Things are looking good for the four young lads from South London that went to school together, formed a band, then ended up talent spotted by Brille Records and appearing on the pages of 'NME' after only one single release.
Good Shoes are about to embark on a tour that will finish in Paris and Barcelona just in time for their new single, 'Photos on My Wall', to be released on Christmas Day.
The band are getting well known for their record covers, usually illustrated by lead singer Rhys, but this time fans have been asked to send in pictures of themselves for the single cover, which will be a collage of photos(hence ‘Photos On My Wall').
Rhys Jones, Joel Cox, Steve Leach and Tom Jones make (in their own words) "danceable, shed rehearsed guitar music" that managed to whip up enough of a flurry to get them signed to Brille Records last year.
For such a young band they are already generating rumours. Speculation over whether one of their songs was written about Keira Knightly has dominated their message board and already they are selling out shows across London.
Pennyblackmusic spoke to Rhys after the band had just got back from a whirlwind weekend at Bestival.
PB : Did you have a good weekend?
RJ : Yeah, we went to Bestival and got a bit drunk, partied a bit and played a show there and all that.
PB : How did it go?
RJ : It was really fun actually. It was all fancy dress so we were all wearing these pretty mental clothes. The show was really good and I got to hang out with all my friends. It’s a really odd festival to be at and we just had a really good time. It’s the best festival I think.
PB : Did you meet any big bands?
RJ : Not really ! We just hung out with people we knew. I watched the Pet Shop Boys but I didn’t see them back stage.
PB : For your last single, 'All in My Head', you got Saam Farahmand to direct the video. What is the video for 'Photos on My Wall' going to be like?
RJ : The next video is going to be a lot simpler. We had a guy filming us for six months so it should be a lot more straightforward but hopefully it will be just as interesting.
PB : The video for 'All In My Head' was really impressive. Where did the idea for that come from?
RJ : Saam is a director that we have really liked for a long time. He did the video for Electric Six's 'Gay Bar' and the video of George Bush and Tony Blair singing that song to each other. He also did some stuff for MTV2 with video clips and stuff as well as the Klaxons' first video so we just asked him to do it and then we just sat in a room and came up with the idea for it, all of us together. He managed to pull it off really well. It looks really good I think. We were pretty lucky that he wanted to work with us and we wanted to work with him.
PB : Did it take long to put together?
RJ : It was done in about a month. Filming didn’t take that long because it was all planned out so meticulously. We did two days of filming in the middle of a tour but it probably took a month in total to get it done. I don’t think that’s too long, but most videos are done in like a few days.
PB : Do you prefer playing live to recording?
RJ : Yeah, a lot more, I don’t really like recording very much, I mean once you’ve got the end result it's all good and once you’ve finished recording the basics you get to focus on new things for a track which is good, but I just find it so boring going over the same stuff again and again. A live show is a lot more fun and you don’t have to worry about things as much. It’s a bit more throwaway just because people are not going to be listening to it over and over again so you're just trying to play well and have a good time basically.
PB : You’ve got a mini tour coming up. Are you looking forward to it?
RJ : Yeah, I’m looking forward to going places I’ve never been to really. Hopefully things will turn out well and people will want to come to the shows, I’m just really looking forward to doing that and also doing a bigger tour next year.
PB : Do you all get along when you tour ? You and Tom are brothers. Are there any arguments on tour?
RJ : When you’re on tour you’re confined together quite a lot, but there is still enough time to have to yourself. If you can’t be arsed to speak to anyone you can just go to sleep in the van or something. We don’t get too annoyed at each other. But I guess with everyone else I make more of an effort because I’m not related to them, but with Tom I get annoyed a lot more easily just because he’s my brother. It's all fine though usually.
PB : You have been with Brille Records for about a year now. How did you end up working with them?
RJ : Do you know the magazine 'Art Rocker' ? We played an Art Rocker club night at the Buffalo Bar in London and they were just there. Someone had told them to check us out so they did. Then they came to see us at 'In the City' in Manchester and we signed with them in November last year. It just came about through them checking out our music really.
We did a limited edition EP with them back in March but that was really limited, just like 3,000 copies or something. It sold out pretty quick, but 'All In My Head' was our first proper single.
PB : That must have been pretty exciting to just get talent spotted at a gig.
RJ : Yeah, it was quite a weird situation to be in. If you’re in a band that people start talking about then you get a lot of labels coming to your gigs but Brille just offered us a record deal pretty much straightaway. They didn’t mess around like a lot of the other labels seamed to do. Some of the bands on their label are just amazing so we went with them. They are just a great label basically. It’s weird when people say "It must be so surreal being in the situation you are in", but when you are living it, it's just like anything really, because you know things are happening so far in advance you don’t really get as overwhelmed by stuff.
