1 1

IN CONVERSATION: Goat Girl – “We’re not afraid to explore different avenues”

Goat Girl – Lottie Pendlebury, Rosy Jones and Holly Mullineaux – released their third album Below The Waste through Rough Trade Records last week. Co-produced by the band and John “Spud ” Murphy (Lankum, Katie Kim, Perculator, black midi). Progressing from their angst-fueled self-titled debut (2018) to the escapist world of sophomore LP On All Fours (2021), it’s the South London trio’s most ambitious, adventurous and sprawling work to date. Pieced together like a collage over an extended period of time, it’s a fascinating listen taking in undulating noise rock, intimate folk elements and fascinating detours that pull you in, with strings, keyboards and horns adding to the puzzle, pushing and teasing out new details which reveal themselves over repeated listens. It’s their most constantly diverting record yet. The instrumentation was tracked mostly over a ten-day stint in Ireland at Hellfire Studios, in the shadow of the infamous Hellfire Club itself.

“All the writing was done over the last few years, but the actual recording started in July last year. I feel like it was being mixed and mastered all the way up until Christmas, which was quite long,” Holly Mullineaux explains. “But yeah, it was recorded in chunks because we went to Ireland and did a lot of tracking at Hellfire with Spud and obviously we were co-producing. We did all the vocals ourselves. We did strings in Essex, and the choir.”

“It was pieced together like a collage as well. We’ve stems from the original demos, voice notes, field recordings in there, lots of stuff. So we always, referred to it as a collage throughout.”

“Spud brought a different perspective but also it was very much, I feel like before we even started, recording it, we wanted it to have this sense of texture and hi-fi moments and lo-fi moments, we wanted to do a lot with it. But we wanted to do it in the right place, so it was a lot of balancing that out, I think we’ve I think we’ve pulled it off,” recalls Holly.“I think that has a lot to do with our co-production, as well for the first time” she notes “I feel like it sounds even more authentically us.”

“When we first met him and had all these like ideas, and we knew we wanted to come at this in a different way, and we some things we didn’t really know if they were possible or not,” Rosy Jones adds. “So it was like, ‘can we do this? Can we do that?; I feel he was just like, yeah, we can do that and we were like, Aha, yes! And it was just like, quite refreshing that he was quite open to everything..”

Singer Lottie Pendlebury adds “because he was sort of taking a bit of an engineer role with it as well, in that he would sort of like set things up for us to then kind of fuck with it.” She explains: “It was like very much an exploration of sound that he would then polish up in the final stages of it all. So yeah, it was pretty much like, led by us the whole time and Spud was sort of like facilitating the kind of like capabilities of like what we were trying to do.”

First single ‘ride around’ swings and sways from crunchy guitars and shifting percussion, to illuminating melodic couplets, and a cavalcade of instrumental parts that hove into view and speed past. Teasing and pulling different percussive and melodic elements back in and out, It’s addictive and constantly takes you on left turns, it has something in common with early PJ Harvey. ” Yeah, we’ll want to like mess with it and change it up and find different contexts for a song to exist in,” reveals Lottie. “I was listening to lots of music at the time by Phillip Glass and Deerhoof that plays with the relationship between tension and resolution which definitely influenced this song. it definitely starts with that kind of raw, punchy, Steve Albini-type approach to it. But then it moves more into this kind of folk breakdown rendition of like barn dance or something. So yeah, we’re definitely not afraid to explore different avenues.”

Written during Lockdown, Lottie gives insight that the need for human connection and being true to yourself, was the inspiration behind single ‘ride around’. “I think the song is about seeking this connection, that when you experience it is really special and moving with people and it’s when you can just be really honest with yourself and with others. I feel like, in doing so others are attracted to you in that way. I feel that’s what everyone in life is seeking is that authentic version of ourselves.

That’s kind of in opposition to how we’re conditioned to exist with each other it’s to be like a perfect example of ourselves and not let anyone in and not have this like vulnerability.” She notes “That I think for me, is the most interesting part of someone. I feel like that maybe was exemplified in the pandemic, because it was this real need to get back to that feeling of true connection. But I think it’s always been something that I’ve always thought of as, something that I wish I could be constantly as well. But, I feel like the songs also battle with it as well, that constantly falling into small talk and not really saying what you mean, or being able to articulate yourself properly and the frustration with that? Yeah, but life is short.”

The second single meanwhile ‘motorway‘ is as vivid as the blinking car lights on the motorway, with illuminating synths bathing Lottie’s affecting melodic hooks, it’s pop but done in a Goat Girl way. “Yeah, we’re interested in not doing something in a way that’s necessarily easy,” Lottie elaborates. “Thinking of different creative approaches to take with things to kind of like subvert a sound because I feel like that song definitely lends itself to just straight up like synth and electronic drums. I don’t know, we could have probably bashed something out quite quickly on logic, but I feel like we kind of like the idea of also trying to figure out ways to play or more orchestral instruments or instruments that are acoustic and not necessarily ones that you think of as within a pop trope. So although these songs feel quite far apart from each other, and ‘motorway’ is like a really pop-heavy anthem. There are definitely connecting themes and sounds that bring these songs together; a lot of it is to do with the instruments and the ways that we played the instruments or the spaces we played them in contributed to this uncanny sound, feeling like an off-kilter thing.”

Meanwhile tracks like the enveloping pianos and haunting melodies of ‘take it away’ and the folkier elements of ‘sleep talk‘ and subtle instruments of ‘pretty faces’ possess a kind of intimacy and lend the latter part of the tracklist a more personal stripped back tone, that add to this intriguing body of work that keeps you on your toes throughout. “Once we came up with the order of the tracklist, then sewed together, like the little bits, you know, the linking sections, ‘smoke’ and ‘Prelude’, because I think we knew that we always wanted to consider it as a body of work with this cohesion throughout, with an opening with reprise, which came from Lottie, like with reprise and “Pretty Faces’, and the final track ‘wasting’ are all related, and they came from the same demo that like she did in lockdown, a long time ago,” Holly explains.

