Frontman Justin Keenen, of Australian folk-punkers The Go Set, sat down with us to answer some questions about the music industry, ahead of their string of shows around the country for their ‘In The Streets’ tour, kicking off April 8th. Since their formation in 2002, The Go Set have done a lot of learning, and a whole lot more growing up. Read their words of wisdom below…
- Who was your first musical inspiration? Why?
I’d say that my dad probably provided the first inspiration. He had a great collection of vinyl, and lot’s of 70’s English punk which, at the time, was hard to get. We listened to that stuff a lot as kids, as well as The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Queen. We also always had a lot of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and more folky stuff too. That music has always felt familiar as an adult.
- How did you get started in music and did you ever even think you’d get this far?
To be honest, although I loved music, I couldn’t actually play an instrument until I was about 20. And even then, I was playing a right handed guitar upside down without knowing.
The first two gigs that I ever saw were Green Day and Weddngs Parties Anything. Both in the same week, around 1995. I remember turning to my brother during the Green Day gig and telling him that this was what I was going to do from now on. I couldn’t play a note back then. He thought that was hilarious.
- What has been one of your most defining moments in your career?
I’m not sure that there has ever really been that ‘one big moment’. It feels much more like a long, winding road with a few peaks and troughs. Definitely getting on board with the ABC here in Australia, and Coretex Records in Europe have been positive moments, as well as getting to perform at lots of European summer festivals. There has definitely been a lot of highlights, and it feels as though we have continually grown and evolved.
- How has your music practice changed over time?
Hmm. I guess you just become more professional. A little more organisation, and a little less boozing before gigs. I think, as musicians get more experienced, they become better at listening to everything going on around them.
- My top business tip for new artists is…
Make sure your songs and your live show are solid before you start getting out there. This is something that the music industry seems to have left behind in recent years. Everyone is trying to be instantly famous via social media platforms and reality TV shows, and bands are getting big before they have even played live or written more than a single.
The second thing is to make sure that you surround yourself with like-minded people who have the same outlook and goals as yourself.
- My biggest career mistake has been…
Tough one. If anything, it’s probably just booking tours in the past that have lost money. Mainly because then that money needs to be recouped from more shows, and you end up spending most of the time trying to get out of debt.
- In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is…
Reality TV shows and music festivals. Both are killing grassroots music creation and performance.
THE GO SET ‘In The Streets’ tour – April 2016
Tickets are on sale now via thegoset.com/events
Friday 8 April – Southern Cross Hotel, Gold Coast
Saturday 9 April – Beetle Bar, Brisbane
Friday 15 April – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
Saturday 16 April – Transit Bar, Canberra
Friday 22 April – Barwon Club, Geelong
Saturday 23 April – Grace Emily, Adelaide
Sunday 24 April – The Tote, Melbourne