Dollars to Pounds: Get People

June 07, 2012

This summer spare a sympathetic thought for Caspar Leopard, Dom Goldsmith and Martin Rooney, the trio known as Get People. They’ll be spending it in a basement that smells like paint. Still, a freshly-built studio a stone’s throw from Dalston Junction is hardly a bad place to be stuck when recording a debut album, especially if you’re splitting the rent with darkly lush newbies Arthur Beatrice (who include Leopard’s brother Orlando in their ranks). It sure beats laying down tunes at the foot of a bed, which is where Get People started off some 20 months ago. Back in November, I was digging the interstellar sweetness of "Macaw," and further explorations into their previous singles and upcoming EP “Harmonize” (out on Luv Luv Luv on July 2) have offered an increasingly cohesive vision. With gently chimed guitars, djembe slapped rhythms, spacious electronic beats and warmly soporific, neatly layered vocals, the trio excel at creating imagistic musical dreamscapes. Listen to the lead track, “Something Better”, from their new EP, which they say is about “sticking to your guns and rolling with your vibe,” and read my interview below.

You’re spending the majority of the summer recording your record, but you are taking a little break to return to Burning Man again this year. What did you bring to trade last time? DOM GOLDSMITH: I took flashing tambourines. CASPAR LEOPARD: I took Scotch whiskey. I was giving people shots of that. MARTIN ROONEY: Isn’t that because you bought too much? GOLDSMITH: Didn’t you buy it in America though? LEOPARD: Yeah! But no one knows that!

What was the experience like? GOLDSMITH: When you finally get there they give you a big hug and say, “Welcome home.” I think for a lot of people it is their home and they go back there once a year, for a week. You have to put your English cynicism aside because you could so easily rip that. LEOPARD: They initiate you by making you do dust angels in the sand and then they give you a gong and you have to smash it three times and scream at the top of your lungs: “I’m not a virgin anymore!”

Would it be fair to say London is almost like your anti-inspiration? LEOPARD: It’s all sculpting around this idea of an escape from the urban mundane. It’s like being in London has driven us to make music that takes you out of it. GOLDSMITH: Not in the let’s all go to the countryside sense, but let’s be slightly otherworldly and have fun with it. We want to bring back slow sexy pop music.

Your video for “Something Better” is a pretty trippy animation. GOLDSMITH: The director Michael H Smith joined the band as our animator. We’re working together to create this real vibe of synesthesia. The album is going to be set to a feature length version of his animations. We never wanted the visuals to be an afterthought, but we didn’t have the expertise to do it.  Now having Michael on board it’s realizing something we’ve always wanted to do. He’s very much a part of our ethos. We have a shared goal of what we want to achieve. LEOPARD: All the visuals are going to take you to this weird trippy world, and we’re writing little storylines for each song to create a real visual world for the album that will be projected behind us when we play live.

What is it about you three that makes a good creative fit? ROONEY: I think I’m the cooling agent on the motor. LEOPARD: Me and Dom are quite forceful characters and occasionally we can rub off on each other… GOLDMITH: Wrongly! Ha ha! LEOPARD: Wrongly! All these innuendos. Damnit! Rub each other the wrong way! It’s the classic thing of a little battle makes a healthy sound primordial soup. Martin cools us down and we make better music because of it.

Apart from spending the summer locked in the studio will you be going to the Olympics? LEOPARD: I am, funnily enough. My girlfriend used to be a rhythmic gymnast so we’ve got tickets. I’m going with her to a couple of things, sadly not women’s volleyball. I have to say though, after the jubilee I’m kind of done enough British stuff for while. I didn’t do anything for last weekend’s jubilee obviously. Well, I watched it on TV…

What? That was worst thing to do. Why weren’t you at a street party getting rained on? GOLDSMITH: I had to get away from London during the jubilee. Do you remember the royal wedding double bank holiday last year and how awful you felt for the next five weeks after that? I went home to Northamptonshire to see my mum, cuddle my dog and eat home-cooked food. My mum has llamas and alpacas, so I went to go chill with the emperor’s new groove. LEOPARD: I had a nightmare when I was 15 that a llama trampled me to death. It hooved me through the chest and I was bubbling blood. I woke up sweating and now llamas scare the shit out of me.

How many does she have? GOLDSMITH: There are four alpacas. I wanted to name them after The Beatles because they genuinely do look like The Beatles circa 1960. It’s their hair—you just want them to start speaking with a Liverpudlian accent. But they’re named after nuts, like Cashew, Peanut, Conker. And a conker’s not even a nut!

Caspar, both you and Martin have letters tattooed on your inner upper arms. What’s the deal? LEOPARD: Graham, my flatmate [the guitarist in Crystal Fighters] is a big fan of “bro-tats”, so after a night out we had some letters inked on our arms. They stand for people’s names. We were in the tattoo parlour and Graham, who was a bit drunk, rang Dom and said, “Dude I’m getting your name tattooed. You’re coming right?” GOLDSMITH: I was meant to have the initials, but I was on the train when I got the call. I told him I couldn’t come which he took to mean I’d be there in five minutes. LEOPARD: So we all got Ds and Dom was in Northamptonshire! He’s going to have to get it done at some point.

From The Collection:

Dollars To Pounds
Dollars to Pounds: Get People