Introductions rarely come as upfront and brilliantly in-your-face as Great Good Fine Ok’s opening gambit, ‘Body Diamond’. Their first work - out today on Epic Records / Neon Gold - is the sound of two giddy Brooklyn musicians aiming for the skies. Rocketing up to deadly heights, Jon Sandler and Luke Moellman’s debut hits hard with zero warning, bursting into view, all-eyes on penning a chorus to rule them all.
‘Not Going Home’ is the designated standout - an unashamed arms-in-the-air calling card. There’s also ‘Say It All’, a sweet addition to the EP that’s streaming exclusively on DIY. We’re also the first to be streaming the whole EP in full to UK folk, many of whom will be new to this outfit. As a means of introduction, we spoke to both Jon and Luke about their excitable early days and what’s next around the corner.
It sounds like your first year as a band has been a pretty whirlwind experience - what’s been the highlight?
Jon Sandler: It has been an incredibly exciting year! We love performing, so definitely some of the live shows have been the highlights - starting at SXSW where we played some of our first shows ever for the most amazing crowds and culminating in our first headlining show in NYC being sold out. We’ve had the honour of opening for some of our favourite artists and playing for some insane audiences, and we have been blown away by how many people already know all the words to our songs and really appreciate what we are doing.
How was SXSW for you? Bands always come back with mixed reports…
Jon: We had a really great experience. We played 6 shows in 3 days for amazing enthusiastic people. We rented a house around Austin for 12 people, including best friends and family, as well as the band. We were all just super excited to be there, eating the amazing BBQ, getting immersed in the unique vibe, and finally performing these songs that we were dying to share.
Luke Moellman: It was exhausting, but we had a couple shows in there that really made all the hard work worth it. SXSW for us was really the first time playing live as a band, so it was a big relief to see the culmination of months of preparation by playing our shows there. One of the coolest parts for me was leaving a stage after we finished soundchecking, going around the corner to a different club, and hearing Le Youth bumping our remix of his track 'Dance With Me' to a crowd of people dancing their asses off. It was pretty surreal.
Given you formed a year ago, was there anything that united you two beyond musical tastes?
Jon: Luke and I met and became friends about 3 years ago when he was living around the corner from me in BK with my close friend and piano player, and we realised that not only was our musical taste similar, but we grew up 30 minutes from each other in Upstate New York, and we had a lot in common. About a year ago we wrote our first song and learned that our musical compatibility and likemindedness was something crazy / special.
Luke: For some reason we can both entertain ourselves by sitting around and making all manner of strange noises with our voices and mouths. It’s something I guess we've both done since we were kids.
Your music’s been given the ‘escapist’ tag, but what does escapism mean to you? And is it limited to giddy synth-pop?
Jon: I’ve actually never heard anyone use that term about our music, but I like it, and totally hope that our music has an escapist aspect to it. If our music can help people escape from the unpleasant or banal aspects of life, give them comfort in hard times, give them joy when they are experiencing pain or just help them to figure things out, than that’s wonderful. I definitely don’t think that the escapist quality is limited to synth pop - good songs of every genre can/should have the same effect and impact on peoples lives.
Luke: I think a lot of music could be considered 'escapist' -- that's kind of what attracts me to it as a listener. It has the power to take you out of whatever moment you're experiencing. I also find that creating music, especially alone, can be an escape. It almost becomes easier to zone in on a piece of music I'm working on when there are other things that I should be dealing with that I'm trying to avoid.
‘You’re The One For Me’ is party music defined - what’s the best party each of you have ever been to?Luke: One of the most memorable parties for me was when I was a student in Miami and a hurricane was coming through. Some friends had the idea to host a "hurricane party" so we stupidly drove over to their house through the hurricane (including through a yard or two to avoid downed trees). The electricity was out, so we entertained ourselves by playing pool by candlelight and making music with whatever instruments were lying around their house.
Jon: My Bar Mitzvah