Feature Interview

Goldfish: Full stream ahead to the Gardens

Goldfish’s David Poole holds his dog up to the screen for me to meet before we exchange pleasantries over a quick catch up. Considering the duo’s hectic work ethic and schedule I’m quite surprised that I’ve even managed to secure this interview considering their criss-crossing global tour itinerary.

David Poole: It’s always been a strategy of ours to perform in Botanical Gardens. Our eyes were opened the first time we played at Kirstenbosch Gardens in CT and we always wanted to play all-ages gigs, that were super cool, because we always found that we had so many fans that couldn’t come to shows from all walks of life.

When you play outdoors there are no echoes, and echoes are the thing that ruins the sound, and then of course our music works perfectly outdoors where it’s beautiful and that organic sound seems to do well with all the nature around. It’s like a visual concept with the music. We’re bringing Emily Bruce along and she’s a firecracker when she gets on stage, so she always gets things going even more. It should be a big vibe.

CG: Do you choose the artists that are going to perform with you or do you have help with that?

DP: It really depends on who the promoter is, but generally speaking we do have a say in what’s happening, we always like to make sure there is a good flow with any event. It’s all about the whole experience, not just about the two hours that we are on.

That’s the main event, but people still have to get there, that’s the other reason we like the gardens, they’re way more chilled on that front, it’s not a serious hardcore festival vibe, where everything is hectic, some of them are crazy access control and it’s not always the coolest vibe, but if you can get away with it and it makes it more chilled.

CG: Your new album has the colab, ‘Deep of The Night’ with Diamond Thug, how did you find them?

DP: Dom was actually driving home one night from – I don’t know, he was probably eating sushi, that’s generally what he does when he’s driving home at night – and there was a radio station that had a discovery feature, where they were playing new artists as they do it every Thursday night. And it was literally the first time that Diamond Thug had ever got played on this show, and Dom phoned me while it was happening, “Dave this voice is awesome, we must get hold of them.” So while he was on the phone, I was Googling them, and was like, aaaah they’re from Cape Town and as a lot of stuff happens in this day and age, I shot them a message on Soundcloud.

They hit us straight back and said cool and we set up a session and we were trying to do something completely different. We started off with her singing the song ‘Little Lies’ as a cover version on our new album, and Chantel [Van T] has such a unique voice and delivery, and I just stopped everyone while she was recording, and I said, listen guys, this sounds nothing like ‘Little Lies’, let’s can this idea and let’s work on something brand new, because, I feel like that’s gonna be our best option with someone like her. Because she’s got such a unique delivery and then 20 minutes later we had written the words and the melody of “Deep of the Night” and then 6 months later we had finished the production.

CG: And a million Spotify streams and climbing.

DP: The response to the song was just crazy. The first time we actually came back to Cape Town after the song had done so well, we were playing at Kirstenbosch Gardens and we actually ended up releasing a video of the track from that day, because it was so crazy.

The whole crowd sang the first part of the bridge back to us, we had no idea that it would be that big. The crowd did it the first time and I was like wooooah and then second time I pulled the sound out, and the whole crowd, like 6000 people just went “Don’t Know Where to Go.” Goosebumps.

CG: You’ve relocated to San Diego, why there and how is it going?

DP: You know, it’s going great, it’s really amazing to be close to the action and close to Los Angeles. It’s unbelievable what is going down in LA, the whole time, it’s a hotbed. Every single artist that you’ve ever dreamed of, lives there, or is through there once a month, for writing sessions, for collaborations, for gigs, for everything. You go to a gig there and you see like 10 of the biggest electronic artists, just hanging out backstage, so it’s really good to be in the mix.

We love South Africa and we’d love to live there, but it’s so far away and we were touring so much, that it was like 30 hours to get here and then 30 hours to get back and 9 hour time zone difference and it was really tough on us, personally and in our personal lives. We moved here, which has also been tough on our personal lives, cause we’ve had to leave family members, all our good friends, all our life that we ever knew, but from a personal life scenario, it’s been amazing. San Diego is basically like Cape Town, without the wind or the mountain. There’s rolling hills and canyons, beach vibes, great food, it’s just close enough to LA for us to be there quickly.

The funny thing was that, when we released the “Perceptions of Pacha” and we wrote the song ‘Soundtracks and Comebacks’, in there is a line about Ron Burgundy that goes, “It’s a magic place, and Ron Burgundy is everywhere”. The funny thing is, is that is San Diego, as Ron Burgundy was from San Diego and you seem him all over the show here, pictures of him, so that was kind of like a weird foresight into the future somehow. Some things work weirdly.

CG: Making dreams come true, one song line at a time. So being in San Diego, and travelling all the time, how do you keep in touch with what’s happening in the South African music scene?

DP: So I guess we’ve probably lost touch to a degree, we can’t keep up with everything, we obviously follow people that we know on social media, but that doesn’t really give you solid idea of what’s really happening and in the same way that’s like that here.

However, it’s amazing to see what’s happening with Black Coffee, he has blown up, like ridiculously, and it’s absolutely amazing and super cool. For years we’ve been traveling and people hear you’re from South Africa and they’re like “Oh do you know Die Antwoord” [said in an American accent], now it’s like “Do you know Black Coffee”, so that’s pretty cool. So Cath you’ll have to tell me what’s happening.

CG: I’m gonna message you with some suggestions, because we have time limits on this interview. [Laughs] So tell me a little bit about performing at Coachella?

DP: Coachella is an amazing festival, and I had never been, I’ve been to lots and lots and lots of festivals, obviously in Southern California and America, they know how to hype stuff, their one true skill is how to hype things and a lot of the time there is a lot of hot air, but Coachella is amazing.

The festival grounds are incredible, there’s grass everywhere, so there’s no dust, the first time you come into contact with dust is in the parking lot. So your experience walking around is really awesome. The stage we played, is curated by these guys called The Doolab and it’s about a 1500 to 2000 capacity tent and it’s kind of like if you’ve never played Coachella before, it’s the stepping stone to getting onto one of the bigger stages. We were playing on the same day as Beyoncé and she decided a week beforehand that no stage would be open while she played, so our set which was already kind of early at 3pm got moved to 1:30pm. Now let tell you that 1:30pm of Day 2 of Coachella is kind of aggressive for people, because the festival the night before was going on and it was like Eminem or someone, so it was a big night.

We got there and we were setting up and there was this guy playing the most amazing deep house set and there’s 4 people in the audience and I look at Dom and say “This is gonna be fun”. You get this thing “Oh we’ve booked for Coachella” and it’s like “Yes!” and there’s this big ride towards that and you’re all excited and then literally 4 minutes before we start, they’re pushing our table across and I’m grabbing all my stuff and I look up and there’s like 500 people that have just arrived out of nowhere, like they’ve just come up through the ground and we started playing and by the time we got a song or two in, the whole tent was packed and it was raging.

There was a mosh pit going at some stage, I mean, have you ever seen a mosh pit when Goldfish plays? [Laughs] I think I looked over at Dom and said “What is going on?”

CG: With your new album “Late Night People”, how difficult is it to keep your staple sound, yet keep things fresh and how do stay relevant?

DP: We’re always developing, producer-wise, and sometimes maybe too much, so I think it’s more of a case of trying not to change too much. Because we were born chameleons, musically, because we are trained musicians – I think the biggest part is trying to keep some Goldfish DNA in each song and in every album. I think we managed that in this album, there’s always some things that get left by the wayside, by the nature of creating, you can’t force creativity, you’ve got to let it go it’s path and we managed to do it.

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Check out all the details for Goldfish’s Botanical Gardens show.