THE GOLDBORNS: THE WORKING CLASS LONDON BAND THAT THEY WANT TO SILENCE
This is an upfront and honest conversation with The Goldborns. With a legacy living in West London and living in the thick of its musical hub, we’re talking their work alongside Mick Jones of The Clash, Lee Scratch Perry, Rapper Kyza. Plus delving deeper into the record industry debates of the day – funding of the arts, the class systems, supporting local/city communities, Grenfell and more… If this is the first time for you discovering The Goldborns, you’re in for a treat.
THE WIDER STREET CULTURE WORLD
Killa Kela: You guys are part of the wider street culture scene and you push through loads of genres, like SKA, Reggae, Punk and Hip Hop, how does that feel to cross genres and scenes like that?
The Goldborns: I think it’s hard when people want to put you in a box. It’s great being influenced by different things but if they can’t define you it becomes a bit of a mad one. The industry has been like that for years, especially with record labels and stuff. I think now more than ever if you don’t fit in one genre people don’t know how to handle it. It’s part of our strength as a band and we end up attracting a whole different audience. It’s a blessing and a curse because we get to make the music we want but also, we are the ones in charge.
Killa Kela: What are band’s biggest influenes?
The Goldborns: We are all kind of different, Max and Josh come from a more Hip-hop background, Justin has been in bands for years so he’s more about learning the craft of songwriting and doing shows. We have really merged our styles and its worked. We have a crazy live sound with a Hip-hop back beat, mixed with SKA with a dub bass. It shouldn’t work, but it does. The merging of those sounds was very natural for us. It was never our intention to to even be in a band, Football is actually what brought us together, the Queen’s Park Rangers.
LOCAL MUSIC WITH A MESSAGE
Killa Kela: The thing I love about you guys is your devotion to local area of West London, like Ladbroke Grove, Portobello road and Shepherd’s Bush, that whole area is a so culturally diverse. The content you talk about and the topics you raise in the music even in your back catalogue, you walk a very thin punk-esque line, where you don’t care what people think, your gonna say it anyway.
The Goldborns: We are the community. Even in our videos, we have our mates and our family, we were born and raised there. We grew up in Grenfell, it’s all very personal. When you’re a kid and you start writing songs, you write about what you know and what you see. We write about our backdrop and where we were from. Growing up the music was always there in our face. Josh’s dad was friends with Lemmy, from Motorhead, so punk was always around. We always would hear stories of the music history of area, like this is where the Clash use to drink or what Lemmy use to do. We are proud to be part of that. You start to chip away and learn the history of it all.
GROWING UP AROUND ARTISTS
Killa Kela: There’s so much history in the area, there’s the carnival side of things but Ladbroke Grove was home to likes of Hawkwind. It was a frontline of so much history.
The Goldborns: It really was a musical frontline. Joe Strummer’s first band used to play at The Elign before The Clash and that’s when he had long hair and he was a bit of a hippie. There was that merge into a punk and in a way it was born in West London. Punk came from states but they weren’t proper punk bands or long hair, it was the Ramones. I think Johnny Rotten said that kind of like rich kids from the suburbs in the garage’s of a longhair and it’s just it’s not punk. It’s just a small good band. West London and Ladbroke Grove has always been at the forefront of new music.
Killa Kela: And then came Hip-hop
The Goldborns: It’s interesting because everything use to be quite separate, the hip-hop and reggae scenes were separated from the punk scenes. When Grenfell happened the community came together more as the voice of the street. That’s when we started getting more opportunities. We couldn’t really get a gig before that around here, they wasn’t really that support it’s weird.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Killa Kela: How did this all begin?
The Goldborns: We’ve had making music for a few years in Josh’s mum’s basement and then one night at the pub, Josh played a hip-hop beat that he made. Next thing you know, Justin is adding guitar to it and it sounded good. We did that a few times and then we thought this stuff’s too good to not put out there. We put a couple of tunes out and it was kind of a bit too eclectic for people. That’s where Max comes in. He produces for a big rapper called Hectic, but he can also play the drums. His dad’s a big Jazz drummer. We went to the Tabernacle one night in Powis square and we got Max to come down. There’s a drum kit there they just let us use it. Max had his own style that has alot of hip-hop, jazz and reggaes elements. We started playing together we just kind fit. It all just happened.
Next thing you know, we had this gig on Portobello road on a rainy Sunday. Mick Jones, from the Sex Pistols was there. Everything went wrong that could have gone wrong. Worst gig of our lives really. As we were coming out, Mick came up to us and they’re like oh that was good! We looked at each other like that was terrible! But, he loved it and told us to come to the studio and work with him. He got put on to us by Paul “Cookie” The Sex Pistols drummer. Josh bumped into him in a pub and had no idea who he was. He was saying something about The Sex Pistols and Josh’s Dad’s old mate was the tour manager. So had a drink and showed him a couple of our tunes, thought nothing of it, but he told Mick about it. So if we weren’t in that pub at that time having a pint then we might not be sitting here.
Killa Kela: Your new release, The Broken Homes E.P. is out now. You’ve got Lee Scratch Perry and some serious bits and bobs going on here, tell me a bit about it.
The Goldborns: We’ve done everything ourselves. We’ve produced it ourselves. engineered it ourselves. The cover of the E.P. is a famous Ladbroke Grove face, Kenny Swindles. He was a stall holder on Portobello Road and was a big QPR fan and is a huge mate of Band. The photo was taken after about 12 pints outside the Pig and Whistle.
When we recorded it in Mick Jones’ studio. It’s yeah very small and very hot with no air con. We only did about two two takes of track because we were just like such a rush. In hindsight would have liked to do each track and not do it live. It’s got that rawness because we did it live and I think some people don’t really get that it’s live because it sounds like a studio record.
Killa Kela: Did you did you put live on there as a kind of protective sheen because you don’t want people to judge it based on the quality of the production and more of the performance?
The Goldborns: Yeah, I mean we’re quite proud of our live set. I think we originally, we just wanted something out and we were in a rush, like I said it was kind of like, if we do it its live hopefully people will get it. All of our stuff is from our heart. It’s like exposing yourself. I think that’s why we don’t do a lot of music because when we do something it has to be properly, it’s got to be from the heart. People are saying we should put more stuff out but I don’t know it just doesn’t feel special if we just put something out every two weeks. I mean we don’t really have the time, we’ve got jobs and families, we’ve got bills to pay. But it’s amazing going into the studio and we’ve got now you’ve got to this point you get people offering to use the studio for free. Years ago we didn’t have the same opportunity so because of that we are able to to make more music.
Killa Kela: It feels like there is a message in each one of the tunes.
The Goldborns: Yeah, there’s a connectivity. The authenticity of it is really important. We are really doing what we’re talking about. Our community backs us a hundred. No one can call us out for being culture vulture because we’re really there every day. This is the real shit. This is the west London sound.
Killa Kela: So, now you got this now this poppin’ what’s the plan?
The Goldborns: Recently, We’ve collaborated with our mate who’s a rapper called Kyza , he’s one of the most honest artists. The song is called “PTSD”. People trying to succeed daily. But we’ve got some more new music coming and this time it won’t be live because we’ve been there. We’ve got some new tracks that we think are even stronger. We’re hopefully going into the studio with a producer.
Some people get a bit scared because of what we talk about like robbing or selling drugs. I won’t say any names but we’ve been told to change the lyrics because what we’re talking about we’re not going to get radio play. We don’t care, we’re not going to change. There’s no compromises.
Killa Kela: You boys ain’t playing! West London’s finest!
Don’t forget to check out The Goldburns.