Up Next: The Goa Express

Introducing the raucous five-piece taking their steady ascent one opportunity at a time

It’s hard to figure out The Goa Express. From the indie rock lamentations of ‘Second Time’ to the energising post-punk of debut single ‘The Day’, their music is an eclectic mix of influences indicative of a young group finding their voice – which is exactly what they are. Not afraid to experiment and in no rush to home in on a particular sound, their focus is instead on making music and enjoying it.

It’s an infectious enjoyment. From sessions at Abbey Road studios to endorsements from BBC Radio 1 DJs, the five-piece are finding a footing in the indie scene and gathering devoted fans along the way. Now they’re preparing to play on the Revive Live tour, supporting the kind of venues that launched them when they were still figuring out how to make it all work.  

The Revive Live tour is all about supporting local grassroots venues. What does that mean to you?

It means playing places that sort of initially got us up and running. There were quite a few along the way, from quite small towns in the UK. It will definitely be nice to go and give something back to the places that helped us start.

We’re halfway through 2022, somehow. What has this year meant for you?

Much the same as last year, the year before that, and the year before that. I mean, we just continue to sort of do what we do. And then hopefully, as time progresses, people get on board with it and we push it in the right direction. Every year is the same. We’ve just got to keep moving along.

We all enjoyed playing across Europe, and we always enjoy travelling and going around and meeting people and having a good time out. This tour will be really fun because we just got off tour and it’s going to be really nice to get straight back on tour! Because it sucks when you’ve got nothing to do and you’re just sitting around waiting to tour.

THE GOA EXPRESS - Everybody In The UK

Where did The Goa Express start?

We met in school in Burnley when we were about, I don’t know, maybe 13 or 14. I moved school and met all them there. For a while we started knocking around and there wasn’t much going on. That was sort of our incentive – to have something to do. I would start messing around and playing some guitars and playing some drums and then it naturally evolved from there. We just needed something to do and somewhere to hang out.

When did it switch from being a hobby to a career path?

Probably when we were first introduced to the Rough Trade management lot, maybe four years ago now. That was like, “Oh wow, other people actually like this too, not just us!” And then we thought, “Okay, we need to step up the game a little bit and give this a proper shot.”

What was your first official gig like?

Messy. Probably not an official gig. We had a friend who used to own like a vintage store in the center of Burnley and one night we piled pretty much everyone from college into the upstairs and threw a little show up there which was really fun. All our first shows were like that – they were in people’s garages, in friend’s houses, in the upstairs of shops… It would get pretty rowdy to be fair, because we had all our friends who obviously behind us even though we weren’t very good. There’d be maybe 50/60 people in a room that could definitely not hold 50 or 60.

Was there a show that made you think, “okay, this has switched from just playing for friends now”?

Maybe playing the Golden Lion in Todmorden, which is also a pretty small venue, but that was an initial step forward. Then the next step was Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and then London and Brighton.

If you hadn’t started The Goa Express, what would you be doing now?

I’ve no idea. Probably not much. I think the one thing that binded us as friends from a very young age is that none of us really wanted a job, so this was like the most logical thing.

What did you listen to growing up?

A lot of 60s stuff. My mum was a bit of a hippie, my dad was a punk. They weren’t together. One was into really chilled folk music and 1960s California stuff, and then one was into loads of British punk. So, a good mix of stuff that was quite calming and soothing and then stuff that was the complete opposite of that.


What are you listening to at the moment?

I’ll have a look! I was listening to Django Reinhardt all day today, because that’s a nice acoustic flamenco guitar, and it’s quite old and you don’t have to really pay much attention to it. It’s just nice in the background. And then quite a lot of French house stuff that makes you feel pretty up and ready for the day when it’s nice and sunny.

How would you describe your sound?

I think we have a good mix between things that are quite in your face and hard to ignore, and then stuff that’s quite melancholy and melodic. I don’t know – a mix between 60s and 90s stuff.

Is there a track you’ve released that you think sums you up best as a band?

I think that’s the thing – we are quite hard to sum up. I mean, Steve Lamacq actually said recently that, you know, when you hear our tracks on Spotify, they don’t seem to go together that well and it doesn’t make much sense. But then when you see them played together live, one after the other, then it will start to make perfect sense.

Why do you think that is?

Just because we’re messing around and playing around with various producers. All the tracks have been recorded, all the singles that are out at the moment, have been pretty much experiments, and we’ve been trying to find the right producer to progress into the future with. People have different recording techniques, people like to try things that others don’t. So yeah, each track has come out and they all sounded quite different to one another. When we find the person that works. I think we’ll know straight away and we’ll take it from there. Right now we’re just bothered about keeping writing tracks.

Is there a band that you’d particularly like to open for one day?

I’m not too sure. I don’t think any of us really think like this. I think we’re happy with most of the opportunities we’re presented with, and we don’t seem to be too shy in front of the people who are doing quite well. I think we feel like we have a claim to be where we are and even further up. We’ll play for anyone who will take us and doesn’t mind a little bit of trouble and chaos along the way. We ain’t too bothered about who we’re playing with. As long as there’s something likable about the music, we’re pretty easy to play with anyone.

And what’s next for you guys?

We’ve got a lot of festivals this summer! Beyond that there’ll definitely be, I’d imagine, two more singles and then we will hopefully sign a deal. And then from that moment, I would imagine things will accelerate quite quickly.

The Goa Express will be playing various dates on the Revive Live tour throughout August and September. Find tickets here.