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Q&A: The Gooch Palms

The Gooch Palms

Newcastle duo The Gooch Palms made the move most Australian musicians dream of, ditching the mother country and heading to sunny Los Angeles. Currently calling California home, the self-proclaimed “shit-pop” duo have been hard at work writing and recording their upcoming album, ‘Introverted Extroverts’ which is due for release in June.

They must have been feeling a little homesick though because they decided to come home for a ‘Return To Aus’ tour, bringing their eccentric and charismatic style and presence to stages all over the country. They only have a few remaining shows left on the tour and we got to have a chat to them before they wrap everything up.

First things first, why ‘The Gooch Palms’?

Unfortunately there’s no crazy story behind the name. We get asked this question all the time but it’s just two random words put together. There aren’t many band names that aren’t already taken these days so I guess we just wanted to make sure we didn’t accidently steal anyone else’s name. And no one else would be stupid enough to call themselves The Gooch Palms!

Now you’re based in LA, what do you miss most about Australia?

Savory bread. The bread in America is really sweet and sometimes all you want is to smear your (tiny $8 jar of) Vegemite that you bought from the “World Market” on some savory bread!! That and the beaches. And Australian beer. We sometimes have to resort to drinking Fosters to taste that bitter Australian bite that makes Aussie beer so good. Oh and the Southerlies and thunderstorms that blow in after a scorching hot day in Newcastle to cool everything down. In LA, there’s no cool wind or rain to come and save the day and in the heat of the summer, it’s one brutally hot day after the next and we ain’t got no air conditioner!

Your image is quite unique. Where do you find inspiration for your image and sound?

We’ve had a few different outfits and costumes over the years that I’ve just whipped up for different tours and just pulled ideas from random places to create different looks but we’ve recently just gone back to basics with matching Gooch Palms Adidas jackets and somewhat normal clothes. Sound-wise it goes back to when we started out and we were really into other minimal bands like The Gories and King Kahn & BBQ Show. Just watching bands with 2 or 3 members, no bass and limited instruments make great music was pretty motivational. We were chomping at the bit to give it a crack ourselves and couldn’t wait until we could play our instruments properly before we started playing shows. Haha those early shows would have been terrible!

Your new album ‘Introverted Extroverts’ it set to drop in June, what can we expect?

We’re really excited about the new album. We recorded it with a really great producer in a really great recording studio in Michigan and is the best we’ve ever heard ourselves recorded. It’s definitely a step up to “mid-fi” and the energy levels are at an all-time high, even though I got food poisoning in the middle of the session! It will have 13 songs and is a mixture of happy and sad tracks. Although most of the sad ones still sound happy and upbeat!

The first single Tiny Insight is a rough and ready mid-fi charmer, what’s your song writing process? Is it collaborative?

Leroy records everything. Whether he’s singing in the shower or playing guitar in our bedroom, he records all his ideas on his phone. And he’s doing it multiple times a day. He then develops the ideas into guitar parts that he then turns into song ideas. Most of the time I like what he’s got but sometimes I don’t and he’ll have to convince me. I didn’t like We Get By at first but he kept pushing for it and it is now our most popular track! So I try and stay pretty open minded or he reminds me of We Get By and how he was right all along.

We never come to the table with lyrics first, that’s too hard! With Tiny Insight, we had a general concept of wanting to write a song about how Leroy likes doing “regular guy” things like watch footy and surfing etc. The lyrics come pretty easy if we have a concept. Once we have lyrics we just go into the rehearsal room and I play whatever suits the song on drums. We then record a demo and see if it’s working as a complete song. If it makes the cut we try it out live to see what the audience thinks. If it gets a good reaction, it’s a keeper.

You guys are currently on your Return To Aus tour! Tell us your favourite tour story.

There are so many! So many crazy parties and meeting famous people and playing wild shows but the most recent thing that happened that was really special in an awe inspiring way was seeing a huge meteorite slice through the sky with a big long glowing tail for a few seconds while we were driving late one night through Montana on our last US tour. Experiences like that are the main reason we love touring so much, you see so many amazing things and places between the shows that you wouldn’t see otherwise.

What’s the weirdest thing a fan has done?

Get two palm trees tattooed on his gooch (perineum) in order to have a literal Gooch Palms tattoo. Now that’s commitment!

The Gooch Palms are known for rowdy, intimate shows. Can it get a little freaky sometimes?

Yes. Often. Leroy has crowd surfed naked over people’s hands, faces and open mouths and not surprisingly, folks can get a little too friendly sometimes! We’ve had naked guys jump up on stage and girls flashing us while we play. We definitely have fans that want to get freaky with us as well. I’ve had girls and boys try and make out with me while I’m drumming. I think we might give off a “let’s get freaky” vibe. Haha it definitely gets us into trouble sometimes.

What’s next for The Gooch Palms in 2016?

Once we finish up this Australian tour, which has been AMAZING (thanks Australia!), we’re heading back to the US for a tour with our pals Guantanamo Baywatch to and from SXSW then playing some local shows around Los Angeles before releasing “Introverted Extroverts” in June and then touring the album worldwide until next year. We’re really looking forward to how crazy and intense this year will be!

The Gooch Palms Remaining Aus. Tour Dates:

Rad – Wollongong, NSW

The Cambridge – Newcastle, NSW

Oxford Art Factory – Sydney NSW

Ticket info HERE