Hot Gig Alert (2/2 & 2/3): Melbourne’s Phoebe Go has her Boston debut (Interview in Post!)
(photo credit: Naomi Davison)
As we kick into February this upcoming week, which is a wild thing to think about, live music is fully coming to life again after the requisite holiday break that most artists take. You know, to be with their families, relax, we are all human, even though we tend to forget that sometimes. We’re also in a time in 2024 when it’s the first time, sadly enough, that many international artists (from the likes of Two Door Cinema Club to Bombay Bicycle Club, we love a good club here at NES) are making their state-side return in the next few months since the world shut down. The latest for you to check out when she comes through town this week is Melbourne’s Phoebe Go. A few dates into her entire month run of it in the US as direct support for Briston Maroney, Go will open up the show two nights at the legendary Paradise Rock Club on 2/2 and 2/3.
While her latest body of work for Go dropped in 2022 in the form of her Maker EP, the debut album is swiftly approaching. As mentioned by Go in our recent chat, “Yeah, it will be all out in the year’s first half,” a taste of the new tunes are sure to have a rightful place in the setlist. With a new single dropping this upcoming Friday and the vibey “Something You Were Trying” hitting the airwaves last fall, Go’s show is indeed something not to be missed. Limited tickets are still available for both shows which can be grabbed here and get there early, Go’s set commences at 8 pm to kick off each evening. For now, you can find my chat below with Phoebe on her current US run; I caught her a few hours fresh off her arrival from Australia, where we chatted about new tunes and the development of her latest project.
New England Sounds: I’m assuming you are state-side right now, a few days before the run starts.
Phoebe Go: Yeah, I arrived this morning actually in LA. So I’m a little sleepy, but it’s okay.
NES: How long was that flight?
PG: It’s…fifteen hours, I think? Direct. I don’t usually sleep on planes, so it was long, but I read a nice book, and it was okay.
NES: Well, I’m glad to hear it. So maybe a soft one to start. You’re about to start this tour with Briston Maroney. And considering you flew in, maybe the three essential items that you kind of need to have with you in your back pocket when it comes to touring?
PG: (Laughs) nice question. Okay, let me think about this. I need a journal, pen included. I need my phone because everything’s on your phone these days. It’s just how you do it, you know. For this tour, I thought it was essential to bring my runners’ because it’s a bus tour and it’s a month. I felt I might go a bit stir-crazy. So it will be a nice way to see the cities, run around, and muck about if I have a couple of hours off a day or something.
NES: And I know you’ve been doing music for a while, I know, in different groups and different projects, but from what I can see, is this the first time you’re doing a full US tour?
PG: Yeah, this is my first time doing the US one. And I’m so excited. I have no idea what it will feel like. So many shows extending over a full month. It feels like an adventure to me. In Australia, the cities are so far away. So it’s like you play on the weekends, but during the weeks, you’re off. And you’re traveling, so I think this will be a cool learning curve for me.
NES: Then, we’re in 2024. It’s a lot different than in 2021, when music started returning to life in a live performance setting. Any advice you would give, or maybe how the experience has been playing live shows again? Just maybe thoughts or preparations you made for going back on tour?
PG: So yeah, thoughts for going back on tour. For me right now, it’s really positive. I feel so excited about the music I’m making and putting out. It makes it such a joy to play them and connect with folks who I’ve never met. And who has never met me! I really love the idea of support tours, especially because you get to play in front of strangers. Like no one knows who I am. And it’s quite a freaky feeling but really free as well. And that’s sometimes like a less scary show than when like playing for my family. Because they know me so well. I’m stoked, too, because I got invited to be on the bus this time. Because I’ve never done that. It means I can just sort of move around in Briston’s wake. And I’m sure I’ll also learn a lot from those folks. I feel like I’m still learning still, don’t know if I’m ready to beef out advice. Other than that, for me, though I was just thinking about when you asked me what three items, I think it’s quite important to take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. I think that’s what I was thinking about bringing a journal and some runners’ along. Because I could just imagine how life would be, the intensity of touring, you’d just go fucking crazy. And yeah! I’m excited, so excited.
NES: Yeah, I’m glad to hear about the journal. I journaled straight from 2020 to now. I’m happy I chronicled all that time and the world re-opening.
PG: Totally, that’s cool. That must be amazing to skim back over the pages. It’s like a window.
NES: And I know you guys were shut down pretty aggressively, like we were. It was a therapeutic thing to have that. Then I know you’ve been performing in bands since, I believe, 2015. I know the EP came out in 2022. When did you really start exploring doing this solo thing? Kind of having your project? When did that start forming for you?