But when we saw the video back for 'All In My Head'. I was like "Damn that looks amazing." Saam just pulled it off and made it look amazing. But it was really cool when we signed with them though, and it was surreal when we were signing our record deal. We just went out and got really drunk.
PB : Brille are quite a new label. Is that right ?
RJ : Yeah they are a really new label. In 'NME' it said they are funded by Warner but they are funded by EMI, so they are quite a small label but they are kind of half owned by EMI which is pretty cool for us.
PB : Was it scary signing with a new label?
RJ : Not really because the guy who runs it, Louis Silverman, he used to be head of A and R at XL Records, so he signed the White Stripes and Basment Jaxx. He’s got a really good track record. So although XL is really big, I guess he sort of ran his bit there. Him and Paul who now run the label just know exactly what they are doing. Hopefully it’ll turn out alright and we’ll sell some records. I guess because we know they are funded by EMI and they have the same money as any other label has it wasn’t really a scary step or anything.
PB : You also released some stuff with Young and Lost Club,
RJ : Yeah our first ever single, 'Small Town Girl', before we signed with Brille,
PB : How did that come about?
RJ : That thing called Friendster on the Internet. Before MySpace was cool there was Friendster. They were on there and I sent them a message. They liked our music so they just asked to release a single. It just went from there really. We were lucky just to be at the right place at the right time basically.
PB : What should we expect from yor debut album next year?
RJ : All of the songs that have been released are going to be on there, and a lot of the demos that have been on the internet will be on there as well. There are only a handful of people that heard that stuff though. We are recording at the moment so hopefully it will all sound really professional, but true to our sound if that makes any sense.
It should be good. We are really excited about it, so people are going to like it hopefully.
PB : Is there added pressure for it to do well because of all the good press you’ve been getting, like getting the coverage in the 'NME'?
RJ : Yeah, the single reviewers have been writing about us for a while there but in terms of features they have only just picked up on us. I think it should do pretty well though. We’re starting to sell out our gigs. I don’t feel any pressure because of good press though, I just feel like if people have put faith in us, like with the label signing us, it would be good to do well for them.
PB : Was it strange seeing yourself in the 'NME' ?
RJ : Yeah, we had got back from Sweden a couple of days earlier, and I knew it was going to be in there but to go in a shop and to see my own face staring back at me it was a bit surreal really. That’s one of the few things that I’ve seen written about us. People say that there’s loads of good press about us but I never really get to see it around.
PB : Your first gig was with the Mystery Jets, how did that happen?
RJ : Well that was our second gig. Our first ever gig was put on by one of our friends in Cambridge. He went to uni there, so we played this gig and it was terrible, I guess all the people at Cambridge University just didn’t want to listen to new music or something. I think they wanted to listen to cover bands or something because we cleared the room. But the second gig we played was with the Mystery Jets and it was amazing. The gig was just packed out. It came about because their singer Blaine Harrison and I went to art college together so we’d known them for quite a while before, and Steve and I supported them at a couple of their first gigs, when no one really knew about them. So it just came about by us being mutual friends really.
PB : Who would you most like to play a gig with?
RJ : Well recently we were thinking about who we would want to go on tour with and we were thinking the Rapture would be really cool or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It is always fun to play with our friends' bands. I should probably say like a classic band or something, but it would be cool to play with any of those bands.
PB : There is a rumour going around that 'Small Town Girl' is about Keira Knightly. Is that true?
RJ : No it’s not. It’s about another girl I liked that was at our college, It’s a bit jokey really. Yhe lyrics are not as good as some of the other songs. They don’t mean as much. Keira Knightly went to the sixth form we went to called East College in Moredun, but I didn’t know her or anything. It's just coincidental that the lyrics I made up for that could be transferred on to her.
PB : Did you all go to the same school. Is that where you met?
RJ : Yeah, Steve and I went to middle school together, then Steve, Joel and I went to high school together. We were all in the same class then Joel and I went to college together, and Tom is my little brother, so we’ve all hung out together since we were quite young.
PB : What made you choose music over art school?
RJ : When I did my art foundation it was like the best year of my life. I had so much fun. But then when I went to uni I just didn’t really enjoy my course that much. All my friends have stuck at it and they said the second year was much better. But I just didn’t really enjoy uni or where I’d moved to. I missed London quite a lot I think, and then the band started taking off so I just quit and kept doing music just because I didn’t like art school really. We had the opportunity to try and make a go at trying to make music and it’s just worked out which was really lucky really.
PB : Thank you.
The photographs that accompany this article originally appeared on the Supersweet site www.supersweet.org. Thank you to them for the loan of these.