The Go-Betweens

Only on very rare occasions does an album give you such a elated feeling that to analyse it would be as hard as explaining exactly why you're head over heals in love with that stranger you see on the train every morning. I could say that the very first note of "Bright Yellow Bright Orange" that I experienced such a feeling, but with the Go-Betweens you experience that on every single song. Designer Magazine caught up with Grant McLennan to talk about his friendship and bond with Robert Foster which creates beautiful music and moods that he simply can't find with anyone else.

Q: "Bright Yellow Bright Orange" takes off from where "The Friends Of Rachel Worth" left off. Does it seem strange when you think this is your eighth album now?
A: It feels great because most people who have made eight albums would be about 32 or something, but because we had that 10 year break of releasing Go-Betweens records it feels young. Between "16 Lovers Lane" and "The Friends Of Rachel Worth" whilst there were no Go-Betweens records, Robert and I have both made solo records and a bunch of records with other musicians so it didn't feel like starting again at all.

Q: Robert has said previously that he knew you would always get back together. Was that the case over the 10 years apart?
A: No, I never once thought about it and I think Robert could be telling you a porkie there. The only time it ever came up was towards the end of 1999 when we were playing some acoustic shows together. We had some new songs and I just said it would be great if we could record them. It hadn't really crossed my mind ever so I was just as surprised as the next person.

Q: I guess being older than a lot of bands around now you don't really care where you fit in anymore. I think the Go-Betweens have always had that timeless quality and looking at it from the outside I can see what makes it special. Can you look back at your own songs and see why they're so special?
A: I haven't really cared about where we've fitted it. I'm just glad that we get let into the room. When I look at bands that I really like there is a story that goes with it, it's not just the music. I like the idea that  there is two very different songwriters in this band and how the band started and the friendship and the trip. In the middle of that we record and play. It's a good friendship and I'd like to think that when were successful it's good music too.

Q: While you took the 10 year hiatus from the Go-Betweens and worked with other musicians did it ever feel the same as working with Robert?
A: Not the same. It wouldn't matter if I was a dancer or something, just working with different people is different. I think definitely something happens when Robert plays guitar and sings on songs that I write and vice versa. I think that is definitely something that I can't really explain. It is something that we've got and it's magical.

When I first picked up the bass and I couldn't play and Robert showed me the chords to "Lee Remick"...those things have stayed with us. What's really great now is that were able to discover songs that Robert's written on his solo records and on mine and we mess with them a little bit and they just become Go-Betweens classics.

"Bright Yellow Bright Orange" is out now on Circus
The Go-Betweens tour the UK in April
For more info

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