Welcome to the folk revolution. Maybe modern-folk? Folk-bonanza? Forget the categories for a moment, The Good for Naughts bring the roots back to the modern music scene. With a refusal to over-produce their music with mixing machines and effects, the band has contributed to the revival of musical urgency and spontaneity. I formally introduce to you, The Good for Naughts in their own words:
OCR: You guys are keeping busy. You are set to release an acoustic EP in July followed by a full-length album. Can we expect an up-coming tour?
GFN: We are really excited about the EP and another full length record. Since our first album there has been a logical evolution in our sound from indie rock to folk rock and alt-country. There are definitely hints of folk and alt-country on our first record (I’ve Seen A Ghost and White Coats for example), but we feel like we’re more firmly concentrated in that area now. The EP will be a very minimalist, stripped down, set of acoustic tunes. We really feel the need to get something out there for people to listen to that displays the way our sound has progressed over the last year. We hope to record and release the full length record toward the end of the year. It will be a very different process this time ‘round. We intend to record the album live off the floor, which is something we haven’t really done yet. As for a tour? We’ll see how the full length record comes together and then plan our tour accordingly. If the record turns out well, then we owe it to the songs to get them out there for people to hear.
OCR: What are some of the most enjoyable aspects of performing acoustic sets?
GFN: The best part about an acoustic set is the intimacy between the performer and the audience. A good acoustic set makes the audience feel like they’re sitting in on something beautiful – like they’re in your living room listening to an impromptu jam session. Of course, it has its downside as well. Sometimes you just wanna stomp, scream and rock out. It’s harder to do that during an acoustic set. There also tends to be fewer panties thrown at the stage during an acoustic set. Not sure why. That’s just the way it is.
OCR: Your songs translate very well from the studio to live performances. Your band biography states distaste for over-produced music. What kind of rewards and obstacles do you encounter when you sit down to record knowing you are steadfast to this philosophy of capturing unadulterated sound?
GFN: We’re really just trying to avoid ruining our songs with too much stuff. When you get in the studio and start to put a song together, it’s easy to get carried away. More keys, strings, brass, more vocals, more didgeridoo, more cowbell. Next thing you know you’ve got 3000 tracks and a song that sounds like crap. The obstacle is trying to avoid doing that. It’s hard. Especially, when you don’t want to approach the studio with a closed mind either. But, if you get it right, the reward is a song that is as good and as impactful as it can be. Sometimes it can be an exercise in frustration and self-doubt but that’s part of what makes it great.
OCR: You guys have a great sense of humour. Do you think that trait is important when you are a part of a harsh business like the music industry?
GFN: In general, it’s important not to take yourself too seriously. Fans should get to know who you really are and that means, hopefully, they’re going to see a sense of humour too. Social media gives everyone constant access to band members and, by extension, their personalities so it’s pretty hard to hide things like a sense of humour, unless you’re going to make a concerted effort to manufacture some sort of severe “image”. And that’s just lame.
OCR: The Good for Naughts is comprised of members from Guelph, Kitchener, and Toronto. It seems like the Canadian standard to have a battle of Ontario (Leafs vs. Senators kind of deal). Do you have internal feuds about your hometowns?
GFN: Ha ha. Hasn’t happened yet. None of us are from Ottawa so we haven’t had any drunken arguments about Leafs vs. Senators. Now, Guelph Storm vs. Kitchener Rangers – that’s possible. Realistically, we’ve all lived in different parts of Ontario. Most of us have lived in some or all of Toronto, Guelph, Waterloo, Kitchener at one point or another so we have a lot of respect for all these places. Each one comes with its ups and downs but all are great hometowns.
OCR: James, you played an acoustic set for CFRU 93.3 called “Underplayed and Underpaid.” What frustrations do you regularly encounter as a Canadian Indie band?
GFN: Funding is definitely a big frustration. Making records costs money even on a shoe string budget. Working two jobs helps but that leaves precious little time to actually make music. Every minute you’re not making money to finance a recording, you’re either trying to increase your social media presence, making industry contacts, writing, recording or gigging. Only occasionally sleeping. Basically, if you love making music you’ll find a way to make it work because that’s what you have to do. It does get frustrating but anything worth doing is going to take perseverance. Wow, we are really positive and uplifting.
OCR: There are increasingly more media outlets that assist Indie bands with the promotion of their art (ranging from Sound Cloud, ReverbNation, and bandcamp). Seeing that you have utilized these tools, what elements could be added or incorporated in order to improve these interactive modes of promotion?
GFN: It could definitely be easier to connect with fans that already like the type or genre of music you make. Finding a true fan that enjoys listening to your music because of the quality and type of songs that you’ve written and recorded is like searching for a needle in a hay stack. Those are the fans that will monitor your posts for news, download your latest record and come out to your shows. Social media platforms allow you to connect with many more people than you otherwise ever could but the true goal is to find and connect with people who genuinely enjoy listening to your music. That can be hard to do.
OCR: Can you describe one of your most memorable on stage experiences?
GFN: Hmmmm…the only things that come to mind right away are incidents where things have not gone well…equipment break downs and general screw ups. Wardrobe malfunctions like a forgotten belt leading to loss of pants are also memorable. As far as good experiences go…nothing specific comes to mind. The best performances are the ones where the band is so tight that you see a majority of the crowd perk up and take notice as soon as that first note is struck, and after that they stay glued to the stage for the rest of the set. That doesn’t always happen but when it does it’s absolutely incredible. You know you’ve reached the audience in some way.
OCR: What’s next for the Good for Naughts?
GNF: The immediate next step for us is to keep gigging the new songs that we’ve written for our next full length record so that they’re ready to be recorded live off the floor. We intend to do that for the rest of the summer, then when the fall hits, it’s time to get back in the studio and make a record.
Check out The Good for Naughts’ shout out to Orange Country Reverb. Also jive on over to their official website (http://www.thegoodfornaughts.com) and follow them on Twitter (@goodfornaughts).