Sewn together with a reprise and short instrumentals there’s a patchwork quality to the album, the tracklist took time to come together “It took a lot of blue tack, and with the song titles on a board, that was maybe phase 23, so that took a long time.” Explains Rosy “It was also quite an exciting task when we’ve recorded before we came in with the tracklisting already. With the first album, we recorded it all in order besides little gaps, the second was the same we recorded the first and last tracks. On this one were in the same room, but the bass was recorded in a different room and the guitar was in a different room, sometimes it’s hard to hear things when you’re in it, and sometimes it’s like actually I want to play it like that, and punch in things which was quite liberating.”

“There was that idea of it being like a whole piece and having recurring themes throughout or using the same idea to take it in a completely different direction. Which is something that I think we’ve always been quite interested in and some of my favourite bands do that,” Holly joins in. “We definitely wanted to link it together. But we didn’t want to, like do stuff that was unnecessary, we wanted it to flow, especially like when you listen to online, or it’s like seamless which is like what happens when you play it on vinyl and that process was quite hard as well, because we had to do a different adaptation for digital and everything’s like, everything’s different. So we tried to find this middle ground of maintaining this seamless flow that we’d worked quite hard on. So yeah, there was a lot of thought and time and energy put into that.”

Goat Girl’s new album eschews the current trend of streaming culture, for single tracks, playlists and TikTok, it’s a whole piece you have to consume in full to really drink it in. James Blake talked about the power of TikTok and how he’s noticed parts of his audience turning up to hear one 20-second part.

“But I can’t wait for the seven-second albums!” Lottie smiles when I raise this.

“I’ve tried to have to make a conscious effort to listen to albums. I think now I have like a different approach to using Spotify. I still use the radio quite a lot.” She reflects on how streaming has changed how we consume music. “But it’s just kind of sad. I feel like I don’t have the same kind of connection to the music that I’m listening as I did when I was younger. When I was younger, I’d find bands, buy their whole discography and become obsessed with them know everything about them and I feel like now I’ll just describe the artwork of a song that I liked and I can’t even really remember the name. It’s just like this weird kind of relationship that you have to music, that I don’t love. It is good, at finding new things, but I feel like it’s constantly finding new things and not really like sitting with something and letting that relationship with that artist grow as well. So yeah, it’s like, it’s definitely a good challenge to try and listen to an album, even though it shouldn’t really be a challenge. But it feels like it’s become one because of our attention spans being so short.”

Electric Fire, and Sticky Wheel – they’re my two new favourite bands, I get obsessed with things, they’re my guys at the moment,” says Rosy, when I ask what new music they are loving right now.

“I think I’m going to see Clarissa Connelly tonight, she’s on Warp it’s like avant-folk, it’s quite Cocteau Twinsy,” Holly tells me.

“I just had a tour where we were listening to Songs: Ohia in the car just had Palace Brothers and Palace Music, Electrelane and lots of old stuff we’ve been into for a while. Kieran Leonard and Still Houseplants’ new album” Lottie details.

“I was listening to the new Bob Vylan album, I was listening to Spotify radio and it came on three songs after motorway, so I was happy!” Rosy smiles.

As well as recording and playing shows with Goat Girl, Holly has been moonlighting playing with the Pogues and a supergroup of other musicians: “It must have been just a week and a half ago, I was playing bass for the Pogues for their 40th anniversary show for their debut album Red Roses For Me. There were loads of people involved – loads of guests like Daragh from Lankum, John Francis Flynn and Nadine Shah. Yeah, but I was in the cool band with Tom from Fun Times on drums, three guys from the Pogues, and Spider put it all together. I love him so much. I think they’re gonna be like mates for life now actually; his wife lent me a suit to wear and she texted me like two days ago saying that I can keep it which is really really nice. So yeah, it was really special to be part of, and it was really, really fun. I had to learn about 20 Pogues songs.“It’s completely different being in a room with a load of old boys, I like the challenge of walking into that space as a young woman. When you jump on a band who have been respected for 40 years and in the wake of Shane MacGowan‘s death, the crowd was mental and it was an honour to be part of that. It was great.”

Below The Waste is out now on Rough Trade

Goat Girl – Tour dates:

June 11th – Bristol – Rough Trade – The Fleece

June 12 – Brighton – Resident Records – Chalk

June 15 – Spain – Andoain, Andoaingo Rock Jaialdia

June 28 – Newcastle Upon Tyne – Boiler Shop

June 29 – Glasgow – Queens Park – Big City Festival

August 17 – Germany – Hamburg – MS Dockville

August 23 – Ravenglass, Cumbria – Krankenhaus Festival

August 29 – Switzerland – La Tour de Peilz – Nox Orae Festival

August 31 – Manchester – Manchester Psych Fest


Oct 8 – France Paris Point Ephémère

Oct 9  – Belgium Brussels AB Club

Oct 10 – Luxembourg City Rotondes

Oct 11 – Germany Nürnberg Pop Festival

Oct 12 – Germany Cologne MTC

Oct 13 – Germany Berlin Privatclub

Oct 14 – Netherlands Utrecht Ekko


Nov 21 – Leeds Irish Centre

Nov 22 – Edinburgh La Belle Angele

Nov 23 – Birmingham the Castle & Falcon

Nov 27 – Southampton Papillon

Nov 28 – Heaven, London

Photo Credit – Holly Whitaker

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.