Amrit Virdi


Burnley bred five-piece, The Goa Express, approach the industry with an air of assurance as their friendship and love for music seamlessly unites them. Amrit Virdi chatted with vocalist James Clarke as the band prepare to head out on tour.

‘’We were all into music and decided it got a bit boring just listening to it, so we started to do it ourselves,’’ Clarke reveals in relation to the band’s origins. Clarke and his brother Joe who became the keyboardist for the band met the other members, Joey Stein, Naham Muzaffar, Sam Launder and co. in school. They worked extremely hard then and continue to do so now, to garner success.

everyone sort of decided that this was what we were going to do

Growing up in the band throughout school, college and university, juggling it can undoubtedly bring some struggles. ‘’It was as hard to manage as it is now, but everyone sort of decided that this was what we were going to do. We all went to university and got degrees and carried it through. It was hard as in you denied opportunities, but it was also positive, helpful, and rewarding as in we do this alongside each other, and there’s always someone to turn to.’’ This comradery has kept the band close as they develop their musicality. When asked whether he has any advice for up-and-coming bands, Clarke passionately states, ‘’don’t really say no to anything. And if you go and play a show and it doesn’t turn out as well as you think it would then that’s just the way it goes.’’

the band have an interesting way of varying their style from song to song to showcase their talent

Upon a first listen to The Goa Express, the feel-good indie-rock sound engulfs you, yet the band have an interesting way of varying their style from song to song to showcase their talent, evidenced in the more traditionally stylistic indie vocals in Everybody In The UK differing to the angsty deliverance of Overpass. Yet the band never plan to conform their songs to any ideal. ‘’I’ve always said the songs take on a theme or feeling themselves, and we are there to accommodate how they turn out. We’re all happy to let things unravel and see where they take us. I guess overtime things will become a bit more experimental or go back to simplistic sort of roots’’. With the wealth of musical influences that the band list ranging from the 60’s and 70’s to now, and the most prominent being The Brian Jonestown Massacre who they saw at a mere 17 years old, seeing how their sound develops overtime will be extremely intriguing.

‘’I feel like the longer you spend trying to work out what it’s supposed to be, the worse the tune gets, so we try to keep it very simple,’’ Clarke reveals when discussing their creative process. ‘’I typically write the tunes on an acoustic guitar. It would usually start in a bedroom on an acoustic guitar. I’d come up with maybe the bassline or lead melody as well and take it to the rest of the boys in the rehearsal room.’’ With their small but ever-growing discography sounding as if it was designed to be played live, the band are well prepped for their upcoming string of headline dates and festivals.

With plans for the tour in full swing, fans are excited to hear their favourite tracks live which Clarke finds ‘’wicked’’, yet he admits ‘’I like playing the new stuff more than the old stuff, because its more exciting and you never know what the reaction will be like.’’ The band know to not take their incredible touring life for granted, noting that London, Manchester and Brighton are ‘’always good fun,’’ yet they still take ‘’every show as it comes, and make a night and a good time out of each of them.’’

The only way is up for The Goa Express, as they have big plans for the future. ‘’Ideally, we all decided to get into this because we want to go abroad and travel and see different places. Anywhere abroad, European festivals are always really fun, and hopefully we’ll get to America.’’ Musically, Clarke assures that their ‘’ultimate plan for the future is to put a record together that sort of stays seminal and stands the test of time, rather than rush it and put it out and expect amazingness straight away.’’ Whilst a full studio record is eagerly anticipated, in the meantime you can catch the band at Chameleon, Nottingham on May 10th.

Amrit Virdi

Featured image courtesy of Louis Butler. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes made to this image.

In-article image courtesy of @thegoaexpress via instagram.com. No changes made to this image.

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