THE TOP BOOST (interview)

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Sweet Sweet Music talked with Hunter Gogo about the release of the new ep, Turn Around.

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last ep?

The most exciting part about making the Turn Around EP was how it constantly evolved. Almost everything ended up different than we thought it would. We used instruments we never planned to use; we would come into the studio thinking we were going to record a guitar track but end up recording a minimoog synthesizer line. The spontaneity of the recording sessions shaped this record. It was exciting to see how we changed and grew as a band while recording the EP.

If we want to know you, what song do we have to listen to? And why?

The title track, Turn Around, would have to be the standout song for the band. Particularly in regards to production and arrangement. At one point we didn’t even want to record it, but when we rewrote the lyrics it was the start of an amazing process in the studio. The track has the dreamy, psychedelic jangle we wanted, but managed to bring an unforeseen dark, swirling depth to the record. We knew we had made something unusual, and that we must treat each song with the same care. The sessions afterwards were produced with Turn Around in mind, and that’s when the record really came together.

What’s the story behind the band name?

We spent a long time thinking of several different names.  Some were already taken, and some just didn’t suit what we were going for. We needed something that we could identify our sound with. One summer night on the roof of the studio, we stumbled upon a great idea. Our favourite guitar amp ,the Vox AC30 had all along been holding the proper name for the band. A special input on the AC30 called “Top Boost” essentially allows more tone control for your guitar, and specifically an increase in brilliance. It seemed like the perfect idea. “The Top Boost” just popped into our heads. We felt it related to our love of jangly guitars, old gear, and way of recording. It had to be the name!

Turn Around has been described as perfect power pop, as if it were made in the 80s. Was that the sound you were looking for?

We are massively influenced by 1960’s pop music. It naturally comes out that way while composing. What we went for was just what we thought sounded right. To build each song properly we put together a sound collage filled with our favourite instruments. We carefully placed everything in the appropriate spots. The Rickenbacker 12 string became a big part of our sound very quickly. The original idea we had was to make a shimmering, psychedelic record. It ended up even more dreamy than we had hoped.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

We feel like we haven’t seen much of any music industry yet. It hasn’t really affected us. We mainly use the internet to get ourselves across to people. That is a big help for sure.

She tells you to decide on a 5-song mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on.

The Rain, The Park and Other Things – The Cowsills

Hello It’s Me – Todd Rundgren

She’s American – The 1975

Time Of The Season – The Zombies

Never My Love – The Association

What’s up for the next couple of months?

We plan on playing shows, while at the same time working on our next record. There are tons of new ideas and tricks we have planned. We really want to make the most of our live show to give people a different experience than they get from listening to our record. It’s all going to be very exciting. We promise!

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Sweet Sweet Music’s Most Popular Q&A’s

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Just for fun. And we had a lot of fun this year. Great answers. GREAT ANSWERS!

Thank you all. See you in 2017.

So for re-reading purposes … “our” 5 most popular  Q&A’s of 2016.

 

5. The Loved

I also have this quote I picked up somewhere, sometime…I put it on a note that hangs on my wall: “Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” Both of these lines mean something, form a bit of the base of how my songwriting should work.

Re-read here

4. Terry Malts

We’ve always had a deeper affinity for UK music than for American music. There’s a romance and charisma to it that Americans can’t naturally reproduce. It’s got style.

Re-read here

3. Ed Ryan

My favorite lyric writers in any genre tend to go deep and a little dark. Like most songwriters there’s a fair amount of romantic relationship stuff but I like to go beyond just boy/girl stuff as much as I can. Davies, Townshend and Hiatt are such great storytellers while staying emotionally true…they are my gold standard.

Re-read here

2. The Top Boost

We are massively influenced by 1960’s pop music. It naturally comes out that way while composing. What we went for was just what we thought sounded right. To build each song properly we put together a sound collage filled with our favorite instruments.

Re-read here

1. Nick Piunti

The song is actually about a relationship that ran its course, but using the analogy of a “one hit wonder” band that couldn’t follow it up. The relationship couldn’t survive past the infatuation, love at first site stage. Actually a true story of sorts.

Re-read here

PASSPORT: Lee Ketch (Mooner)

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What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

There are a few moments during the making of a record where it starts to come alive or turn from something that was in your head or only existed in the practice space into a real record. Usually, they occur right after the band has recorded the basic tracks (the instrumental performance of drums, guitar, bass) or finished the rough mixes. Any time we could take a step back and appreciate the progress from a bigger picture we all got collectively excited. It was a nice boost of morale to counteract the times that we got bogged down in details or nitpicky stuff.

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

“Wide Open Road” by The Triffids is my favorite song. It’s really pretty.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

I have only been interacting with “the industry” in a limited capacity for a couple of years but I get the impression that no one has any idea what they’re doing. For Mooner, it means we can do whatever we like as a business with no one really getting in our way but there’s also no organized path for making our business sustainable. I think the music business tried the organized, top-down, draconian method for a while and it failed miserably. Now the industry is a mix of leftover show biz types who still want their artists to lip sync their performances and staunch DIY groups who would rather to go to the pressing plant and press their own records than have someone else do anything for them. All camps are competing for the same money and it’s strange to watch the ways in which they try to cooperate. I have a job outside of music so I don’t have to take the industry side too seriously.

Who is the best musician in the world nobody has heard of yet? And why will this change very soon?

The Vulgar Boatmen are one of the greatest rock bands in history. They should be counted among greats like The Replacements, Velvet Underground or Big Star.  Chicago’s Arts & Letters is one of my favorite artists; he does 60s pop and baroque pop very well. Iowan powerpop band Twins, however, will hopefully be big within the next year.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixed tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

“You Don’t Know Me” by Cindy Walker five times in a row.

What’s up for the next couple of months?

We’re opening for the Flamin’ Groovies on November 12th at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago then writing and recording the new record in March.