With an album title of ‘Welcome To Goon Island’, its hardly a surprise that XX Teens were interested in giving the goons at Room13 a warm welcome. Frontman Rich and guitarist Anthony from the band took the time to greet us and go through their album, their plans and what took them so long to get the debut album out in the first place.

R13:‘Welcome To Goon Island’ is the name of your album. How would you sum it up?
R: I like it, it took us quite a long time because we did it twice, there was a ‘live album’ that didn’t work so then we went in the studio with Ross Orton, the producer,
and tried to make something interesting.
A: The idea for Goon Island came from Adam Latham our 6th member and the fella who does all our artwork. As with all our talented friends, we stole from him wholesale.

R13:Is it a welcoming album?
R: It depends who’s coming round. Maybe it’s more like “Welcome to earth!” in Independence Day.
A: Or possibly more dangerous than that like “Welcome to Jurassic Park”

R13:How has the album material been going down live?
R: It’s hard to tell cos I can’t see much through my sunglasses, I just imagine everyone’s singing all the words and crying a bit.
A: Yes that’s right, everyone mouthing the words and crying (Anthony leans forward and whispers • “don’t tell him the truth it’ll break his heart”)

R13:Have the songs evolved on stage from their recorded state yet?
R: A little bit yes, I think some of the songs are better live than on the record so maybe we should make that live album again.
A: This is how it started last time we had that “great” idea to record a live album.

R13:Who would you cite as the major influences on the record?
R: I don’t know about influences, there’s all sorts really. Lyrically I like people like Dr.John or Leroy Young, but I can’t do it like them, no one can.
A: As for the music, generally when I write I quite knowingly take from something, I think a lot of people work that way, well James Murphy does. Of course if you sat down with somebody and said oh this bit I was trying to rip of this etc they may go “oh yeah I see”, but they’d probably think that you were just being obscure. I remember Michael Craig-Martin once saying that artists don’t make new things they just make you see old things in a new way; I guess that’s all you can hope for with music too. But all our old reviews use to just say we sounded like the Fall so I guess I’m failing.

R13:Your first single release was back in 2004, why the wait for the album release?
R: No one wanted us on their label, people would come to talk to us but we always ended up upsetting them. We weren’t arrogant we just didn’t trust anyone, we didn’t see the point, we thought we could do everything ourselves. Maybe we were arrogant. When we met Ben, our manager, he was very honest, he told us we had a reputation and it wasn’t good. We said we just wanted a bit of money to put out an album and he said that’s why people sign record deals. We never thought of it like that.
A: When you do everything yourself it does take you a long time to get anything finished. Working with Simon Green helped us get over a few hang ups we’d acquired over the years. Also working with Barry Seven, although we unfortunately didn’t complete anything, the experience made me realise that I’d have to relinquish a certain amount of control if anything was going to develop.

R13:How did the band react to the quote of “The new Velvet Underground?”?
R: We laughed but then the laughter turned to rage and everyone tried to snap my sunglasses. Luckily I’m much tougher than everyone else so it wasn’t a problem. It was in Artrocker, if they were going to go with the sunglasses they could’ve said Roy Orbison, or U2 or someone, it would’ve been funnier.
A: Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles would have been even better. Hang on a second, apart from U2 they’re all solo artists, and as for U2 that’s BONO, are you trying to tell me something?

R13:You are involved in an Anti-Racism show in August, do you feel bands should have more of a positive influence on people?
R: It’s hard to tell. At Glastonbury this year it seemed like everyone was being political, Jay Z, Jimmy Cliff, Leonard Cohen, Massive Attack, loads of people. It wasn’t like that ten years ago. What’s scary is how squeamish the media can be, a lot of the things people were saying they wouldn’t be allowed to say on the radio. Even our ‘How to Reduce the Chances of Being A Terror Victim’ wasn’t allowed out before the watershed, it was seen as too contentious, -it was public safety advice!

R13:If you could play a gig that was PRO something, what would it be?
R: We really wanted to throw a big beach party for Brian Haw, I’ve talked to him a lot about it but he’s not comfortable with it, he thinks it would be too much about him and not enough about his campaign, he’s probably got a good point.

R13:You’ve got a handful of festival appearances still to come. Do you approach the festival gigs any differently?
R: Yes because most of us are crap at tents and things. Jorgen was in the Norwegian army so he knows his stuff, but for some reason we always ignore his advice. He’ll say sensible things like “If you camp at the bottom of the hill near the river you’ll get flooded and drown” and we say things like “It’ll keep our drinks cold.” Then the tents get flooded so we all go and stay with him in his network of trenches.

R13:What would you say to convince a festival goer to come and check you out?
R: It might be your last chance, we could drown tonight.
A: I’d probably say something like please come see us, I’ll dedicate a song to you, then of course they’d come along looking forward to having someone they’d just met dedicate a song to them, but of course I wouldn’t dedicate it and they wouldn’t have come either.

R13:What are your plans for the rest of the year?
R: We’ve got a few things we want to do. There are some film projects with Simon, the guy who does our videos, and then I suppose we’ll either take the album on tour or write a new one, or maybe both.
A: We’re currently working on a new website that we’ve been meaning to make for some time, check it out www.goonisland.tv

R13:Do you have any ideas for the next album?
R: I think Anthony might be planning to write a symphony.
A: I think Rich is possibly writing a water tight concept album about people on islands.

R13:Have you heard of any “hilarious” mishaps from fans who tried searching your name but found something of a different nature?
R: My mum. She phoned me up; bless her, convinced she was going to get done for pedophilia. Now she keeps saying, “When are you going to change that band name?” I don’t think my dad minded so much.
A: If you google us the first thing you get is our band website, actually everything for pages and pages on google is about us, so if you are looking for porn then don’t blame us that it took you 15 pages of googling to get to it.

R13:Do you have any final messages for our readers?
R: Listen to the songs and see what you think, if you don’t like them go and buy the record so it’s not in the shops, that’ll teach us.

With an outside chance the band may drown tonight, its good to know that we caught up with them before any impending doom. With their debut album just in the shops there are going to be plenty of chances to catch these guys on the road so keep an eye and ears out for them.