For years me and my roommate have been trying to spread the gospel about the horrors that come with the northern part of California. For every negative we have to say, The Go Ahead has a million and one positives. To us it’s horrendous, to them it’s “magical” and home. It’s all about perspective and the personal emotions that come with it. Speaking of, those emotions were the foundation for building their latest release and the whole band got together to talk about their music, SXSW and more.
Kendra: You dropped your 2014 release, Cycles, again last month. There’s nothing wrong with that, and when I read up on you guys you mentioned it was all about different emotions and it made me think of last year’s Inside Out. With that, if each of you were a different emotion inside someone’s head, which one would each of you be?
Kyna Wise: Disgust.
Josh Hertz: Joy.
Alex Mamelok: Anger.
Kendra: Do you think the emotion you’d each be is what you each bring to the band?
Alex: I definitely bring an aggressiveness to the band.
Kyna: I suppose. I’m disgusted at the crimes against humanity I witness. I disgust myself (albeit unfairly). With that disgust I’m constantly seeking becoming a better human…my lyrics commonly convey that.
Kendra: On top of that re-release, you guys are also going to be dropping a handful of new tracks – the first being “About to Burst.” Alex, this was the first time you ever let someone into the writing process lyrically. As someone who often puts pen to paper, I totally understand how scary that must’ve been. But now that you’ve done it, do you think it’ll be easier to collaborate in that sense from now on?
Alex: Yes and no. I think it will definitely be more comfortable to collaborate with Kyna. I think it also depends on the lyrical content and what they mean to me. It felt appropriate to me to hand over the lyrics to Kyna with this one. Let it be looked at with a different perspective. It originally was about writer’s block and then I got writer’s block. I showed them to Kyna and she took them in a different and better direction, in my opinion.
Kendra: Will the other new songs be released every month from here on out?
Alex: That’s the gameplan!
Kendra: What’s the end game with that, put them all on a record and put that out into the world?
Kyna: Well, the videos are of real, complete takes. My vocals were placed over it because the mic in the room while the boys recorded was too noisy. But the vocals you hear are also in one take and not pitched or auto-tuned. We wanted to give you as close to a live performance as possible. I think it would be cool to have a short movie with all the songs and the behind the scenes from that weekend.
Kendra: Another track I got to hear from you all was “No Apologies.” To go against the title, what is one thing you’ll forever be sorry about?
Kyna: I try to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made. Some mistakes take me way longer to forgive than others, but I always find a way eventually, to be at peace with myself. That’s a new practice for me. But one thing about me that I’ll forever be sorry for is how sneaky I have been in the past. It was always unintentional and innocent but it got me in trouble a few times. And while I can forgive myself, I’m afraid there are a few people whose opinions about me are set in stone for my bad behavior. But that’s okay. My current approach to dealing with my innate nosiness/sneakiness is to always be honest. Compelling, I know. Ha! But for real, the anxiety of getting caught doing something is not worth it. One thing about me that won’t change is my guilty conscience…something about being Irish, I suppose.
Kendra: One thing I’ll never actually say sorry about is all the stuff I’ve said about San Francisco, where you call home. I just don’t like it there. Hills are the devil, but since you’re natives – let me in on the joy of the city. What’s one place there that might change my mind?
Kyna: There is no one place in San Francisco. Every place in San Francisco has views that people from all over the world spend hundreds of dollars just to see for themselves. It’s on everyone’s bucket list and it’s on that list for a reason: it is magical. If you go to any hill you have a view of the palace of fine arts, the ocean, the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, Coit tower, Sutro tower, Alcatraz, amazing architecture and so many beautiful people. And c’mon, hills are tough, but we all have great butts from walking up and down them, again, gotta love those views.
Kendra: Moving to the road. You played SXSW two years now. Any plans for this March?
Alex: Yes! We’re going out there again this year. This is the first year we applied for the official lineup and are waiting to hear back. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.
Kendra: Since we’re on the topic of music festivals. One of your guys favorites, the Chili Peppers, is playing Bottlerock – will you guys be heading out to that to see them?
Chris Kelly: If they play Blood Sugar Sex Magik in its entirety, then we’ll go.
Kendra: On your end, what huge festival would you love to headline one day?
Josh: Outside Lands because it’s close and we are very, very lazy
Alex: Is all of them an answer?
Kendra: If you had to make a mixtape to calm down your emotions when they were working overtime, what five songs would have to be on it?
The Go Ahead:
“The Girl With Flaxen Hair” – Claude Debussy
“Aerial Boundaries” – Michael Hedges
“I Would Do Anything For You” – Foster The People
“The Way Things Are” – Fiona Apple
“Dear Prudence” – The Beatles