The word ‘Goldrush’ is usually associated with the gold fever that erupted in the United States in 1848. After the discovery of a great gold mine at Sutter's Mill in California, the lives of many people, who either had already been seeking for gold or simply with the vision of fortune went on gold seeking, were changed.

By coincidence, on its 150th anniversary in 1998 , we can note the beginning of another Goldrush, but in this case an Oxford-based band...

The group’s original name was Whispering Bob and was formed by brothers Robin and Joe Bennett and their friend Jeff Clayton. The group released two singles and a mini album 'Another Fine Mess' under this moniker. The band decided to start up their own record label, Truck Records, and also began organizing their own annual festival - the Truck Festival. The main reason for this, as they said when the festival started, was "mainstream festivals are too commercial and predictable, and anyway the band can't afford the train fares, so we decided to get our own off the ground."

2001 saw the band joined by other 2 musicians , guitarist Garo, and drummer G. At this point the band decided to change their name to Goldrush. Since Autumn 2002 Truck Records has owned its own recording studio.

The band themselves have been playing more and more gigs around the UK. Their music has earned many fans with its laid back tunes and soothing music. Robin's and Joe's vocals perfectly flow with the music.  After releasing their first full-length debut album 'Don't Bring Me Down' in September of last year, Goldrush were offered a tour as a support band with the Flaming Lips. There also have been shows with Elbow, Low and most recently the Go-Betweens. The band’s latest record, ‘Extended Play’, a seven track EP, came out in January

Pennyblackmusic spoke to front man, Robin Bennett, about the band's history, the Truck record label and the Truck festival which is becoming more and more known and widely respected each year.

PB: When was the ever first time you become involved in music in any form?

RB: I was a late starter- the first instrument I played was the flute aged 11. I remember listening to ‘A Hard Day's Night’ and ‘Sgt Pepper’ as a very young child though..

PB: How do you work on writing music and lyrics? Is only one of you the songwriter or do you all collaborate ?

RB: We have a number of methods- sometimes we bring ideas into rehearsals, sometimes we just make something up on the spot. We record a lot of ideas on 4-track. I tend to write the lyrics, which often takes the longest time. I like to get a feel for what the lyrics should be about from the music.

PB: A lot of your songs are a lot about relationships. How many of them are based on personal experience and have you ever written a song that you felt was too private to be sung?

RB: I've found that the times when music means most are when you're finding things difficult, so these are the times I tend to describe, and I think it's important to write from personal experience for the songs to have any real meaning. Having said that, I like songs that leave some ambiguity so they can take on different meanings- you don't have to be obvious in a song. There are times when I don't want to sing certain songs because they're too personal, but once a song has been written it takes on a life of it's own, so you can't just stop singing them..

PB: Goldrush have supported many popular bands such as the Flaming Lips and the Go-Betweens. How did that happen and in what way, if any, were these shows different to your regular headlining gigs ?

RB: Some gigs come through our live agent, but the Flaming Lips came through them liking our album, which was exciting. It's always exciting to play with a band you admire. It can be tough to win over their audiences sometimes, but that's part of the challenge..

PB: Beside being in the band you also run a record label, have organized Truck Festival and have your own recording studio. How many people are involved in that and who they are?

RB: The label is run from an office in Oxford. My friends Paul and PC keep things running, and before that there was Chloe. There are always work experience and other helpers passing through! We also work with various PR companies in London when we can afford it.

At the studio, our trusty engineer Rowland records the bands, or we do so ourselves. The festival: is run by everyone I have already mentioned, but a whole collection of farmers, teachers, accountants, vicars and others also help us with this.

PB: Could you tell me more about Truck Festival you organize. What is the capacity of the place and is it popular with music fans?

RB: I was looking at some photos of the first one in 1998 and it was tiny- literally a few bands playing on the back of a truck. Now it's a proper festival with tents, overnight camping, and a great line-up. The main stage is still 2 flatbed trucks (though it now has a beautiful roof). About 3,000 people come- and almost all say it's the best weekend of the year!

PB: What are your plans for the near future as regards Goldrush? Is there anything you would want to reach or do?

RB: We're working on new songs, which we hope to record between now and October, hopefully with Dave Fridmann, who has worked with Mogwai, the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev, being involved at some stage.I was saying to Garo yesterday that we're probably the only 5 people who will like our new album, but that's all we really want!

PB: Have you got more gigs coming as well ?

RB: We're doing a tour in June with Mark Gardener (ex-Ride-Ed). We'll play a set and then we'll play as Mark's backing band on some of his songs and some of Ride’s songs, so that's really exciting as we're all Ride fans.The dates are on www.markgardener.com.

PB: So far, what do you see as you biggest personal success in music and what are you proud of the most?

RB: The most satisfying thing is when you realise a song you have put out that really means something to someone else- that's a great thing. The aftershow part at the Truck Festival is also always the best part, when all the bands get together and play terrible drunken covers!

PB: Thank you.













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