RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDONS COMMON GOLDFISH
What made you decide to start the band?
I started the project for the love of writing music really. I’ve been doing it ever since I was little. Learning to produce music was an absolute game changer. I was involved in a few different projects early on, producing a lot of electronic music, hip hop and R&B, but I had a burning desire to make stuff with more organic elements eg. guitar, piano & bass. I was a bit of a recluse over lockdown, using the extra time to write new music.
It took me a while to find my sound, but once I had a few demos together, common goldfish was born.
Introduce us all to you and your musical history?
I’m actually a bit of a one-man band, which always surprises people. Formerly a producer, I record all of the elements myself, although I’m starting to collab with a few other artists which I’m loving.
I was born in South London in the early 90s – I think this has rubbed off on me as I’m kind of obsessed by the feel good sounds of the 90s. People like Blur, Primal Scream, Happy Mondays, Moby have all been a big influences of mine.
I remember getting an electric guitar for my 10th birthday and not being able to put it down. Once I’d taught myself the standard chords, I was more interested in writing my own riffs and trying to come up with my own chord progressions and melody ideas than anything else.
I was 15 when I first heard the xx album and was blown away. I couldn’t get over how such simple guitar riffs could create such a unique and contemporary sound. I was by no means a great technical guitarist, and so I think this inspired confidence to continue writing music.
It wasn’t until after uni that I started to take my music more seriously, after my mate gave me his old laptop with the Ableton production software on it. Heavily influenced by electronic music at the time – artists like Floating Points, Four Tet, Nightmares on Wax and Caribou – I started teaching myself the basics. It was a real rabbit hole and once it was opened, I was obsessed.
What’s the best piece of advice you have received?
When discussing my concept for the new artist project, a good mate of mine who runs a label and management company told me just to be myself. Sounds simple and obvious, but I think that is the best way an indie artist can really to connect with other people and build a fan base. I feel like people like honesty and transparency.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic? If so what?
I’m sure a few things! I do remember buying my ableton push a few days before the pandemic started. It’s basically a sampler, that lets me bring in loops when I’m playing live. So I bought it to develop my live set and then the pandemic hit… It was gathering dust until recently. Not the best timing!
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Does the pope s**** in the woods? We need answers.
What support is out there for new artists in London ?
I’m not going to lie – doesn’t feel like a huge amount. Its pretty difficult for new artists just starting out. Having originally quit my job, I’ve had to start working part time again to get some income.
I know there are funds/grants available to musicians offered by the likes of PRS, such as the open fund, but these are very competitive.
You’ve got to really love it to persevere…
Who is inspiring you at the minute on the London unsigned scene?
Not sure if they’re signed or not, but Fake Turins – they’re an 11-piece psychedelic soul group based in London. Still waiting to catch them live, apparently, they’re wild. They started releasing music a few years ago and released a great album last year. Recommend checking them out.
Also came across a producer called Devansh who’s based in London. I noticed we were added to some similar playlists – He’s only got a few songs out but his production sounds golden. One to watch.
Tell us something about you member that you think people would be surprised about?
A track I produced and wrote (Sleepless Nights by Santino Le Saint) was featured on the TV show Love Island. I don’t watch the show, but obviously had to watch to hear our work being streamed to millions of people. I remember being quite pleased the song was played in the first 2 minutes and meant I didn’t have to watch the rest of the episode!
It’s an R&B vibe – another world from my common goldfish project.
Whats your favourite song to play live and why?
This is an easy one. Feel the Fuzz – It was my only single out until recently, and so the only song that people knew the words to! Hopefully that will change over time…
I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?
I do indeed! Shout Louder came out on 16th June. Its my answer to an elevating summer track, aiming to take people on a journey – I feel like it’s what post pandemic Britain deserves! The track is heavily influenced by the uplifting and vibrant sounds of the 90s, whilst drawing new inspiration from the iconic 60s psychedelic rock movement.
Talk me through the thought process of the single
I’m fascinated by the notion of energy flowing through a crowd, whether it’s at a festival, live gig or party. It’s completely intangible, but yet there’s nothing more real to everyone in that moment. I wanted to create a track to try to capture this feeling of shared connection
What was the recording process like?
I had had a long day working on my own in the studio towards the end of last year, and nothing was really working for me. It was quite late, and I decided to start something new.
I created a fairly simple drumbeat, using a mix of 90’s drum break one-shot samples & then just started mucking around on different instruments. Quite quickly I had the bass line and piano that feature in the main chorus. For some reason it reminded of a Guy Ritchie film, which definitely lured me in!
The contrast in emotions when producing can be quite overwhelming – It can really get you down when things aren’t flowing, but then when you do come up with something you like, it can be a real rush. I think this sudden release of pent-up energy was probably the driver behind the vocal line “shout louder “. It literally just came out.
I’d been watching the “Get Back” documentary which definitely inspired the main vocal harmony and guitar sounds.
With the bare bones of the track complete, the lyrics took a bit longer to come up with. In January this year, the end of the pandemic was in sight, and summer was on the horizon. The track just made me think of being outside with friends in the sun.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
The different sounds I can make by layering different vocal harmonies. I have tried to replicate that 60s psychedelic sound for the vocals – I love the idea of making a chord using vocals, for some reason it reminds of a harmonica sound. I’ve been experimenting with vocal layers ever since – it’s a great way to add depth to a track.
Would you change anything now its finished?
There are always things I want to change right up until release day, to the annoyance of my mastering engineer. Its an art knowing when a track is finished and when to stop adding. I was in two minds about introducing a second verse and extending the track, but I think it’s good as it is.
Now it’s out, it’s for other people to decide.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
I’m sitting on a lot of unreleased music which is frustrating, but it’s always a balance for emerging artists between getting tracks out and not over-releasing and overwhelming people. I have another couple of singles to come out before the end of the year, which I’m really excited about. I will then look to release an EP towards the start of next year. It’s all 90’s inspired, bringing that nostalgia.
In terms of live stuff, my plan is to try and do as many gigs as possible really – I have an upcoming show at the Water Rats on 16th July, and a few more things planned for September. I’m going to be doing more public gigs along the canals in East London so keep your eyes peeled if you’re in the area.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?