Sunday, 2 September 2007


Words and Photo's by Rosie Morgan

On Thursday night, I was fortunate enough to attend the over-crowded, and inspiring show for Good Laika's debut album release (Heads I Win, Tails You Lose) at the Mighty Mighty. Due to work restraints, I missed Age Pryor who started the show, but arrived just in time for Good Laika's set. The band all looked a little nervous, but were excited about the new stage the Mighty Mighty had put in, and firmly reinforced the fact that there would be no encores as they were all very tired, which is a shame really, because Good Laika are one of those bands you could sit and listen to for hours, and not get sick of.

I was very impressed with the music, the relaxed atmosphere, and the friendliness of the band welcomed you into the set, and invited you to get carried along into the Good Laika sound. One look at these guys, and you just know they deserve to be a success.

After the show, I interviewed Ricky Boyd (drums).

ON NZ Music vs International:

"Nz's definitely pushing boundaries. I mean, we've got the Mint Chicks, the Pheonix Foundation... its all happening. Our resources though are more 60's, 70's. We know {nz music} is there, but we're more like ostriches, keeping our heads underground and see what we like".

RB says they're more into soaking up "old history", that their music is ethics based, and that they play with emotion and feeling. They use it in their approach to each individual instrument. "Our past present and future are elemental", he says.

And it sure shows. Robin Hinkley's vocals are just one example of the way GL do this. He has a voice that carries far above the vocal melody, far above all the other intrumentation, that carries far. You just know he's singing from the heart, and as soppy as that sounds, I think the sure sign of a a good musician is the ability to express heart and soul and effect the audience. In Tooth and Nail, he sings "I know you're tired" repeatedly, and the audience were swaying, captivated. When you combine RH's voice in harmony with the backup vocals of Jason Faafoi, you have this effect maximized.

Jason also has the same gorgeous, soulful quality to his voice that RH does, but with a little more of an Island Twist. During the Mighty Mighty set, he dedicated a song that he wrote (Coming Home) to his "island sister", who was getting teary as he sang it. This song was a gorgeous island/calypso/melodic tune, that fitted so nicely with the rest of the set, and again, there was much swaying along.

On Keeping off the Radar until now:

They've actually been together for around 4 years, but all of the members have been involved with solo projects, or other bands... for example OdESSA, Boomshack, TV Acting... to name the few obvious ones.

Ricky's' also been involved with drum lessons at various schools and jazz groups, so its a wonder how they even find the time to practice, let alone perform.

Its really only been the last year they're all been able to commit 100% - and, more impressively, only the last 2/3 months that they've recorded, promoted, and released thier Debut- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose, available in stores from 3rd September, if you weren't lucky enough to snatch up one at the show.

On their Overall Sound:

"I'd say... soulful. Its like the ethics of trying to get the best out of a song without being egotistical. So, ego-free. I suppose its truthful" - RB says, and I agree. Everything they play, everything they sing, they're in a moment, and they're reaching out to you.

Aside from the vocals, which embody the soulful element, you also have the talented Nic Marshall on the keys, carrying away the melody, giving it all a dreamy feel, and Matthew Armitage on bass, adding his own spin on calypso rhythm with unique bass lines that compliment all the other elements of the band.

With a band like this, sometimes its easy to forget drums and leave them out all together, but Ricky's skill as a drummer shows in that he can integrate various types of drumming into the band easily, that elevates the music to a new level.

What's on your iPod at the moment?

"Obviously we listen to a lot of Calypso music, thats a major influence". He also listens to TV on the Radio, Grizzly Bear, Air and Beck quite alot at the moment.

If you could tour with anyone, who would it be?

"I suppose I should keep it kiwi, but i'll say Air, Beck, or maybe Belle and Sebastian"

Whats your vision for the bands future?

A World Tour, of course! But a relaxed tour. "To enjoy each others company. I'd like to tour the world and keep that relaxed, friendly aspect.... we're an eclectic, slow band, so a slow tour would be best. We're all friends, so, whatever we do, we're going to have fun." And because of that aspect, he says its also one of those projects that they could leave for a year and return to, with no major issues.

This was shown in the Mighty Mighty show also. There was a lot of joking, a lot of laughing, and a lot of Robin telling the audience off for complimenting Matthew on his shirt, and not complimenting anyone else. "If you're going to compliment him, you have to be nice to the rest of us!!!". I hasten to say the show was "comfortable", but you felt welcomed, you felt at home with the music. Often it felt more like a home gig or (albeit amazingly brilliant) jam session. So it was a friendly relaxed atmosphere, and I think the band should be pleased with that.

Hopes for Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

"We're not trying to push it too far, we're trying to be ourselves", RB says. Promotion and business come 2nd. While of course they do want the album to be a success, he says "its like the first photo of a series yet to be finished".

This is the album of (hopefully!) many more, so its a snapshot of where Good Laika are at now. RB - "We're constantly moving forward and changing, so who knows when the next photo will be."

(Heads I Win, Tails You Lose is available in stores from Monday 3rd Sept. Hit the boys up on their myspace if you've never heard of them- you won't be dissappointed - I'm glad "Midnight" is up there!. )

ED's note: Interview with Robin Hinkley posted next week.

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