Circa 1999/2000: Sonic Youth fan boy and Brighton dwelling Ian Parton buys an old 80’s sampler and a four-track tape recorder, and starts molding samples from random places and live instruments into songs.
2002: The first songs (Get it Together, Kill the Klansmen, Pocket Money Radio, The Ice Storm) are recorded under the moniker The Go! Team and released as an EP called Get It Together, a small indie label Pickled Egg. It caught the attention of Memphis Industries, with whom The Go! Team began working later that year.
2003: Memphis Industries release Junior Kickstart as a single (its backed with We Listen Everyday and Feelgood by Numbers) – it sells out in double quick time. Ian then spends the next year simultaneously working as a TV documentary maker and creating the group’s first LP, the glorious sample fest of Thunder, Lightning, Strike. Playing most of the instruments on the album himself, recruiting some friends, sampling tons of noises that came his way and getting his brother Gareth to help out on the sound desk, the album was completed in 2004.
2004: The Go! Team are asked to play Sweden’s Accelerator Festival in July 04, so Ian decides to put a band together with the aim of getting a mix of people who would not normally be in a band together. The band is made up of three skinny lads – Ian (guitar, harmonica, drums), Sam Dook (guitar, drums, banjo), and Jamie Bell (bass, noise effects) – and three ladies – Chi Fukami Taylor (drums), Silk Stiedinger (guitar, keys, recorder, drums) and fiery front lady Ninja (vocals, shakers, recorder). The album comes out in the UK to widespread acclaim, resulting in shows at the Glastonbury and Reading Festivals, and appearances at Fuji Rock in Japan, Roskilde in Denmark and Lollapalooza in the States. Bloggers and music sites immediately begin championing the band, resulting in a top ten album of the year plug by Pitchfork. The band bring their own brand of distorted mayhem to TV shows including Later with Jules Holland, Top of The Pops, Popworld and various late night chat shows in the US.
2005: As the word spreads worldwide, The Go! Team headline a packed show at SXSW that had people dancing so hard, the floor showed signs of caving in. The album subsequently finds a home on Columbia in the States American label released that autumn, resulting in rave reviews in everything from Rolling Stone to The New Yorker to Spin to the Los Angeles Times, many of which called it one of the top records of the year. The record, now with samples cleared, is also rereleased in the UK and it receives a Mercury Music Prize. Silke leaves to concentrate on her own band Kaput! – she’s replaced by Japanese noise group Yumi Yumi front person Kaori Tsuchida who brings more ladyee vocal action to the table.
2006: After completing their largest UK Tour to date culminating in three sold out shows at Koko in London the band return to the States in the summer to tour with The Flaming Lips and Sonic Youth. The band then holes up in a studio space in Brighton next to a bus station, filling it with all the gear they could, and start recording with the help of Ian’s brother Gareth. This time, the record is not as sample-heavy; instead the balance is in favour of live instrumentation and live vocals. Ian invites an eclectic array of vocalists to feature on the record, resulting in recording of Maryland’s pint sized rappers The Rappers Delight Club, Ian popping over to Brooklyn, NY to record the legendary Double Dutch Divas, and to London record two tracks with Marina from Bonde Do Role. Solex comes over from Amsterdam to record in the Team’s Brighton studio, while one of Ian’s all time heroes Chuck D of Public Enemy recorded his vocals in his home studio in Brooklyn.
2007: By May 2007, the LP, now entitled Proof of Youth, is completed and the band set about tearing up big stage slots at Glastonbury, Benicassim, Electric Picnic, Bestival (as well as managing to scoot over to play Shanghai and Beijing) before the release of Proof in September (on Memphis Industries again in the UK and new home Sub Pop in the States). The Observer Music Monthly callsit “genius”, The Guardian “absurdly exhilarating” and Rolling Stone “a hook filled gem”. Sold out tours of the UK and USA follow, plus jaunts across Europe and Japan and the band sees in the New Year headlining the Falls Festival in Australia.
2008: The world is the Go! Team’s playground as they hit up festival after festival from St Petersburg to Seoul to Sao Paulo. Finally finishing up in Germany just before Christmas, the band return home to some well earned rest.
2009: Come February, Ian starts to plan for album 3. With a clean slate, he starts demoing tracks on a on a battered acoustic with midi drums and a fistful of samples, ranging from Bollywood and Italian movie soundtracks to Ethiopian funk, Northern Sould tracks and Indonesian 60s girl groups. Taking time out to remix label mates Papercuts and Black Moth Super Rainbow, and head out to play the odd European festival, come August the recording sessions are underway. With an even broader vocal palette in mind, Ian sets out to find the unique and distinctive voices that will match the sounds in his head. Band friend Satomi from Deerhoof is asked to contribute vocals and Ian reaches out to Bethany from Californian dream poppers Best Coast, rising Tampa rapper Dominique Young Unique and French songstresses Lispector and Soko as slowly the album is pieced together.
2010 As ever with The Go! Team, their festival crushing status means calls from around the world continue, as the team keep hitting up new countries, from Singapore to the Ukraine. All the while album three is being chiseled away in Ian’s attic, with sample clearances requests ticker taping their way round the world. Finally, in early autumn, The Go! Team wrap up album three.
Rolling Blackouts is epic and bratty, subtle and sweet. From the two-minute opening Ninja led slammer of “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.”, to the album’s title track featuring Bethany Best Coast, an all female feedback-swept white noise sand storm answer to “Some Velvet Morning”, it’s all restless and relentless energy. Bethany also lends vocals to “Buy Nothing Day”, a hyper girls-in-the-garage jangle, while Dominique Young Unique dominates the psych hip-hop call and response of “Voice Yr Choice” and goes tag team on the string-led space race of “Apollo Throwdown”. Satomi leads the way on “Secretary Song” evoking an asymmetrical Tokyo office with elevators opening on the beat, typing in time and phones ringing in rhythm. “The Running Range” is a fuzz-bass driven Morricone-esque gospel song recorded in a South London church and with “Ready To Go Steady” the Team deliver their first straight ahead love song, a nimble pocket rocket symphony voiced by Lispector.
So, for this wide screen meets C-90 cassette lo-fi epic, The Go! Team have upped their own ante, giving us a record that is by turns their most refined, most kick ass, most melodic and most effortlessly effusive record yet.
The Go! Team is: Ian Parton (production, guitars, drums, piano, harmonica, glockenspiel), Ninja (vocals), Chi Fukami Taylor (drums), Sam Dook (banjo, guitars, drums), Jamie Bell (bass, noise effects, glockenspiel), Kaori Tsuchida (vocals, guitars, keyboards, recorders, glockenspiels).