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October 25, 2011 / punkcakes

The Go Round

Brooklyn’s very own The Go Round has been my go to Autumn band of choice, leaving my ears warm and nostalgic with their Dylan, Nelson, and Young inspired sound. The Go Round brings something new to folk rock, and it totally works. I mean, who can hate anything when a banjo, mandolin, and fiddle are involved?

Q. Who and what is The Go Round? 

Brandon: The Go Round is a folk-pop-rock-country thing out of Brooklyn, NY comprised of Brandon Whightsel and Richard Duke on vocals/guitar/banjo/mandolin etc with Theodora Prunoske on Fiddle and Scott Townsend on drums.

 Q. What are your musical backgrounds?

Brandon: We are all pretty much self taught troubadours except for Theo who has been studying violin since she was in the womb. Scott can hold his own on most any instrument, and me and Richard mess around the best we can.

 Q. If you could give The Go Round a catch phrase or slogan, what would it be?

Brandon: “Awe horseshit!” seems to be a phrase that comes up a lot lately, but I think that’s because we are currently motoring through Montana in a station wagon.

 Q. With that comforting and familiar folk sound you guys do so brilliantly, what musicians influence your songwriting?

Brandon: Besides the trifecta of Dylan, Neil Young, and Willie Nelson you can probably pick up on some Elliott Smith, Townes Van Zandt,  Jeff Tweedy, Gillian Welch, Malkmus…

Rich: the three Bs. Beck, Biggie, Buddy (holly)

Q. What else influence your music?

Brandon: A lot of current events. We try to reference at least one periodical in every song. Poetry is a great source of raw material because no one reads it anymore. You can basically sample TS Elliott or Gary Snyder verbatim but then you end up with songs about crabs and buddah.

Rich: I like to go backpacking. John Muir trail, appalachian trail, the Tahoe rim trail. They all influenced my songwriting. I can’t think straight when I’m in the city.

 Q. Being from Brooklyn, are there any spots you guys particularly love to write at or feel inspired by? 

Brandon: Oh sure. The Badlands, South Dakota aren’t bad. We wrote a song about a cave in Kentucky.

Rich: Yea. Brandon’s got a big closet in his apartment. We hide out there to parse things out …

 Q. Speaking of Brooklyn… September 20th saw the release of Eastern Parkway. What are you guys particularly stoked on with its release?

Brandon: Ah a chance for some sincerity! We are really excited about this release because it was so fun to make. We did it ourselves by converting Rich’s apartment into a big recording studio and we recorded the whole thing live which was so much better than all the overdubbing we did previously. It just let’s the sound breathe in a big, full, and natural way. Also, it goes so much faster so you still like the record when it comes out.

Rich: Scott said it well the other day. We recorded eastern parkway when we all had a lot changing in our lives. The band was changing, we were all moving, our personal lives were in flux. Those four songs were something we could all center ourselves on for a weekend.

 Q. What do you hope Eastern Parkway says about you guys as a band? What’s the message?

Brandon: Besides the narrative of the songs which is always important to us, there is a kind of subtext that it’s just an affirmative and optimistic thing to make music or any kind of art these days. We hope that comes through on the recording because we feel it when we play.

Rich: Yea they may not be the most affirmative songs, but we feel communal singing them. What’s that Gillian Welch lyric? …Stick together, that’s how you make a crowd… Something like that

 Q. What’s in the future for The Go Round?

Brandon: We are currently about 1/4 of the way through our first national tour which is amazing. When we get back home we’ll spend a couple weeks fulfilling all our kickstarter rewards (if the project is successful – fingers crossed), then well start planning the recording of our 2nd full length record which will start in January.

 Q. You guys are now on tour promoting Eastern Parkway, what is your favorite part about playing live shows?

Brandon: Making the venues color sort all the M&Ms. Each band member likes a different color. Nobody will eat the yellow ones. Seriously though, playing live is where it’s at for us. Nothing compares to thrill of a new town and new venue and connecting with strangers. Just one person coming up after to say they dug it is worth a 10 hour drive.

 Q. If you could give any piece of advice to young musicians struggling to get their sound heard, what would it be?

Brandon: Man. If we knew we’d tell you. We aren’t as young as we used to be but it’s still a struggle. The important thing us to be as creative and flexible in your promotional thinking as you are with your music. There is no right way to do it. There is no formula. Just exploit every angle technology wise and try not to be a dick.

Rich: I think it’s important not to get caught up trying to get heard too fast.  We’ve played hundreds of shows and we still learn something about sound, about the industry, about our equipment, and about our songs, every time we play. There’s no hurry with this kind of thing.

 Q. Obligatory Punkcakes question… What is your favorite dessert? 

Brandon: Just took a quick band survey and couldn’t form a consensus, so try and imagine a mint chocolate chip ice-cream sundae with nutter butters, sprinkles, peanut butter, fresh chocolate chip cookies, bacon and bourbon.

(Favorite answer to date).

Download Eastern Parkway here for 5 bucks and go take a walk.

You can download and listen to their song “Angela” here (for freeeeee!)

Samantha Sicilia


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