This weekend The Goldilocks Zone returns for a show at LF Social Club. They were forced to take a break while their bass player Hansley returned to his home in Mauritius; now before everyone heads out on summer holidays they’re fitting in just one performance. Singer/guitarist Ronan Sheehan took Leng Pleng through the story of the band.
Originally named Complicated Business, the band began to form about two and a half years ago, with Ronan joining Jack Dodd and Rude Boy to form a three piece. “It started out as a three piece free-for-all, three lads out on a Saturday night. It was Christmas Eve, and we were having a singalong, and I got invited into the band after that because I could hit the cajon and sing. People were willing to pay us to sit there and drink their beer and play a few songs. After a while we were, like, we have to get better at it.”
The big leap came when they decided to add bass and drums, making a five piece. “A big driver of that was the Diamond Moon Festival [in November 2017]. They wanted us to play, and it was a big stage – you want a three piece acoustic band, a cajon and two guitars? No way am I doing that. We got a drummer in and a bassist in and switched to electric guitars, and we never looked back.”
“One thing we don’t lack is a bit of bravery. We set up on the stage and – right, this is us – and we could be horrible. And we live and die on that stage, and we have lived and we have died on the stage. Anything you could imagine that could possibly go wrong on a gig has gone wrong with a gig for us. But we just love it, and we’re trying to get better and better, and in the last two years we’ve got a hell of a lot better.”
One of the things that sets The Goldilocks Zone apart is a commitment to playing original material. “There are three main songwriters in the band who are pushing on more for the songs,” Ronan explains. “When we first started writing songs we were a three piece band doing an acoustic thing. It was all very new to us. And then we were, like, hey, I wrote a song, do you want to hear it? Alright, let’s hear it. Let’s play this. And it’s kind of remained the same.”
Rather than a jamming approach, Ronan describes a collective style of arrangement and rewriting that goes on in the rehearsal room. “One guy brings in a song, then it will completely change once everyone starts getting their fingers onto it, putting their input in. How about this? How about this? And all of sudden then it becomes a whole team thing. At the end the finished product is very much a five person output, but the original input would usually be one person.”
The enforced break in gigging has led to a development in the style of music. “The first version of the band, the songs were fast and kind of poppy – and that isn’t quite my style but I am still happy to play them because they’re ours. But the style has definitely changed an awful lot. There’s still a pop orientation – it’s catchy – but the sound has changed a lot in the last two years. In this iteration I’m trying to get more of a psychedelic sound, an expansive sound. I like playing slower stuff, making a soundscape.”
Last year, after a change in rhythm section (Hansley Bhikari and Jesse Ricketson on bass and drums respectively) in November 2018 the band released a single, Last Scream, so far the only song to come from what became a longer-than-intended album recording project. “We were looking at recording a bunch of stuff that we had, so we were looking around for different places to do it. There was a place that had just opened up on St 174 – we got as far as the drums and the bass recorded before it shut down. We basically did the rest of the recording at home, it became very much a home project.” Hopes are high that there will soon be some more to show for their efforts. “I think the songs that really excite us are the latest ones, written since we recorded, we really like them. We’ve started gravitating towards a different sound.”
In the meantime, playing live excites them all. “There could be one person there, there could be ten people watching, it could be a full house, whatever, but at the end of the night when you’ve had a good gig and all that work you put into it, rehearsing and tweaking – when it all goes right, at the very end, and the whole place is a big sweaty mess and you’ve given it everything – that’s what you do it for. Absolutely great.”
The Goldilocks Zone are at LF Social Club on Friday night from 9 pm.