PG: It started forming in Melbourne just before the beginning of the lockdown. And I just thought, what a sweet opportunity to explore it. You know, I had always wanted to. I had always written songs alone, and I just had never put the time into it because I was so busy with the bands. So yeah, it felt right. It felt right at the time. When I played my first live show with the solo project, that kicked things into gear in a big way. And I felt so myself for the first time ever on stage. I’m really just stoked with that feeling, excited to keep touring, excited to keep doing it. It was a show supporting Maple Glider; I don’t know if you know her. She’s great. That was my first show as Phoebe Go. I asked my friends to be in the band because I just wanted to feel held. I like to feel like I’ve got buddies in my corner. It’s helpful that they’re also wonderful musicians. It was just really special. When I think about it now, how far the project’s come since then, it’s pretty cool. To take the first leap, and that’s what this tour feels like, too. It’s something so unknown, but there’s only one way to find out. So just why not?
NES: And I feel like it will be nice too, because I know at least in Boston you’re doing two nights, but you’ll get to actually relax a bit and not have to set up everything twice.
PG: Yeah, there are a few cities, maybe three or four, where we’re playing two shows, like two consecutive nights, in New York, Chicago, and maybe Washington. And yeah, I think that will be great because I’ve never been to these places. I’d love to go for a stroll and get a sense of the cities.
NES: I’m based in Boston, and where you’re playing, we’re a little sleepy here, but you’ll be in a good little area with a bunch of really good inexpensive restaurants with a bunch of different cultures cuisines. And especially where you’re playing, Paradise Rock Club, they’re great. U2 played their first-ever show in America where you’re playing.
PG: No shit (laughs), that’s crazy. That’s so cool.
NES: And I know the latest single, “Something You Were Trying,” was in October. From what I read, it’s the lead single off the upcoming album, which I’m sure you can’t say much about. But I believe it’s planned for this year.
PG: Yeah, it is!
NES: Perfect! Then maybe, are these songs that you wrote in a separate writing session from the first EP’s songs. Or were they all written around the same time? When it comes to the full-length.
PG: The album was written kind of after the EP. So, it was the next batch of music that was coming. And it was a similar process. Most of the songs started pretty old-school—just me and a guitar. And Simon and I, he’s my drummer, and my producer, and I built them up from there. So yeah, they just came into the wild in the way that songs come. I just tried to sort of stay open to that. I didn’t have a particular idea of what the album would be. More so, I just wanted to let it present itself as I went. And yeah, I’m writing about my life. In a way, it’s like a journal, just a moment in time. I was just really proud of the tracks I could find in myself for this album. And yeah, I wasn’t trying to perfect it. I was trying to be as honest as possible with it. I’m pumped to put it out.
NES: And I’m sure you can’t tell me much, but is that still the plan to have it out this year at a later point?
PG: Yeah, it will be all out in the year’s first half.
NES: Perfect, so it’s very close.
PG: Yeah, it’s all slowly starting to happen. I have a song coming out next Friday as well. So, that will be fun to put one out while I’m on the road. That will be exciting, I think.
NES: Then, to end it off, you start this tour in two days. I’m sure you have a bit of a cross-country travel moment ahead of you in the next few days. I think North Carolina is the first date, bringing you to the opposite coast.
PG: Yeah, totally! I flew in this morning, staying with a friend tonight, and then flying to North Carolina tomorrow.
NES: I think to end it then, I appreciate you taking the time to chat. Maybe the focus and goals for these next few months. This is your first US run. I’m sure you’ll maybe see how this first full US tour happens when it comes to the shows, but considering how early it is in the year.
PG: Yeah, I mean, I hope to come back this year. The intention is there, with the album coming out and stuff. I can come in and out for the next three years with the visa. So I’m just so keen to see what pops up. But yeah, hopefully, do some more songwriting over here and stuff in the second half of the year as well. Maybe an album, too. I’ll see.
NES: I didn’t realize how long the visas lasted, that’s incredible.
PG: Yeah, I applied for a longer one because I figured if I was putting the work in for that application and stuff, I may as well. It’s such a tricky process, so I’m happy I have it for three years. And I can kind of tick that box, you know, for the next little while. And just be able to jump it whenever anything comes up.
2/2 & 2/3: Phoebe Go opening up for Briston Maroney at the Paradise Rock Club. Doors at 7 pm, Phoebe at 8 pm.