Interview: Goodsprings | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle’s music ensemble, Goodsprings are a vibrant lot with a unique and colourful sound influenced by all things ska, reggae and punk. They release the video to their recent single, Hold On Now, a song, which quite aptly, is about the making the best of a band situation and sees the band messing about to the camera whilst under lockdown. Here, frontman Sam Blackburn tells us more.

How did the band form?
It formed back in 2018 when I met Mark (bassist) whilst doing the door for a gig. We decided to make a Ska/Reggae inspired band, and after months of recruitment and constant “LOOKING FOR BRASS PLAYERS” Facebook posts, we met our original trumpet player Marc and trombone player Fabio and were able to go on from there.

Which artists have inspired the sound of the band?
I’d say artists which have really inspired the sound would be Sublime, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Slightly Stoopid and the general 90s third wave Ska sound. The majority of our brass section all played in Newcastle Universities Jazz Orchestra so they’ve brought that influence into the music, with our brass lines improving tenfold due to their musical backgrounds. We all listen to different genres though, so I think it’s a case of I write songs with a real third wave ska and punk sound and the rest of the guys add their spin on to create what i would call a quite unique sound for the genre.

What do you think the North-East Ska scene is like right now? Are there any bands we should be keeping an eye out for?
It’s small and larval right now, but the potential is there. We’ve found we’ve played with a fair share of punk and alternative bands, which is normally a good fit, but it’s special when we play with other ska bands. We’ve played with Kahuna a number of times now, with Ross their guitarist producing and mastering the single. We’ve also recently started playing with The Almighty Uprisers and the support we’ve been given by both bands has been amazing. There’s something really genuine playing with these two bands, we’ve only played with Uprisers once but the support Micky their frontman gave us was absolutely amazing. Both in terms of quality and love for what we do, I think all three bands could spearhead Newcastle into a city for Ska because there’s definitely a market there!

What’s your recent single, Hold On Now, about?
Hold on Now is essentially a phrase I remind myself every time I have a lapse in my mental health. I wrote the song with fellow musician John Lewis back in 2018 after I’d started to feel I was recovering from the depression I was suffering from back between 2016 and 2018. It comes from the perspective of myself coming to a realisation that life is tough, difficult things will come by, life is cyclical in the way something bad has happened to me, yet through mental strength, I can and will get through it. I’ve faced a lot of adversity in life, but I think it’s made me a stronger person. Hold on Now is a reminder that I got through the crap times, and that everyone else can.

It’s fitting, because I recently had a pretty crap week last September at University, which really set my mental health back, and there were a few moments when band members reached out and showed their support which made me realise how important this band and the people are in it for my mental health.

Can you tell us more about the video? Does the concept tie in with the themes of the song at all?
So prior to COVID-19, we were going to do a video with the very talented Libby Murphy, who is also responsible for our single art. Libby had this great idea and concept for the video, which we’ve decided to take inspiration from. All that I’ll say is expect quick cuts, messy bedrooms and probably some cringe.

I guess in some way the music video relates more to the lyrics more than ever due to COVID-19 lockdown. It’s no lie that people are struggling mentally with the lockdown. By making the best of a bad situation and releasing the music video, it’s showing that life can continue to some extent during the lockdown. One thing which is helping my mental health during lockdown is keeping busy doing stuff like this, so in a way, it’s quite fitting.

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