“I guess it’s just being a responsible human being!” frontwoman Clottie Cream (Lottie) says of her band’s politically-charged post-punk. Goat Girl don’t brand themselves as a political outfit, but note their themes and socially expressive lyricism are important in promoting a progressively-focussed culture, giving voice to a jaded generation fucked off at a government who continuously fail to represent them. Pretty on-point.
The South London quartet - consisting also of Naima Jelly (Naima), L.E.D. (Ellie) and Rosy Bones (Rosy) - have just finished sound-checking for their headline show at Newcastle’s Cluny, the third date of a UK circuit which follows the release of their self-titled debut album. “The reaction to the album took us by surprise, because when we play live it’s quite different, it’s a lot more brashy”, comments Lottie.
Despite her claims, Goat Girl is most definitely not a record for the faint-hearted, boasting a 19-track length of a self-spawn brand of rickety rock; it’s not an easy listen and it’s not supposed to be. “We thought a lot about the textural layers and going more experimental and electronic with it”, she speaks of the recording.
Scattered with country-tinged rhythms backing gothic psychedelia - and a vocal which is equally gut-spilling to sultry - Goat Girl’s debut is a round-kick at modern Britain, exposing London city life of all its daily troubles. “I’m inspired by a lot by things taken from those situations which are seemingly quite ridiculous; putting a humorous spin on things with a tongue and cheek way of writing”.
The band produce music which is weird, witty and provides us with gloriously relatable one-liners such as “How can an entire nation be so fucking thick?” - Goat Girl on Brexit, like you needed telling.
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A sonically braver Libertines, the band encompass midnight swagger and a subtly aggravated energy which oozes effortless cool. “I love the unsettled sound of our voices with the kind of chords that we play. It’s off-sounding, but in a good way and not an out of tune way... I hope!”
This easy sense of cool comes off as exactly that - easy, not try-hard. Goat Girl aren’t natural extroverts, their live show a celebratory feminine affair without forced bravado. This - along with an organic approach to songwriting - is what makes the band so authentic both as musicians and social voices. “I kind of think writing about something which exposes myself as a person to the fullest extent is the best kind of song I can create really”, Lottie comments. “Once you let yourself go and let your guard down, you’re already creating the most successful songs. If you start to try and deliberately write about something, it loses its purity.”
Lottie talks of her songwriting in relation the band’s DIY roots. “We’d been doing it for a long time, before all this, as a hobby that existed in the attic of my house. It was pretty much bedroom music”.
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“I’m inspired by a lot by things taken from those situations which are seemingly quite ridiculous...”
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This journey from attic project to fully-fledged indie band was aided by Brixton boozer, The Windmill, who provided Goat Girl with an inspiring home to grow. “I think it sort of gave us a safety net to be able to experiment with how we were playing live”, says Lottie. “Most of the time we were supported by our friends, so we were quite lucky in the fact that we were learning together which felt like a real good support system. It also shaped the way we sound as well. A lot of bands that play The Windmill we’ve been completely inspired by, even before we started making music.”
Goat Girl’s community-led beginnings were an important factor in positioning their music today, Lottie citing the band as part of an exciting artistic movement. “I love the collective we’re involved with in South London at the moment. I think it not just involves potentially music but the visual arts, sculpturists, poets. For me right now that’s what’s really exciting and we feel so privileged that our music is able to exist in the time that it is existing”, she speaks the youth-led, anti-Brexit crusade.
“Obviously movements happen all the time, but I feel like this one’s really special to me and the rest of Goat Girl.”
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Signing on the dotted line at Rough Trade Records before they’d released a single riff into the world, you could say things moved quite rapidly for Goat Girl, playing shows and completing their final line-up before being cast straight into label bids.
“It definitely moved quite fast after we got signed”, comments Lottie. “I don’t think we really had enough time to grow with the image we were trying to portray as Goat Girl being this kind of product, almost. I don’t think it was an agenda we were really used to, having to think about our music in terms of the sellability of it. But if you don’t think about it then someone else will, and that will shape into how you’re perceived”.
Self-assured Londoners, though, Goat Girl know exactly what they’re about. “In the beginning we didn’t have as much control as we did now. I think we are at the point of having learned a lesson for sure and now we’re structuring it how we want it to go”.
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“We feel so privileged that our music is able to exist in the time that it is existing...”
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Clash asks about the band’s experiences of being fully-female, and gets the perfect response. “I think it’s weird the way music journalists write about what they term as ‘female bands’”, Lottie comments. “It detaches from them music in a way, as thought your gender is basically seemingly why you’re succeeding. It becomes a commodifiable product which is something that is a real shame to have to exist for women. You don’t say an ‘all male band’, you just say ‘this is a band and this is the kind of music that they play’. I wish that could exist for women but it just doesn’t”.
Lottie suggests that until there’s more female bands who detach themselves from gender, who “don’t have to use their image or bodies to be able to make a point”, this will persist.
Despite a rightful disgust at what continues to be a male-dominated industry, Goat Girl don’t spend their time trying to match a masculine aura. “I do think it’s also kind of important to embrace being an all female band”. She elaborates. “I think it makes a real impact us being women and how we write and play music together - it’s a real sort of accepting, natural environment. I guess it is a feminine thing, I mean, we have different hormones in our bodies or whatever.”
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“I think it makes a real impact us being women and how we write and play music together...”
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Their consistent feminist views don’t mean Goat Girl want to be tied down into the ‘politico-feminst’ bracket, though, putting primary focus on their sonics and how they plan to progress as simply makers of music. “I don’t think it’s really that exciting to stay in one sort of sound. As we learn and we change and we evolve, I think we should embrace it as a band, being inspired by changing times”.
Working with acclaimed producer Dan Carey (Franz Ferdinand, Kate Tempest) on their debut, Lottie describes a change in the way the band now hear their music. “It’s almost gone into a new concept of it being more experimental and thought out. I think it was kind of easy with our songs to let the simplicity lift through it and not really think about what we were doing so much. But now we want to become more detailed with it”.
There’s no doubt that Goat Girl have triumphed in the production of their debut, with a seemingly immortal aspiration to push even further the boundaries of their thrillingly erratic sound. “There’s so many different avenues I think our music can go down”, Lottie concludes. “We’re definitely up for embracing the evolution of it”.
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Goat Girl’s self-titled debut album is out now via Rough Trade Records.
Words: Alice Mortimer
Photography: Holly Whitaker
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