Interview: Neighborhood Goliath on one-take music videos, the freedom of fusion, and equality
Having lived in both London (UK) and Orlando (Florida), what elements have you drawn from those music scenes for this project?
Neighborhood Goliath is a product of all of its varying cumulative environments. We have been built with a genuine collective of musicians and the individual influences that each of them have brought along the way.
Our time in Orlando allowed us to grow into what we became in London, which fuels how we operate today. With different music scenes and people you learn different tools and steps to help yourself grow. That forward growth is what we try to always infuse into our writing and performances, it’s what keeps us engaged and excited.
In the latest music video for your new single ‘Dark Stars’ (below and here), the whole concept seems to be filmed in one take, how did you achieve this and what was your vision for the record?
Lots and lots of practice! Our directors, Chris Gardner and Joe Watkins, did everything they could to get all of the people involved prepped and ready, to execute the majority of the video in a single take. There is only one cut in the final version and even that is presented in nearly seamless fashion. It all came down to rehearsing every moment and performing accurately when the time came.
'Dark Stars' - Neighborhood Goliath (2020)
When Trevor is performing on the West End in Hamilton, how do you manage balancing your jobs with creating new material and gigging?
We try to find creative ways and times to gig. Sometimes Trevor will take time off when he’s able to, other times we will work around his already busy schedule. It’s a balancing act of conflicting calendars, but Trevor also prides himself on taking on too many projects at once and somehow making everything work. The “career masochist” in him manifesting as a workaholic.
Are there any shows coming up that you are particularly excited about?
Our main goal for 2020 is to continue to release new music and content but at the same time we recently did our first live stream concert. There’s a high likelihood that, with the current global precautions being taken, these types of presentations will be more and more frequent.
We’d love to find some new and interesting ways to perform our music and stream to people in the safety of their own homes. So, honestly, the puzzle of discovering a way to do it that feels fresh and innovative is exciting in and of itself.
You’ve discussed the existing struggles with diversity and representation in the arts industry, how do you think the industry should be tackling this properly?
The industry has a history of not giving equal visualisation or accolades to ethnic or social minorities. The reality is that these marginalised groups are operating at a deficit when it comes to opportunities and exposure. We are considered marketable based on our profitability, but when it comes to equal pay, treatment, appreciation, we are still relegated to sub categories or niche presentations.
The best initial step is to continue an open discussion about the struggle of racial and sexual bias within the industry. Knowledge growth allows for more voices to be heard and ideally a response from up the industry food chain. The consumers will be the ones that force the hands of the entertainment business to change their approach, but it will take time and discussion for permanent change.
There’s an eclectic range of artists that you list as influences, such as Erykah Badu, Gorillaz, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. With such a broad mix, across the genre spectrum, what particular aspects do you like to draw on for your fusion sound?
Everything honestly! The variety in these influences allows for no shackles to be placed on the creative process. We want to always present the best version of an idea - of a song.
By removing any constraints of genre or expectation, we have the space to explore and pull in influences that make the music feel like it’s living and breathing with us. The freedom to explore in all directions at the same time.
'Swallow' - Neighborhood Goliath (2020)
Who would be your dream collaborators, both dead and alive?
Our dream collaborations would be all over the place: David Bowie, Ben Folds, Tori Amos, Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper, Dave Grohl, Amanda Palmer, Ben Gibbard, Damon Albarn - to name a few.
Finally, what does the word “Groove” mean to you?
Groove is the feeling that makes it impossible to ignore a song, or even a moment in a song. It pushes out from inside of you and clasps hands with the sound that surrounds your body.
Groove is infectious, groove is invigorating, groove is what makes us fall in love with the music that we hear.