‘You can play folk music even if you get off the 61 bus at The Dingle pub’ – Interview with Goodnight Lenin

With only a few gigs under their belt, Goodnight Lenin are already the talk of Brum Town with their folky west-coast harmonies earning them the headline Lunar Stage slot at this year’s Moseley Folk Festival.

The Northfield five piece were the first band to come in to Blue Whale to film and record live tracks for our In The Belly sessions which, along with their performances filmed in kitchens across the city, have got them a fair bit of notice online. To see how the lads were getting on, we fired over a few questions via email and this is what they threw back:

Your Youtube videos have got a lot of people talking already although your still a relatively new band. Do you think video will soon take over Myspace and other such streaming sites to elevate bands to wider audiences and will we see our first unsigned band break via Youtube soon?

Sammy: “Maybe a band will break on the back of youtube but for the band hearing the music is more important than people seeing us frolic around. The videos are nice, but for us it was about hearing the music played live more than seeing us in person.
“It’s a good medium for something a bit different but ultimately it is about the songs themselves, not the videos that may accompany them. The original videos on Youtube were for the benefit of the band but the response we have had off them has been hard to fathom.”

Northfield is not really renowned for it’s leafy, pastoral folk music, is your music an intentional escapism from the city / surburbia?
Conway: “For us the sound is not an escape from our surroundings, there is beauty if you squint your eyes in the place from time to time. I would count where we come from as part of the inspiration for the band. With age we have come to the realisation that it is far too easy to write about the grim background and barbarity of the residents, instead the fact that creativity can blossom in so many from similar places to Northfield is part of why we want to write. We played the always-brilliant Coffee and Cake Club last month with Jodi Ann Bickley, a spoken word artist from Moseley. For us she defined what is brilliant about Birmingham; originality, craft and a love of her art. She was amazing so check her out if you can.”
“The band focuses heavily upon lyrical content within our songs, we have no drum loops or synths to hide behind, so as artists we live and die by our lyrical craft. We try to embrace history and literature as well as our own experiences when we search for inspiration.

“Without getting into a social rant, I feel that surroundings do not define the person, it is 2010 and you do not have to die in the hole you were born in. You can play folk music or write poetry, even if you get off the 61 bus at The Dingle pub to get home from work.”

What are your plans for 2010?

McCreedy: “We are hoping 2010 is going to be a prosperous year for us. We are just about to go into the studio and record our first single, which will be released through the brilliant Static Caravan label later in 2010.  We are also playing a lot of festivals in the summer. We are lucky enough to have been asked to headline the Lunar stage at Moseley Folk Festival and have a few more festival dates to be announced.

“Individually our plans are as follows:
Sherlock is going to learn to dance in time with music
Fell is going to learn to tie a Windsor knot
Sammy is going to kick his lucozade habit
Conway is going to Haiti with Dec, as in ‘Ant and ……’
McCreedy is playing the lead role in a West End musical.”

Are there any other dictators that you’d like to bid a farewell to?

Sherlock: “What an inspired question choice and one that has created great divison in the Goodnight Lenin camp. We’ve discussed them all – Hitler, Mao, Pinochet, Pol Pot, Castro and Princess Di to name but a few. Ultimately it boils down to just two rogues:

1. Colonel Gaddafi:

Chris Kamara

“Gaddafi’s rubbery exterior and comical hat infuriates us all. Further, his attempts at recreating a Chris Kamara-esque moustache over the years is laughable and downright insulting to Chris himself. As the great man would declare, “It’s unbelievable Jeff!”. It’s high time the UN gave this clown his marching orders.

Colonel Gadaffi

2. Robert Mugabe: Ever since we saw Robert Mugabe driving down the Bristol Rd in a Toyota Yaris we’ve all had an instant dislike for the man (if only it had been a Prius the troubles may have been avoided). At least Gaddafi’s first name is Colonel – it commands respect. Bobby Mug on the other is about as run of the mill as they come.

Robert Mugabe

“After due consideration it appears we have but one choice – Bobby has to go. His failure to cultivate an imposing name renders him an insufficient dictator in our eyes (“Robert is going to get you” doesn’t quite have the same threatening ring to it as Adolf or Fidel). For this reason, and this reason alone, Goodnight Lenin would like to bid a fond farewell to old Bobby and consign him to the wasteland of history…

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2 responses to “‘You can play folk music even if you get off the 61 bus at The Dingle pub’ – Interview with Goodnight Lenin

  1. I like your blog. If you have the time, I think you might enjoy my folk music blog too.

    Check it out:

    Thanks for lookin 🙂

  2. Further to Goodnight Lenin’s keenly made observations about Bobby Mug’s name, I’d like to point out that his surname in reverse is E Ba Gum. Just a little bit too Last of the Summer Wine for him to be taken seriously as a dictator.

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