The Good Natured Mixtape by The Hunger on Mixcloud
[DC]U[/DC]nashamed of their pop roots, The Good Natured have created a mixtape for Hunger TV that spans pop icons through generations – think Bowie to Bieber. We sit down with the charming threesome ahead of the release of their single, ’5-HT’ and live dates with Swiss Lips and Imagine Dragons, to talk musical memories, holidays by the sea and an unwavering love for Katy Perry.
EXPLAIN THE SONGS ON THE MIX TO US.
Sarah: We included songs on the mixtape which inspired us whilst writing and recording our debut album. We’ve very much been influenced by records our parents listened to in their youth, for example Dead Or Alive and David Bowie. Our parents are avid music fans, so growing up we were surrounded by these records, they were played on the record player constantly. We’ve also got more current inspirations on there too. All three of us adore Katy Perry and since seeing her film fell in love with her a little bit more. The melodies on ‘Teenage Dream’ are incredible. We couldn’t stop listening to M83 whilst on tour in the US last year, and ‘Carolyn’ by Swiss Lips is a big song. We’re playing some shows with them in February and we can’t wait.
Hamish: Crystal Castles are probably my favourite band and when the teamed up with Robert Smith I expected an absolutely massive song and I wasn’t disappointed.
WHAT’S YOUR EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY?
Sarah: My earliest musical memory was hearing my Gran play her Yamaha organ from the 1980s down in Scotland when I was about 5 years old. She was incredible. When I was 15 I rescued the old thing when she deemed it as a ‘piece of old junk’. I found it by the back door ready to go out to the trash! I took it home with me. I wrote my first songs on that organ, it’s very special to me even if some of the keys are broken.
Hamish: My earliest musical memory has got to be when I was in year 2 (so I was about five or six) I remember playing three blind mice on recorder, those were the days!
George: My earliest musical memory would be when I was about five, my parents were really into surfing and so every weekend we’d always drive to the coast. Every trip down my Dad would put on his cassette of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’. I have memories of looking out the car window, desperately trying to be the first person to see the sea, with ‘Come As You Are’ playing in the background. Every time I hear that song I always remember those days. Good times!
YOU CALL YOUR SOUND ‘MODERN WAVE POP NOIR’ – WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Sarah: I tend to write when I feel a strong emotion. I find the best songs are created when the emotions I feel are slightly darker, whether I feel sadness, or perhaps anger. But I’ve always loved catchy uplifting melodies. This is where the term ‘pop noir’ has come from. I guess I take darker emotions and bring them to a pop place. The term ‘modern wave’ is a fresh and up to date twist on the ‘new wave’ music movement which we are greatly inspired by. Some of our songs have a punk rock ethos, and certainly all of them are slightly quirky and eccentric, whilst being pop at heart.
MANY PEOPLE CONSIDER POP TO BE A DIRTY WORD IN MUSIC, WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
Sarah: They do, and I can never understand it! By definition ‘pop’ music is music that is popular. Being ‘pop’ means your songs resonate to a wide audience, often because of great melodies.What’s not to love about that? We’d love nothing more for our melodies to stick in peoples heads, and for our music to reach people all around the world.
Hamish: Yeah, It’s a shame that pop is considered dirty. The pop genre is just music that is popular so why wouldn’t you want to be pop? But I love it because so many people can relate to the songs and fall in love with them.
WHO WAS YOUR FAVOURITE POP ARTIST GROWING UP, AND WHO DO YOU LISTEN TO, POP WISE, NOW?
Sarah: When I was a kid I was a member of the B*Witched fan club. ‘Rollercoaster’ was my favourite. ‘Beauty and the Beat’ by Justin Bieber is amazing, especially the bass tone in the verses.
Hamish: I was a huge Backstreet Boys fan, and followed them for a few years. But their recent stuff isn’t as good as the old classics like ‘Larger Than Life’ and ‘I Want It That Way’, the former used to be my favourite song. Nowadays I listen to a lot of pop music but specifically Marina & The Diamonds first album, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber’s new album is pretty damn good.
George: I’m unashamed to admit that as a little kid I was massively into The Spice Girls. For my seventh birthday I even got a Spice Girls mug! Sadly that love affair ended two days later when Geri left. Take Ginger Spice out of the equation and I just didn’t want to know. Recently I’ve been listening to the album ‘Body Talk’ by Robyn. I think ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ is one of the most unique pop songs I’ve heard.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE POP VIDEOS?
Sarah: I love the video for ‘Yonkers’ by Tyler the Creator when he eats a cockroach and is sick everywhere, it’s very weird and cool. I also love the video for Natalia Kill’s ‘Controversy’. It’s simple but beautifully shot. One of my all time favourite videos though is ‘Blonde Fire’ by The Hickey Underworld. It’s slightly disturbing but I like how dark it is.
Hamish: I love the Ok Go ‘Here It Goes Again’ video. It’s such a simple idea which works so well, who knew treadmills could be so fun! Also I love ‘Coffee and TV’ by Blur, the love story between two milk cartons is such a brilliantly crazy and original idea.
George: I love the video for ‘The Fall’ by Rhye. The simplicity of it all makes it really stand out and gives it a unique edge over your standard, day-to-day pop video. Another classic video I love would be ‘Two Tribes’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It’s ridiculous, cheesy, controversial and just a great visual for a great song.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE DEBUT ALBUM?
Sarah: It’s like Robert Smith and Katy Perry had a lovechild who wears their heart on their sleeve.
WHAT INSPIRED THE LYRICS?
Sarah: Sex, love and fantasy are the key themes for the album, so each song relates to one of those topics in some way. I’ve been inspired by emotions I’ve felt or situations I have been in, or a situation somebody close to me has been in. I also love people watching to get inspiration.
THE BAND ALSO HAS A STRONG IMAGE. HOW MUCH OF THIS COMES DOWN TO THE BAND?
Sarah: It all comes from us. Music and fashion come hand in hand for us, so the clothes we wear are an extension of the music we create. We’ve only started to work with a stylist very recently, she’s amazing and extremely creative. Some people have the perception stylists tell you what to wear- that couldn’t be further from the truth with us! We’ve always had a strong visual aesthetic. We have strong ideas about what we want to wear, and our stylist helps bring them to life, she has an amazing eye for quirky pieces and knows exactly what we love!
WHO’S YOUR MUSICAL ICON?
Sarah: My musical icon would have to be Siouxsie Sioux. I love her punk attitude and the empowerment she has given to women through her music and performance.
Hamish: My musical icon has got to be Victor Wooten as he is such an incredible Bassist, and has such an original twist on his own songs, also his covers are amazing . He does a cover of Norwegian Wood by The Beatles and also Amazing Grace both of which blow me away every time I watch them.
George: Mine would have to Lars Ulrich, the drummer from Metallica. He’s basically the reason I got into drumming as when I was going through the classic “angry teen” phase, watching all their live DVD’s constantly, I would always pause and play back the parts with him in. I loved the energy he put into his playing and I loved how he clearly didn’t care what anyone thought. He might not be the most technically advanced drummer ever, but that type of attitude and stage presence is infectious. He certainly made me want to carry on playing.