Goodshirt take a look in the mirror
After a six-year hiatus, Goodshirt frontman Rodney Fisher tells Vicki Anderson it's great to be back, and explains how their new EP is named after a mirror that makes everyone look good.
It's been a long time between songs about girls, but Goodshirt - brothers Rodney and Murray Fisher, Gareth Thomas and Mike Beehre - are back after a six-year break with a new EP.
Their last show was on New Year's Eve in 2005 at Auckland's Kings Arms.
Now frontman Rodney Fisher is back from Britain with his young family in tow and the band are back together. They performed as support for Hall and Oates and Icehouse as part of the A Day on the Green series in February.
Before they did so, however, they played a homecoming gig at the Kings Arms just before Christmas as a warm-up.
Back in 2003,their radio- friendly hit Sophie shot to No 1 and won single of the year at the New Zealand Music Awards, Blowing Dirt and Place To Be were top 10 rock radio singles, and their debut album Good spent more than seven months in the Top 50 charts.
But another hit for another band took Fisher to the other side - Britain, to be precise, with Breaks Co-Op.
Goodshirt split, somewhat amicably Fisher says, and half of the group joined Voom.
"I went on tour with Breaks Co-op and ended up living in the United Kingdom for six years. It was a great chance for us all to do some other musical projects, which has given us all a new perspective on working together again."
But they kept in touch, posting tracks to Dropbox during their time apart.
"We started sharing files in a Dropbox when I was still living in London, about a year ago. It was great way to get the ball rolling again and get excited about the tunes," Fisher says.
"Muzz, Mike, and Gaz started jamming every couple of weeks together over here, and we all started layering ideas over the mixes from home, and before you know songs were really taking shape in a new way for us."
Goodshirt are out of the garden shed they recorded their previous albums Good and Fiji Baby in, but his younger brother, Murray, took on producing and engineering roles for the EP.
"When we were all finally back in the same room, in November last year, we started working on the tunes together as a group and Muzz finished mixing the EP in his bedroom."
Some of those 60 or so tracks have ended up on the group's new EP, Skinny Mirror, inspired by a mirror spied, as rumour has it, in Hall and Oates' dressing room.
"It's a mirror that makes you look skinny ... no jokes!," Fisher laughs.
"Usually found in changing rooms in clothes shops."
Goodshirt play in Christchurch tonight as part of an Australasian tour that sees the group playing new tracks alongside old favourite tunes.
Skinny Mirror, the first new music from the band since 2004's Fiji Baby, was recorded during summer while the band found their feet again.
The five-track EP is available (along with the band's back catalogue) digitally on iTunes and Bandcamp, while a collectors' edition Skinny Mirror CD is available from Real Groovy Records and JB Hi Fi in Auckland.
"Musically, it was just us guys - but this designer Tim Donaldson did the artwork for it; he is a mate of mine I met in the UK and did my Backyard feat. Rodney Fisher album art too. I really love the clean, minimalistic approach he has. I'm a fan of the optical illusion on the cover art and the solitary pink donut inside is really random but works with the concept really well."
Fisher describes the five tracks as follows:
Out of Our League - "This is a track we blatted out live and kept pretty minimal for the recording - Muzz just plays one note for most of the song."
We Won't Tire - "This is a song Gareth started, the idea came from a dream about me. Weird. True story, and made a demo first thing one morning."
I Can't Drive - "This song should really be called Murray can't drive."
So Shook Up - "This is about someone breaking into Muzz's flat and stealing a bike when they were all sleeping."
So Charming - "The first track that came together from a jam late last year, which was our first in ages."
The video for single So Charming was created by award- winning director Helena Brooks and Flying Fish. Brooks' recent short film Nothing Special won the Best Short Film at Cinema des Antipodes, and received a nomination for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
It features the group stealing fruit, setting letterboxes on fire and jauntily snatching a buskers' hat and coins. Charming!
"I don't know if it's about anyone in particular. . . I've never stolen fruit or set fire to a letterbox, that I can remember. Murray wrote the verse and Gareth the chorus bit, but apparently it's about incestuous behaviour among friends."
Skinny Mirror has a few slower tracks, but retains the band's penchant for unhinged rock songs too. Does the future hold any plans for another full-length?
"We are really enjoying writing together again," Fisher says.
"I'd love to make another EP really soon, and take it from there."
Goodshirt at the Dux Live tonight with support from guests Sleepy Age and Thomas Coffey and the Grinders. Tickets $30 plus booking fee, available from undertheradar.co.nz.