The Goon Sax have done a lot of exploring of late. On their debut album, ‘Up To Anything’, the Brisbane trio navigate through such teenage exploits as young love, haircuts and trying to find their place in the world. Now, drummer Riley Jones is doing a bit of exploring of her own in a new city. “I’m in Melbourne; I’ve just moved here,” Riley says.
“It’s good, but I miss playing. I go back to Brisbane all the time to play and practice and stuff. I’m not really settled, I guess. I moved down for a change of scenes, and we’re moving overseas in a few months time, so it’s just an interim thing.”
The Goon Sax formed in high school. Riley joining the band happened after she took a month of drum lessons. “Louis [Forster] and I met at that school, and I met James [Harrison] through Louis. They were a band before that that they didn’t take too seriously. They got together and started playing before I even started playing drums.
“I started playing with no intention of joining a band. They’d been trying a few drummers, but nothing really gelled. They’d been playing guitar for a while, but not very well.
"So we kind of fit together nicely. It didn’t make sense for them to have some rocky drummer who shredded through all the songs.”
The Goon Sax’s sound is very simple, featuring jangling guitars backed by bass and drums, and conversational vocals. The band’s gift for bright melodies and clever-yet-sensitive lyrics has won them a strong following.
Riley and Louis’ friendship formed from a mutual love of bands that greatly influenced their sound, including The Pastels, Aztec Camera and Belle And Sebastian.
However, there is one Brisbane band who they share a sunshine-y sound and genetics with; The Go-Betweens, whose singer Robert Forster is Louis’ father. “None of us drive, so he often picks us up after shows and makes sure we’re there.
“One of his tips: to have a shirt to change into after a show. I think people go for the visual comparison; we’ve got a female drummer and two frontmen who both sing songs. After forming the band we were like, ‘Oh no. We kinda walked into that. What were we thinking?’
“Now there’s nothing we can do, but we couldn’t imagine the band any other way. It’s been good in a lot of ways; it makes people pay attention. But we have to remind ourselves that people wouldn’t like us if we were a bad band.”
2017 will be a busy time for The Goon Sax, with the trio embarking on a run of shows in March. After the tour, the band will tour as support for Teenage Fanclub’s Australian tour, head back to Europe for a tour, move the band to Berlin, and record their follow-up album. “I think we’re all coming into our own, especially the guys as songwriters.
“It’ll be nice to put some new songs in there people will know. There aren’t any songs about haircuts or telephones this time. It’s a bit more serious, but still about the same things: sad songs, heartache, that sort of thing.”
The Goon Sax ShowsSat 25 Feb - Woolly Mammoth (Brisbane)
Wed 8 Mar - The Triffid (supporting Teenage Fanclub)
Fri 10 Mar - Twilight at Taronga Zoo (Sydney, supporting Teenage Fanclub)
Sat 11 Mar - Lobrow Gallery & Bar (Canberra)
Sun 12 Mar - North Wollongong Hotel (Wollongong)