alex: Ages [laughs].

Catherine: Oh my God [laughs].

Nick: A long time. We became obsessed with it; it was keeping us up at night.

Alex: You’re saying we…it kept you up at night [to Nick].

Nick: I’d wake up at 2 in the morning and have work the next morning and open my eyes and be going through names in my head, it was driving me mental and you come up with a good name, something relevant to what you are doing.

Alex: What was the name that we had?

Catherine: We had Sleep Patterns.

Nick: We actually had because we had written that song together, we liked the name Stockholm, but you’ll find now that EVERY SINGLE band name you can come up with, unless you’re being ridiculous has been taken. There was another band called Stockholm from Florida.

Joe: [to Alex] You betted on a horse called Go Native didn’t you? That then died.

Catherine: But before it died, he came to the rehearsal room and said ‘what do you think about this?’ and it was the first time we all went ‘Yeah!’.

Nick: There’s a film called ID and the guy sort of goes native, the concept of its good, but it stemmed from a race horse. But the idea of being so absorbed by an environment that is sort of enriches you, and you become part of your environment.

Alex: And we were told afterwards by somebody, that it was like the opposite of Humanizer basically because it’s like being native rather than like being sort of electronic.

Joe: It was completely unintentional.

Nick: But it just sort of worked. The one idea, what it stood for. The concept of going native.

Joe: And the band name wasn’t taken either.

How would you describe your sound, for those that may have never heard your music before?

Nick: Indie electronicists.

Catherine: Yeah, I always say indie electro when anyone asks.

Nick: We had a review by Fortitude magazine. They gave us a really good review, which we’re quite chuffed about. They described us as ‘indie electronicists’. There’s a bit of post-rock to it, as well.

Joe: There are some dark elements as well. I mean, its poppy isn’t it? But, in a bit of a dark way.

Nick: Yeah, catchy. I think that’s what we try to do, keep it really melodic. The tendency in previous bands I’ve been in was to really twist things as much as possible. You tend to get engrossed in what you’re doing and you tend of lose sight of appealing to the people that you want to appeal to with the music. So, we’ve kept it kind of straight line with the band, I think.

You’ve recently been working on some new material with Luke Warren at his studio in Ashton. What’s it sounding like and when can we be expecting to hear it?

Catherine: Stockholm, you can hear now with the video.

Nick: We just finished it. We had to rush to get it done for [Manchester] Pride because someone wanted us to have it all done, so we did a video for it. It’s on YouTube actually. We did a quick video with a guy called Heath Olive, he’s worked with Silverclub, he’s quite a good camera technician. Yeah, we worked with Luke, it was quite rushed actually the demo that we did, it was a demo, wasn’t it really?

Catherine: It was originally, yeah.

Nick: But with Stockholm, we tweaked it. We said before we can afford to go in for a more expensive recording, we’d just work with what we had and we got him to remix Stockholm. Again, it’s still a bit of a demo, but it’s definitely had a lot more work than the other two tracks that we’ve done.

Joe: We might tweak those as well.

Catherine: I think we probably will do. He wants to work with us again so.

Nick: We kind of recorded them as we were writing them in a way. Napoleon is one of the tracks, since then we’ve done a lot more, there’s a lot more electronics sat beneath it, there’s a few more layers to it, so we can add them to it now because it’s all digital.

Joe: We’ll probably get back in the studio sometime soon as well. Record some new material to keep it fresh.

Give us an insight into your songwriting process. Where do you start and how do you put a song together?

Nick: In other bands that I’ve been in, we went about the writing process differently. We tended to write it based on chord structures, but I think what we wanted to do with this band was to write with a, I know it sounds a bit cheesy saying it, but write with a vibe, I guess. So, whether it be a pattern of electronics or a arp, an arpeggiator.

Alex: It kind of starts from the electronics side.

Joe: We just decided that was what we wanted to be the main focus of the band, the electronics.

Nick: Lyrics, usually come last for us. We probably to do it a bit back to front compared to other bands. I think though, we go about writing it the right way now. I think the general rule is we wanted to write the music on a vibe, whatever that may be, whether that be a piece of bass and then layer electronics on top of it. We wanted really to leave as much guitar out of it, I guess, so it wasn’t very jangly. In the same sense though, it is quite a lot of guitar. I use a lot of delays and stuff like that, so my guitar doesn’t sound too much like a guitar, if that makes sense.

Alex: We don’t want to be like an indie guitar band [laughs].

Nick: Yeah, we genuinely want to try and do something that is a bit contemporary and forward thinking and with electronics you tend to have a lot more scope to do that.

Your new music video for your first single, Stockholm, has just come out. How did that go? Do you enjoy filming music videos?

Catherine: That’s the first one we’ve done.

Nick: We sort of said that any music videos we do, we wanted really to, we weren’t dead set against the idea, but we’re more interested in doing things like animation and stuff like that. The video’s been quite different really, but this video we didn’t have much time to do it, but it’s turned out really well, we’re really chuffed with it. It includes us in the band. But for a first single, it’s probably quite a good idea to do that, so you can project yourself. We’ll probably work with in the future a lot more animation and videos that don’t include us in it as much.

Last weekend (25th August) you played Manchester Pride. How did that go?

Catherine: It was amazing. The crowd seemed to really take to us. It was nice for us to be back on a big stage again – we’ve all played at bigger venues with previous bands we’ve been in but this was the first time for Go Native and we really enjoyed it.

We got some excellent feedback and some more gig bookings off the back of it including Pride Brighton next August. We also did a cover of The Eurythmics Sweet Dreams and the crowd really got into it.

You’ve been creating quite a buzz around Manchester this year with your live gigs. Have you been seeing the crowds start to get bigger and bigger with each gig?

Catherine: Yeah we have just recently. Each gig seems to be growing and our fan base is most certainly increasing. We’ve notice more and more people are talking about us on social media like facebook and twitter and it feels like all our hard work is slowly but surely starting to pay off. Having said that, we have only been together for 10 months!

What’s a show for Go Native normally like?

Catherine: Playing live is what we’re about. It’s where we really get a chance to express ourselves and our music. We want our music to penetrate our audience both physically and emotionally. We’re not happy unless you leave one of our shows both elated and exhausted at the same time!

We’re big supporters of new music here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies. Having said that, are there any new artists that have caught your attention recently that you’d like to share with us?

Catherine: There are a few that have caught my attention – Chvrches, London Grammar, Catfish and the Bottlemen. I saw Chvrches at Sound Control and they we excellent.

What’s next for Go Native?

Catherine: We’re taking things one step at a time and genuinely just trying to keep enjoying what we’re doing. I guess we never expected things to go as well as they have for us in such a short space of time. A short term goal of ours is to play a couple of decent festivals next year. We want to keep pushing ourselves hard to make music people enjoy. We’re a band for the people!

Upcoming gigs: We have a few exciting support slots booked with Sound Control in Manchester in the next couple of months and we’re playing as part of Salford Music Festival on 27th September. We also have a couple of gigs down south including Oxjam Clapham.


A special thanks to Go Native for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below.

Charlotte Holroyd
Editor, Creator and Founder of Bitter Sweet Symphonies. A lover of music and cinema, who's constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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