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We thought it would be a rather fitting end to the year to wax lyrical once more about the band we tipped to do well in 2011. Yup, it’s Sarah, Hamish and George, known collectively as The Good Natured! We’ve followed them throughout the year, (and well before to be honest) with regular updates and have been delighted to see them really develop into something very special indeed.
Before a recent headline show in Manchester we caught up with Sarah and the boys to reflect on just how 2011 has panned out for them. They’ve had quite a year, record deals, SXSW and Glastonbury appearances as well as broken bones, we of course take full credit for none of this because it’s pretty obvious to anybody but a drooling simpleton with cauliflowers for ears and a lump of coal for a heart that Sarah is an wonderful song writing talent blessed with an outstanding, distinctive voice who, with the input of George and Hamish has taken what was essentially a solo project to the next level. And so despite pre gig nerves, they helped me through the interview ;) ( ho,ho) as we looked back on 2011 and forward towards 2012
VP: Hello! , I thought it’d be nice to end the year by having a chat with you guys and reflecting what sort of year this has been for you, the highs the lows. etc.
SARAH : Hi Pippy ! Well, at the start of the year we were offered a record deal on my birthday in January which was an amazing birthday present! Since then things have been really busy. We officially signed in March and almost immediately went out to SXSW to play a few shows where we had the best week ever. Then when we arrived back in April we did a few shows supporting The Wombats around Europe. Then in May, I met you and broke my foot in Liverpool [laughs]
We didn’t do too many gigs this year because of my foot but we did manage to get to Glastonbury, which was great fun in the mud with my cast on! We’ve also just arrived back from touring with “Oh Land,” we did France, Germany, Scandinavia, and did a few headline shows in Germany which were great due to us having a little sync in a German shoe advert and got to number 79 in the German charts! Now we’re just doing a little run of shows back over here before Christmas. Really most of the year has been mainly about writing in preparation for the album, I’ve been out to Sweden a few times and wrote half the album out there and the rest in London, I’ll do a little bit more writing over Christmas and then the albums pretty much done and should be out in April. So yeah it’s been a really intense, whirlwind of a year.
VP: Do you have an album title and who’s producing?
SARAH: Erm, not yet we haven’t decided on a title yet! Patrick Berger has produced half the album in Stockholm and most of the rest is with Liam Howe (The Whip, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Emmy the Great, Marina And The Diamonds) who’s wicked, so it’s a very exciting time!
VP: So I take it The Good Natured is a full time concern now, there are no part time jobs going on.
SARAH: Yeah, its full time, we really want to give it our all.
GEORGE: Yeah we really wanna smash it !
VP: So what’s been the biggest advantage you’ve noticed being “signed” as opposed to self releasing as you have in the past?
SARAH: I think just having the support and freedom to spend time writing without worrying about other things. I think in a way we were fortunate that it took us a while to get signed, like four years, which was disheartening at the time, when there’s loads of A&R at a gig and nothing happens! But looking back at it, I suppose it was a blessing in disguise as we had four years to mould and hone our sound, which got us signed and they love what we do and have been so supportive. All the ideas we have we can kind of make happen now so it’s amazing.
VP: So what about the band dynamics, there’s the brother [Hamish] and sister [Sarah] and then there’s George, do you ever have to step in as peacemaker George? Any sibling disputes?
GEORGE: No, they’re fine; Honestly, I can trust them on their own [laughs]
SARAH: [laughs] We used to fight when we were younger….
HAMISH: Definitely when we were younger but we’ve grown up a bit now…
SARAH: We’ve been asked this a few times and we always sound boring but we really are all the best of friends. And we’ve spent so much time together this year touring that we all know when to give each other space, so it’s all good and we haven’t had any fights yet.
VP: And you’ve recently released a free download from the forthcoming album, a track entitled ‘Video Voyeur’ – Would it be fair to say the songs a bit, erm, “stalkerish”;)
SARAH: [laughs] Yeah definitely, it’s all about spying on people so yeah, it’s got big stalker vibes! We just wanted to give that away because we haven’t released anything in a while due to being so busy song writing, but we wanted to let people know the album is coming and hopefully build up the anticipation and get people excited about it !
VP: Have you finalised the album track list yet, is it difficult to narrow it down?
SARAH: I don’t think it will be, we’ve got loads of songs and obviously they won’t all be on it, but we will use them as B-Sides etc I think. It’s defiantly better to have a lot to more to choose from then less! “Skeleton” and “Wolves” will be on there in their current state, “Your Body Is A Machine” and “Be My Animal” are being re-recorded, but other than that it’s all new stuff.
VP: As you’ve mentioned you’ve travelled quite extensively, you’ve spent a fair bit of time in Sweden, loved SXSW, but what’s been your favourite place to gig so far?
GEORGE, SARAH, HAMISH : Definitely Germany!!
HAMSH : Hamburg was amazing.
SARAH: It was ! We had an amazing show at The Prinzen Bar in Hamburg were we sold loads of tickets and we’ve never had a show that’s been that busy!
GEORGE : [laughs] That sounds great doesn’t it ‘we’ve never had a busy show!!’ hahaha!
SARAH: [laughs] Well I meant we haven’t had that sense before that everybody’s there to see us , you know ? And everybody was there singing along, they knew all the words which is an amazing feeling! Everywhere’s been wicked but yes, Germany really did stand out.
VP: So before you became “The Good Natured” and followed the path that hopefully leads to musical nirvana… what did you all want to do?
SARAH: I met George at Uni and we both dropped out to pursue music as things were getting so busy. I didn’t have a plan, I just really wanted to do this and can’t imagine doing anything else.
GEORGE: I just want to play drums….. as long as I can play drums in a band [cue collective laughter] … I’m not just saying I’m doing this just for that! I mean I like this a lot obviously….
SARAH: We all love it and are lucky enough to be able to do it full time so we couldn’t really ask for anything more, it’s amazing. Hamish is really good at Maths and stuff…
HAMISH: Yeah if the music side hadn’t of really taken off I probably would have looked at Architecture or Graphic Design. I did my A ‘levels this year so it was a relief to get them done not have to do anymore study and concentrate on the band!
VP: And were all your parents very supportive?
HAMISH: Very much so yes, when we were first starting off our mum used to drive us around to all the gigs, to be honest we probably couldn’t have done it without them to begin with!
SARAH: Definitely! They were so supportive from day one and when we dropped out of Uni, both our parents were totally behind us. Without their support I don’t think we would have got signed, I wouldn’t have had time to do all my writing and hold down a job or study. So yeah a blessing!
VP: And 2012 will be all about the album.
SARAH: Definitely, we can’t wait for people to hear it!
- THE VPME AWARDS 2011- (Including Top 20 Podcast) (vonpipmusicalexpress.wordpress.com)
- Songs To Learn And Sing – School Of Seven Bells And The Good Natured (vonpipmusicalexpress.wordpress.com)
- Ones To Listen Out For In 2012 (vonpipmusicalexpress.wordpress.com)
- The Artist – review (guardian.co.uk)