Sitting in their own space somewhere between the realms of funk, dance and electronica are The Goods. A Sydney three piece who knows their way around a sultry bassline, these renegades are currently gearing up to release their sophomore EP, and their first with three members.
We recently caught up in Newtown for a stroll, a beer and a chat with Rosario, Badmandela (formerly Boris Bangaltar) and their newest associate Black Tree.
Funked out, fresh and futuristic, The Goods are ready to bring their triple-distilled cocktail of beat-heavy, after hours tunes to a sound system near you.
HAPPY: How are we all?
ROSARIO: Good, great.
BLACK TREE: We’re gooood (laughs).
HAPPY: We’re good, we’re happy? Nice. So first things first, we have a new member in the mix. You’re good?
BLACK TREE: Yeah!
HAPPY: What was it between the double EP and this new sequence that made you want to bring in Black Tree?
BADMANDELA: It just made so much sense.
BADMANDELA: Working with Black Tree on the last record, it just felt so natural. You know, we’ve known each other for a long time. Reconnecting recently, it just felt like the old days. It just made sense and everything worked.
HAPPY: It doesn’t sound like something you agonised over, but bringing in an extra member can really change the vibe of a band. You didn’t weigh it over at all?
ROSARIO: Not really, it just flowed pretty naturally. We wanted a vocalist for our live shows anyway just because a few tracks have vocals, and he was gelling so well. The track with him on the last release was just an easy flow as well.
BADMANDELA: There wasn’t much of a discussion, it was just like… this is happening.
HAPPY: Nice, and about you, what’s your background in music? Aside from working with these guys before?
BLACK TREE: I’ve been involved with music for a long time. I started making music when I was in high school and ended up doing a pop, sort of, release. In those days Badmandela came and played bass for me live, that’s how we know each other. Then I moved away from music for a bit and got reacquainted… I think you guys actually called me up when you were doing the EP, you mentioned it would be remiss for me not to be on there. We used to play all the time and I used to front the project when we played live. So we got back in touch.
HAPPY: It’s been going on a year since The Goods, the EP. Given that it’s had some time to sit, how do you feel about it as a project? Is it at odds with what you want to release going forward?
ROSARIO: I think it was a moment in time. We’re proud of it, and going forward it is going to be different, it will keep evolving but that stands on its own really. We don’t have to tie that story into what we’re doing now.
BADMANDELA: The sounds and characters that we developed throughout that EP were definitely all about that project.
HAPPY: Why the decision to do a split EP there? It’s something, at least in Australia, I haven’t seen anyone else do recently.
ROSARIO: I guess we have various workflows for making music together. Sometimes we get in a room and jam together, and then other times we’re separate. At that time Badmandela had a bunch of beats and I had a whole bunch of beats, and we were listening to each other’s stuff and thought – these are kind of together but they’re also distinctly different flavours. Instead of trying to mash it all together, let’s just split it up into two. From there, once we’d decided on the tracks we reach out to singers. Basically instead of trying to force something we embraced it.
HAPPY: I watched a couple of those live videos before coming here, the ones at REC. I think they’re awesome, especially for showcasing your gear setup. Can you run me through the current setup?
BADMANDELA: My current setup, I have an Ableton Push which I use to trigger a couple of synths, a Moog Minitaur and a Dave Smith Tetra. Alongside that I have an OP-1 by Teenage Engineering.
HAPPY: I saw that, I was very jealous.
BADMANDELA: Yeah it’s a great little piece of kit.
BLACK TREE: A couple of people have commented about that!
BADMANDELA: I’ve actually got two of them, and usually the comment is that I’m greedy. So that’s the bulk of my setup.
ROSARIO: I’m running all the drums off an Akai MPC1000, I also play some synths on a Micro Korg, I play some vocoder on that too. The MPC runs through a Korg Kaoss effects pad.
HAPPY: Is that essentially what you record on?
ROSARIO: Recording is different every time.
BADMANDELA: We do use that setup to write as well, for sure.
HAPPY: What was the ‘gateway drug’ piece of gear that got you into buying all this? There’s always one.
ROSARIO: Definitely the MPC for me. But then also I got into audio, we have a studio and an instrument obsession as well.
HAPPY: What had the biggest influence on what you’re writing and recording right now? Gear wise I mean.
BADMANDELA: The Akai has had the biggest impact on our sound and workflow for sure. It’s the go to when programming drums; sonically you can’t beat audio coming out of an MPC. It’s the workhorse in the live show too.
HAPPY: Nice, moving on from the gear… I read in an older interview that the name The Goods was handed to Boris in a dream by an ancestor from light years away.
BLACK TREE: What were you guys smoking?
BADMANDELA: (laughs)… so what about it?
HAPPY: I like it! But I wanted to ask about your stage names, rather than The Goods. So, Boris Bangaltar?
BADMANDELA: Yeah, so Boris Bangaltar and Rosario D’Awesome are characters from The Goods EP. Those are the characters who are essentially making the music for you on that record. They were never meant to be our ongoing stage names.
ROSARIO: Rosario D’Awesome… my name is actually Rosario, the D’Awesome part, obviously just a play on Rosario Dawson, it came out one day and it stuck and made its way as my character on the album. Now it’s gone!
HAPPY: Black Tree?
BLACK TREE: I guess I have an ongoing moniker, I use Black Tree. It’s something that always resonated with me. I always hated my real name, so I don’t use it. Simple as that. I fucking hate it. I tell my friends all the time.
ROSARIO: We’ve changed our names, actually.
HAPPY: So you’re just Rosario?
ROSARIO: Just Rosario. It was a joke that went a bit too far.
BADMANDELA: And until I decide to change it again I’m known as Badmandela.
HAPPY: I did see that! Any story behind that one?
BADMANDELA: I couldn’t sleep one night and it just came to me.
HAPPY: From an ancestor?
BADMANDELA: Before I started dreaming this time. I don’t know who handed this one down to me, but it was definitely spiritual.
HAPPY: Nice. So going ahead, the next project is an EP, slotted for later this year. Is this another concept record or…?
ROSARIO: This one is cementing Black Tree’s place in the band, so written all together the three of us, really setting the stage for things to come as a trio.
BADMANDELA: Also a reflection of the work we’ve done in the past six months developing a live show. A couple of the tunes were developed in the live set, they were jams that turned into songs, so it’s definitely a reflection of that.
HAPPY: Digging both the tracks so far, it seems a little more after-hours than last time, if I had to give it a word. Is that the characteristic going forward?
BADMANDELA: We’re just taking it wherever we feel. Our first record was definitely an eclectic mix that showed more range than we probably needed to, so this next record is a little more refined and shows one small facet of what we do.
HAPPY: So cementing The Goods sound?
BADMANDELA: Yeah, and just doing what we feel.
HAPPY: Anyone you’ve been listening to that majorly informed that?
BLACK TREE: I’m all over the place with my listening.
ROSARIO: Do we have any direct references for The Goods?
BLACK TREE: Kinda? Not really.
HAPPY: That’s kinda cool.
BLACK TREE: We’ve got it to a place where we’re more interested in just listening to each other, and actually collaborating to create a sound together.
ROSARIO: Instead of an overall reference, I guess we get a guitar part from here, or a bassline influenced from that. We sample things in our head when we’re writing and they come out in that way.
HAPPY: You’ve been working on a live set, you said. You hitting the road?
ROSARIO: Yeah definitely touring the EP once it’s out.
BLACK TREE: Man I’m pumped! I’m pumped to hit it hard. We did a few gigs last year and we got pretty active for a while… I’m psyched.
HAPPY: Looking forward to it guys. Thanks very much!