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Exclusive Interview: Here We Go Magic

Here We Go Magic, after an LP hiatus of just under a year, have been busy. They've been busy since a choice encounter with Messrs. Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich on a hung-over morning in Glastonbury a few years back. This relationship has borne their latest record, A Different Ship, the culmination of Godrich's interest in putting Here We Go Magic's live sound to tape. From the band's perspective, it's another chapter that has seen Here We Go Magic evolve from folk singer Luke Temple's bedroom project, to a five piece, to a five piece with an acclaimed producer as the secret sixth member. In fact, possibly the best way to describe their latest record would be as being in constant motion, unsure of place, but certainly focused on moving forward.

This is clear in the first two singles from the upcoming album. 'Make Up Your Mind' and 'How Do I Know' demonstrate both a new sense of melancholic urgency, the music almost spilling out of its container, and a warm playful melody not apparent in their previous work. In fact, it's very reassuring to see that HWGM has taken another step in growing and evolving their work beyond its original boundaries.

In the run up to the album dropping here in the UK on May 7th, and a spate of shows running up to that date, we had a quick chat with Peter Hale, the drummer from Brooklyn indie-pop outfit Here We Go Magic on tours, gaining a secret band member and how the band enjoy playing live the most.

Lust & Found: Thanks for chatting to us - how does it feel to be embarking on your tour to promote your new album, A Different Ship, and how was your kickoff show at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn - nice to be home?

HWGM's Peter Hale: Hello! Thanks for reaching out. We're very, very stoked to give people our new record. We finished it in November, so we're ready to get it out! As for touring, being on the road is our true metier. We're most comfortable when we're on stage together, feeling the songs grow and breathe at every show. The Knit show was shaky but fun! It feels good to get the home town jitters and even better to exorcise them in front of our friends and family.

LF: Even before this tour, your festival line-up has already started, how did Desert Daze compare to Coachella? Which was better?

HWGM: We played Coachella last year (2011) in the middle of our first recording session in LA, so it was more like a vacation from the studio! This year we flew out to play Desert Daze as a kind of warm up for NY and UK shows (and to get a ride to Coachella!). For my vibe, D.D. fest is more mellow, more earnest. It's a handful of super energetic, creative kids from LA who just throw a big party at a roadhouse in the desert! The bands were, every one, stellar. Coachella has its charms of course, but it's big and a little bloated. I think if I were 19 years old with a group of buddies it would be Earth-shatteringly blissful, but I can never even hear the music at a big festival like that!

LF: On your tour, you're sharing bills with BK stable-mates Hospitality, but your London show is with Porcelain Raft - do you see similar sounds coming from Europe as from New York? How does the music community compare across the pond?

HWGM: It's funny you make that distinction. We actually know Brian from Hospitality really well from his White Rabbit tenure, and we know Mauro (Porcelain Raft) from Brooklyn, too. He actually recorded a lot of his record in our rehearsal space in BK. I don't think any of us feel particularly a part of the "Brooklyn scene". We're ostensibly a NY band, but that's by default. We recorded "...Ship" in LA and London, two other cities with which we also have affinities.

LF: Where are you looking forward most to playing as you tour A Different Ship?

HWGM: I think we all love being out west in America. I also look forward to France, Spain and Portugal. We have made great allies and friends in those regions. Plus, the mellow vibes there are the perfect salve to road-weary bands.

LF: Also, what are your tour essentials?

HWGM: Earplugs.

LF: Worst / Best moment on tour?

HWGM: To recall those is like remembering a roller coaster ride. Highs and lows.

LF: Back to music: our new album is another evolution from the original solo HWGM recordings - how do you feel it's changed, and what did you want to put into this record to define it?

HWGM: If we didn't evolve there'd be no reason for being a band. I don't think we could have made this record three years ago. This is us now. Tomorrow it will be different.

LF: It must have been great to have Nigel Godrich produce your album. Did his track history with certain British bands bring another element to your recordings?

HWGM: He's the only person we've ever let inside our strange family, creatively. He's a true engineer; he makes things sound as they should, knows when to play around with that, and he's catalytic when it comes to decisions. He held us to a standard we wouldn't be able to hold each other to, all the while working quickly enough to keep us inspired and reign in those moments to tape.

LF: Are there any other influences that guided you as you made your latest album?

HWGM: I think so much stuff lives inside us at all times. We don't really consciously channel other music (sometimes we steal) but we want to respond to ourselves with the same enthusiasm we have for the other music we love.

LF: What can we expect from the next step in Here We Go Magic's musical journey?

HWGM: More.

LF: Frivolous question #1: Burgers or Burritos on tour? Or neither?

HWGM: Breakfast burritos at our friend Jack's in Austin, burgers at Diner in Brooklyn

LF: Frivolous question #2: Angry birds or Solitaire?

HWGM: Crossword puzzles.

LF: Frivolous question #3: Van or Aeroplane?

HWGM: How far???

Here We Go Magic play the Sebright Arms on Saturday 5th May, Manchester's Deaf Institute on the 6th May and an in-store at Rough Trade East on the 7th May. They also tour festivals throughout the summer.

Pick up Here We Go Magic's record, A Different Ship, from reputable record stores from 7th May.

Oliver Spall
15:51 - 03/05/12