Interview Mojo Gogo
A fear of hard work is an accusation that could never be levelled at Mojo Gogo. Formed a little over three years ago while in college in Derry, the band, consisting of Donegal natives Niki Pollock (guitar/vocals), Jordan Carty (drums), Keelin Gallagher (bass/vocals) and Paul Rodgers (guitar), are already about to release their fourth EP Streets, Backseats & Envy on 7th March and are set to play one of their biggest gigs to date, in The Academy 2 on 6th March.
Fresh from a tour of the Netherlands late last year, where they gigged every night, the band went straight from there in to the world renowned Grouse Lodge studios to record the new EP and have already hit the road again to promote the new release.
Recording in such a prestigious venue, which has seen the likes of REM, Muse, Snow Patrol and Michael Jackson cross its threshold, proved to be an awe inspiring experience for the band. “It was just kind of surreal,” says Jordan. “When we went to the front door they were like ‘you have to sign the guest book’ and we were like ‘ok’ and we opened up the guest book and we were seeing people like Michael Jackson and all that there. We were like ‘oh my god, this is ridiculous’ and we were like, just didn’t even feel worthy of signing the guest book because Michael Jackson’s signature and all is there. We were like, ‘this actually mental’ so that’s the way we felt but it’s an amazing studio you know. It was an amazing experience.”
That amazing experience has produced a three track EP full of infectious hooks and energetic, soaring riffs that perfectly counterbalance the lyrical themes of fractured relationships and lost weekend parties. Such universal themes are sure to appeal to a wide audience and the band haven’t been afraid to do the hard slog, travelling the length and breath of the country to build up their following.
This admirable work ethic will see them heading off to spread their sound all over Europe, with gigs planned in Germany, the Netherlands and a week long residency in Lanzarote over the coming months. There’s also the small matter of the Aranmojo festival, a festival that is organised by the band themselves.
Aranmojo takes place in Aranmore Island in Donegal and is now in to its third year. The lads started the festival in reaction to the lack of venues for original music in Donegal. “For the past two years it was all Donegal acts. That’s kind of why we started the festival, was to give them an opportunity because there was no original venues around Donegal at the time,” says Jordan. “But now, two years later, there’s original gigs popping up everywhere and the scene’s really healthy up here, so this year we’re actually taking bands from down the South up to Donegal. We’re taking bands from Dublin, we’ve a band from Limerick and stuff like that so that’s really exciting to be taking them up with us.”
While he’s reluctant to reveal who these bands will be before the official announcement in April, if the previous year’s line up is anything to go by, one can assume that the acts are sure to be top notch. In Their Thousands, Colour//Sound, Mark Black and of course Mojo Gogo themselves all played to a sell-out crowd of 200 people in 2013.
An intimate festival, packed full of quality emerging Irish acts, on an island off the coast of one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland – there’s worse ways you could spend a summer weekend!
But before that, there’s the small matter of the current tour which culminates in the aforementioned Academy gig. The hard graft that the band has put in has seen them earn rave reviews for their live performances and Jordan feels that this is the best way to fully appreciate Mojo Gogo. “Come see us,” he says. “You can read all our interviews and everything like that but until you come see us you’re not going to probably understand what we’re about.”
And what is it that they’re about?
“When we play live we just let loose and that’s what we want people to do as well, just come and see us and just let loose. I mean at our gigs you get girls there and you see girls up crowd surfing and stuff with skirts on, it’s just crazy, you know. It’s just bedlam,” says Jordan and he reckons that Mojo Gogo are “really bringing back the old punk kind of feel to things, you know. Our music’s not punk obviously, but our gigs would definitely remind you of the old punk gigs, people just going absolutely crazy.”
By Mark O’Brien