The Gooch Palms are crazy, funny, and gloriously noisy in every way. Born and bred in Newcastle, Kat Friend (drums, vocals) and Leroy Macqueen (guitar, vocals) are the ultimate partners in crime – that is, if making really, really good tunes were a felony. It’s a low-fi approach to rock music that sets the duo apart. From gritty guitars, crash-bang drums, and brutally honest lyrics to colourful costumes and kooky music videos, The Gooch Palms aren’t afraid to step outside the box, burn the box to the ground, and dance upon it’s ashes. Whether it’s a wild show involving nakedness, or an isolated night in (much like their latest album, Introverted Extroverts suggests), The Gooch Palms can always be sure to give 110% to their music – a feat untouched even by the biggest names out there. Such a labour of love is undeniable in their latest album – it’s a passion to perform and to create that has spawned some of the greatest goddamn jams you’ll ever hear.
Since relocating to Los Angeles early last year, the duo has spent their time in the U.S. starting up a record label, touring, and recording Introverted Extroverts. Now back in the mother country for a few weeks, The Gooch Palms are set to embark on their ‘Introverted Extroverts’ tour next month.
I had the privilege of asking them about the creative process of their latest LP.
You’ve come a long way since your debut LP, Novo’s, which was a direct nod to growing up in Newcastle. Since moving to Los Angeles last year and recording the new record in Michigan, how has the change of scenery impacted your sound?
The album was pretty much written by the time we moved here so relocating didn’t have much impact on our sound at all. But the fact that we recorded it in a studio with a great producer (Bill Skibbe) made a huge difference to the overall sound of the finished record. We wanted to take a step up from the lo-fi sound of Novo’s (which we recorded ourselves in 9 hours in our front room in Newcastle). Bill captured exactly what we wanted for Introverted Extroverts. Super stoked on how it turned out! But the next record, whenever that will be, will probably be influenced by Los Angeles and America. We’re constantly absorbing everything around us and it comes through in the songwriting for sure.
Self-described as fun-loving party animals to isolated freaks, is there a particular track on Introverted Extroverts that resonates with you both on a daily level?
Nearly all the songs do on a daily level. We are both crazy and go through a range of emotions throughout the day! From isolating ourselves like we talk about in ‘Invisible Man’ or ‘Don’t Look Me Up’ to getting anxious ‘Standing in Line’ at the post office every day. But thankfully our nights mostly end like ‘Living Room Bop’ or ‘GPBNO’ (Gooch Palms Big Night Out)!
In tune with this, is there a particular track that comes alive when performed on stage? Do you think there is juxtaposition in these feelings, from writing to performing?
‘Don’t Look Me Up’ was a real surprise live. It’s a super happy song with a super depressing subject matter but it seems to really get the crowd excited. It was a dark horse, that’s for sure. We were even thinking about leaving it off the album but after playing it live and seeing the reaction it got we’re now going to release it as the next single! It definitely feels weird singing such a sad song and seeing people dancing and smiling, but it’s a great way to move on from the feelings we had while writing it.
Getting help in the studio by world-renowned producer and engineer Bill Skibbe, how has Introverted Extroverts allowed you to take your craft one step further? What was the best element of finding guidance under Skibbe?
Using all the great recording equipment Bill had at the studio and watching him pull the exact sounds we were after was amazing to experience. It’s not an easy task to get a band’s live energy into a record but he did it! We also had two weeks this time and were living at the studio so we were able to work from early in the morning to really late at night, which helped a lot. But yeah, having more time and working with Bill really allowed us to concentrate on making the songs the best we could. Bill would let us know if parts weren’t working so we’d re-write bits and pieces and stay up all night if we had to altering parts and he would always be right, the songs ended up so much better with his assistance. We’re super excited to work with him again and see what we can come up with next!
With music videos that are just as hilarious as they are brilliant, is there a single you’re gravitating towards to create visual chaos for?
Haha thanks! We’re working on a video for ‘Don’t Look Me Up’ right now that incorporates the graphic style of the album cover (all done in pixels) with real life green screen footage of us. It’s going to be VERY colourful and pretty chaotic. Can’t wait to get it out there!
I’ve read that you guys don’t agree with the label of “garage” when it comes to describing your sound. If you could be compared to anything, how would you write yourselves in history?
We get called garage, in writing at least, on a regular basis. It’s fine but we don’t aim to be a garage band. I guess our music comes across that way though and that’s the easiest way to describe lo-fi pop that takes cues from various eras. But we wouldn’t compare ourselves to anything or anyone. We get compared to the Ramones and Devo a lot but they were both bands full of dudes playing a lot of instruments. We’re just a boy and a girl making pop music with a guitar and two drums! I don’t think we could write ourselves in history. We wouldn’t know where to start!
In past you’ve nodded to Kat creating most of your visuals and merch. How did the artwork for Introverted Extroverts come about? Was there a key concept to the work?
Kat: Leroy had the idea of using squares to make the cover and I just started turning the squares from white to different colours to make the artwork and through trial and error we came up with the album art. It was kind of like building lego or those artboards that had holes and you poke a Tetris like coloured shapes to make a picture. I had one of those as a kid and it was my favourite! And then using the same technique to animate the new video has been super fun too.
I think a huge congrats on starting your own label, Summer Camp Records. How did such a big step come into play, and are there any plans to expand and sign artists in the future?
Thanks! Since moving to the US and playing so many shows, we had finally started making enough money to put back into the band in a significant way so we decided to start our own label. It was a big investment but it’s going really well so far. We’ll definitely be looking at expanding and adding artists to our roster. Once things calm down a bit though!
You’re known for your wild live shows. What can Aussie fans expect from the Introverted Extroverts tour? And will you be approving the shoey?
It’s a surprise so you’ll just have to come along to find out!!! We approve of the shoey for sure. Let the people drink out of whatever they like!!! If they wanna walk around with a beer soaked shoe that’s cool with us!
Be sure to check out The Gooch Palms this August.
Summer Camp Records & Future Popes present the ‘Introverted Extroverts’ Tour:
Saturday August 20 / Sydney / Oxford Art Factory
with Spod & Bachelor Pad
Friday August 26 / Brisbane / The Foundry
with Tempura Nights & Woodboot
Thursday September 1 / Adelaide / The Jive
with Beverly Chills & Tough Boys
Friday September 2 / Melbourne / The Curtin
with Wet Lips & Bad Vision
Saturday September 10 / Newcastle / The Cambridge
with Raave Tapes & Pals
Get your mitts on tickets here!