Live4ever Interview: Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey’s new solo venture Vangoffey

Vangoffey

Danny Goffey is the profoundly talented sticksman who kept the beat for 17 years in one of the UK’s best-loved guitar bands – Supergrass. Perhaps a lesser known fact is that Danny made a solid contribution to the band’s songwriting; penning ‘Alright’, ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ and ‘Late In The Day’. Not too shabby at all.

Vangoffey, his new solo project, recently released debut album ‘Take Your Jacket Off and Get Into It‘, and it’s an absolute treat. The band includes BabyshamblesDrew McConnell, who Danny linked up with before his brief stint playing drums with the Pete Doherty fronted band.

Anyone yearning for a new guitar record loaded with infectious melodies and sharp, witty lyrics will rejoice in this triumph. Single ‘Trials Of The Modern Man‘ sounds like Supergrass covering The Kinks powered by rocket fuel. ‘Race Of Life‘ is another highlight, driven by a thumping beat and containing spoken word vocals responsible for one of the album’s most amusing lyrics: “I shot out my old man’s shooter – summer of 73, straight into the biological computer of my old girl’s fruity machine”.

We caught up with Danny to talk about the album, what it was like working with his kids, and to delve into a bit of 90s nostalgia.

How long had the Vangoffey album been in the making?

About two years from start to finish.

Which track on the album do you enjoy playing live the most, and why?

‘Spilt Milk’. I don’t know why, maybe because it feels effortless to play.

What do you find the most rewarding – the creative process of writing and recording the songs or playing them live?

I enjoy the process of writing and recording more. There’s more time to cross examine and self-deprecate.

Does writing catchy songs come easy to you, or do you have to work hard at it over a long time?

I have to work hard recording a lot of initial ideas, and then sorting out the crap. The recording is more exciting.

There’s a great sense of humour running throughout much of the lyrics on the album. This loose, tongue-in-cheek approach to writing, which was highly prevalent among bands during the Britpop era, seems to be missing in modern indie music – why do you think that is?

I don’t know. Maybe people are more uptight these days. The world is scarier and a lot more unpredictable place than it was 20 years ago.

What was it like to work with your kids in the videos for ‘Race For Life’ and ‘Trials Of a Modern Man’?

It was very natural. It felt good to do some constructive stuff together and I’m lucky to have such easy going kids. They’re a credit to their mother.

Do they give you their opinions on your music? Do you have hopes they will follow your footsteps?

My youngest, Betty, is a Vangoffey fan. She knows most of the lyrics. Daisy is very supportive too and likes what I do. The boys could definitely live without my music.

What was it like filling in on the drums for Babyshambles on tour? How did life on the road compare to your days in Supergrass?

It was very pleasant going on tour with Babyshambles. They were perfect gentlemen to me. Life on tour was pretty similar to Supergrass. Gig, bar, hotel, plane, gig, bar, hotel, plane etc…

Given the current climate of the music industry, what are your expectations for guitar music in the future?

I have no idea. I guess it will morph into various shapes and incarnations.

There have been a lot of big Britpop anniversaries in the last couple of years. What’s your most memorable anecdote from that period that you’d like to share?

Gaz used to wear tight purple Y fronts…

Supergrass and your new outfit put a lot of effort into making memorable music videos. Has this always been a conscious decision? Are you a strong believer in the importance of a visual representation of a song?

My brother is a director and made most of the Supergrass videos. I’m interested in making videos because I think it’s a really positive and creative thing to do and I get a lot of stress/pleasure from it – from conceiving the idea, through to the editing and post-production.

Do you have any plans to follow up ‘Take Your Jacket Off and Get Into It’? Are there many songs leftover which didn’t make it onto this record?

We’ve just started the recording of a second album. It’s all new stuff that’s been written from the end of last year.

What has been your most satisfying moment so far in Vangoffey?

I enjoyed mastering the album at Metropolis because it meant that it was finally done! I couldn’t mess with the songs ever again!

What are the band’s plans for the rest of the year?

At the moment, some summer festivals and a tour in autumn.

As an experienced musician, what would your advice be to new artists today?

Do not listen to your elders. Steer clear of religion.

(Matt Humphrey)

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