Following the exciting news of Good Shoes’ latest material, Young Academic can bring you an eagerly anticipated and totally exclusive interview. Charles Whitworth caught up with guitarist Steve Leach as he prepares for the band’s forthcoming UK tour.
Since Good Shoes’ 2007 debut album ‘Think Before You Speak’, indie music has taken a seriously electronic trajectory. You would, as a result, be forgiven for presuming that a band that made such an impact three years ago would reflect this in their new material.
Good Shoes’ latest instalment ‘No Hope, No Future’ is in fact pure indie as the Morden quartet refuse to be dissuaded from their favourite genre – much to the delight of old school indie-rock fans alike.
“I think a lot of bands have gone down this road to make their stuff a bit more accessible, it’s far easier to polish up a more ‘electroey’ tune,” says Steve.
This is not to say that he dislikes the more electric route that indie has taken of late, it simply doesn’t suit the band’s raw and gritty style.
“I think electro-indie is a great thing as it has opened a lot of doors and it is of course just as easy to play a load of rubbish on a guitar as it is on a keyboard.”
Indeed, Steve has become somewhat of a fan of electro-indie pioneers, ‘Mystery Jets’, who make no secret of their electronic influence. The Eel Pie Islanders even persuaded international DJ Erol Alkan to produce their second album and the word on the street is that he has agreed to oversee the third album as well.
“Yeah, I have to admit I am definitely a fan! They are really getting ahead now and their fan-base is rapidly growing – they’re pretty amazing.”
When asked for an example of why Mystery Jets are worthy of such praise, Steve told me we should look no further than the fourth track of their second album, ‘Twenty One’.
“Flakes is just an absolutely amazing song really. It’s so simple and hasn’t been over produced at all, Erol Alkan has obviously been a great help and helped them to get to some really unexpected places.”
Although Good Shoes decided against going down the electro route, Steve believes that bands have to adapt to the market to survive in a dog-eat-dog industry.
“We have played with loads of bands that have been great fun. Two that come to mind are Le Shark and, believe it or not, The Noisettes!”
“They are such a good example of a band that have completely changed the way they go about music, they were almost a metal band originally. Now they are really flashy and rocky – sometimes in music you have to reinvent yourself or die,” he continued.
Good Shoes’ success as one of the brightest indie bands of recent years has taken them to some great places. Not least of which being Malmo, Sweden where the band recorded their latest material.
“Although going to Malmo was an industry decision, we needed to get away. We’re not like a lot of the more mainstream bands; we had less than £20,000 to produce the album,”
“There were far too many distractions in London, so going to Sweden was a good idea and we got to work with some legendary producers.” continued Steve, who is more than happy and no longer under any illusions about the status of Good Shoes.
“I know now that the music comes first, we will probably never make huge amounts of money because of the kind of band we are but the music is far more important.”
Like many bands, Good Shoes have endured the small matter of personnel change but have come out the other side unscathed. Joel Cox unfortunately left the band before the new album was recorded with Will Church stepping up to the challenge. Steve was keen to state however that it is business as usual.
“It’s all the same as before, Will was a fan of the band and has the same ideas as us so there will certainly be no change, not for the worse anyway!”
As you guys know, we at Young Academic are dedicated to getting you all the information you need as you embark on your chosen career paths, so what advice does Steve have for budding musicians?
“Work hard and practice makes perfect really. Record companies and producers believe in originality and if you believe in what you’re doing then people latch on to that.”
“If your heart and soul is in your music then you will probably get noticed, so that is invaluable really,” continued Steve as I concluded my interview to let him prepare for what is bound to be an arduous summer.
Good Shoes are brothers Rhys and Tom Jones, Steve Leach and Will Church and are sure to have you tapping your heels to their spiky guitar pop this summer. Look out for them at ‘Truck’ as well as a range of other festivals this summer.
Remember you can keep tabs on all the festivals worth knowing about in the Young Academic Ulimate Festival Guide!