Gomez, an eminent and groovy band from Great Britain who continually defies classification, will be in Seattle tonight for a headlining show at the Showbox. I had the good fortune to see their two Seattle dates last year at the Crocodile, and both shows were supreme. The band has a new album out, Whatever’s On Your Mind, and it’s crucially excellent they’re touring behind it. Yesterday I talked with Gomez drummer and one of Gomez’s songwriters, Olly Peacock about the new music and what exactly what the band is up to.
What is your favorite thing about the new album?
Olly Peacock: A thing that we like the most about it is that, for the first time, took our time and looked at possibly our weakness and tried to correct them. We tried be as precise as we could be and have everything finished before recording.
Members of Gomez are living in all different areas now?
OP: I live in New York, Ian lives in Los Angeles and three of the guys still live in Brighton. I moved to New York (Brooklyn) about five years ago. I love it. It’s a great city – it’s always inspiring. There’s people carrying around guitars and you’re never far away from music.
Your last album was made with a view to performing the songs live, did you try to do that again with Whatever’s On Your Mind?
OP: Because of the way the songs were created and we all used the same studio setups, it meant that [we‘d] see the songs on our computers exactly the same. We recorded a lot of the elements before going into the studio. The live element was less so probably on this record than any other record. At the same time because we put in so much effort to make the structure right, I think it made the songs feel like there was a synergy.
You and Ian Ball were part of Operation Aloha, a fourteen-member band. Do you think of doing this type of project again?
OP: It would be wonderful to do it again. [Getting] to any part of the world where we could all be there at the same time is a little difficult. It was a great project, sort of a happy accident.
I really liked your version of “Waltzing Matilda.”
OP: It’s quite unique. . . sort of Tom Waits. . .
You recorded the new album in Dave Matthews’ studio in Virginia?
OP: It was perfect for us in the sense that it was remote, hidden away,we were forced to concentrate. Beautiful scenery with lots of crazy animals.
Were there deer?
OP: Yes. Lots of unusual sounds would emanate from the woods in the middle of the night. Every now and again we’d go off in the car and do some off-roading and get stuck in rivers.
Olly Peacock of Gomez, Seattle 2010 – photo by Dagmar
How did you select Sam Farrar as your producer? Did you meet him when he produced Operation Aloha?
OP: That’s where I first met him. Ian had met him a while back, before in LA. Over the years we crossed paths and when it came to choose who we might want to help construct the record, Sam seemed like the perfect fit that somehow eluded us before. He’s somebody who knew our music inside out, he’s an instrumentalist – a lot of producers are very good at arranging and chopping up songs, but we need the help where they can express themselves musically. Or literally going into the room and playing the song. He has a mind that immediately clicked with us.
Who came up with getting Luke Steele (of Empire of the Sun) to do guest vocals on the album?
OP: Ian gave him a call. We actually worked with him a long time ago in Australia, when he was in The Sleepy Jackson. We toured with him in Australia and occasionally we’d bump into him London. We thought his vocal would be perfect on the song because nobody can sing that high. It took a long time to track him down. He’d disappeared in New Zealand and we finally managed to get him to record it and send the files over. We just saw him a week ago, in good spirits.
The video for “Whatever’s On Your Mind” is cool, but it looks like a miserable shoot.
OP: That was on the journey over to Belfast. It was the worst day we could have possibly chosen. At the same time it probably makes it ten times better than if it was a nice day.
Did you start in music as a drummer?
OP: [In a band] through no real choice of my own we kind of told each other we were going to play. At the time I fancied playing bass. Another guy in the band wanted me to try drums. I got told what to do and I struggled through it until I could do it.
I saw an interview with you and Ian Ball, who talked about the West Coast being great to tour. Why?
OP: It’s an easy distance, it’s nice and laid back. We’re stopping off in good towns all the way down. We have good crowds. A lot of people enjoy what we’re doing on the West Coast particularly, and we fit in with the mentality. Good vibes.
interview by Dagmar