After months of recording and mixing, The Good Minus have released their debut album. It is a collection of harmony rich and multi-layered songs. Recorded and engineered by the band’s bassist, David Kean, with tracks mixed by Greg J Walker (Machine Translations) and Rohan Sforcina (Head Gap Studios). The album was mastered by Alan Douches of West West Side Music NY (Sufjan Stevens, Midlake, LCD Soundsystem). This album is worth a listen and Matt Welch sheds some light on their self-titled effort.
How exciting has it been leading up to the release of your debut album?
We’re really looking forward to getting the album out there and sharing the songs with everyone. We’re also looking towards the future with new songs we are writing.
Was the process of making your album as challenging as you thought? We’ve all had experience recording EP’s and albums in other projects so we knew what was involved. In the past we usually put less time in the recording and editing process usually due to time and cost restraints. We definitely invested a lot more of ourselves into this album but it’s been fun.
Was it hard letting go once the songs were done?
I think we each have different outlooks on the process. I (Matt) am definitely not precious about editing or making changes/revisions to how songs should go. My downfall is that I usually don’t spend enough time perfecting a song in the recording process. David and Stu were great at making sure we did enough takes when recording to get the best versions of the songs we could at that time.
For the uninitiated how would describe your music?
(David) It’s not your average three-piece rock band sound, although there are elements of a straight rock sound now and again. We are all multi instrumentalists and each give advice to one another about our musical parts and vocals. For the most part, Matt the guitarist, plays guitar with his fingers and seldom uses a pick. Matt’s classically trained background helps shape his playing, so a lot of the parts are intricate with bass and melody parts played simultaneously on the guitar.
The songs are often complex with a great deal of dynamics, helped along by tasteful amounts of effects from Matt’s guitar pedal collection. The bass and drum parts are also written with a great deal of care, I (David) often write very busy and melodic parts to keep me and the listener interested, as does Stu our drummer, who injects a good deal of light and shade in his playing. This also comes down to our influences. We like that kind of music and playing style, we don’t like it to be too static. The music is a kind of darker folk rock style, quite proggy and groovy at times and driven by three part vocal harmonies, with interesting rhythmical changes throughout.
Who would you consider to be the biggest influence on your music and why?
It’s hard to pinpoint one influence. (David) Matt, the bands main songwriter and lyricist derives a lot of his songs from real life events, being a father, childhood and articles and things he sees and reads. Likewise for Stu and I, minus the Fatherhood bit. But basically, our influence comes from just wanting to write a better song than the last one we wrote. The three of us share many of the same musical interests, from the later day Beatles and old 70’s prog rock music, to Limahl’s Neverending Story and the hushed vocals of Iron and Wine.
We each also like lots of different music and somehow the best bits of these clashing musical interests intertwine to create the music that we make. We are suckers for vocal harmonies (The Eagles, Crosby Stills and Nash) and this is a huge part of our sound, not to mention weird musical time changes, fingerpicked guitars, Jeff Buckley-esque distortions, busy bass lines, 70’s snares and lush reverbs and delays.
Best piece of advice you have been given?
I think probably about making music that we want to hear and perform and not trying to write the next pop hit or anything. For me (Matt) as a songwriter I think the advice given about lyric writing and using verbs to make the songs come alive was a big ‘aha’ moment for me.
How did the band get together?
We’ve been friends for a long time and each had our own musical projects and bands. In 2015 we finally decided to collaborate and form a band together.
How did you come up with the band name?
We are big fans of the band The Bad Plus.
Are you looking to tour around the country including Adelaide?
Probably not this year but in 2020 more regional and interstate shows are definitely on the cards.
What’s next for The Good Minus?
Keep writing songs, playing shows whilst getting more airplay and fans along the way.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Check out The Good Minus on Spotify