CTMS interview with Goodnight Wembley on RAMfest and new tracks!

Goodnight Wembley by Ashley Brown


Goodnight Wembley! is an independent Hard Rock Retro band hailing from Cape Town.  The band is comprised of members from Taxi Violence, 7th Son, Dead Lucky and Yes Sir! Mister Machine.   The result is a fresh culmination of five unique styles drawing on their individual Grunge, Rock and Pop cultures.

The band launched mid-2012, but quickly overpowered South African crowds with their larger-than-life Rock sound and stage presence.  Goodnight Wembley! was picked as one of the Top 10 finalists in Converse’s ‘Get out of the Garage competition’ and received invitations to perform at festivals in 2012 and 2013, with Rocking the Daisies to be their first festival.

Goodnight Wembly photo by Samantha Laura Kaye

Goodnight Wembly photo by Samantha Laura Kaye

Firstly could you please give us a little background from each member and how did you all get together from there?

After playing in the same band for almost 8 years (Taxi Violence), George needed a new and fresh challenge and after hearing the kind of riffs Alex (Dead Lucky) came up with at rehearsals, combined with Jean’s (Dead Lucky) unique and hard hitting drum style, he approached them for a jam as he saw massive potential. Nic Gaud (7th Son) who was working alongside George at the time, was also looking to do something different to his usual ska style and when George and Nic were reminiscing about the old grunge days and how it influenced them,it made sense for Nic to join the jam session….but no bassist yet. The George remembered seeing Gideon (Yes Sir! Mister Machine) play a show with Like Knives and admiring his style and tone, George convinced the others and Gideon to join in on the action to see what would happen…..and so Goodnight Wembley had their first jam and the rest is history and the result is a culmination of five unique takes on the sense of excitement resulting in a sound that is both fresh and nostalgic, curious and catchy, innovative yet familiar. …or so we think.

GW is united through our love of the great sounds of old, drawing particular inspiration from influences like Black Sabbath, Rage Against the Machine, Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes, the Black Keys, Parlour Mob and the Raconteurs (which we proudly wear on our sleeves) – we were ultimately born at Kill City Blues, as so many other bands have.


You as a band have a busy schedule, all of you have other bands you play in and George also runs Kill City Blues, how do you manage rehearsing and recording between each member’s crazy schedule?

First of all, each band (Taxi, 7th Son etc) has their own calendar where there are dates for gigs booked or not booked.GW also has a calendar where each member in the band can go and put up dates for their respected bands and schedules or put down potential tour/gigs for Wembley. This way, we always know when somebody isn’t available or when nobody is booked to avoid clashes, it’s pretty simple as long as everybody keeps updating the calendars and remembers to check before making any bookings. Same goes for recording, although this is more flexible because it’s booked months in advance. What Kill City is concerned, George has a manager and staff that works for him and spends daytime, hands-on at the studio so it makes it easier when he is not in Cape Town, recording or on tour…and there’s this thing called the internet that helps people stay on top of things….


After the single ‘Time Machine’ you have been really quiet when it comes to releasing new tracks, do you think new recordings will be as popular as ‘Time Machine’?

We will be releasing a brand new single and video in February for the song called ‘Bad Reputation’, which in our mind is an ‘interim single’ to carry us over till the album drops in April/May 2013, but we feel is still a pretty catchy song. Originally we recorded ‘The Chase’ along with ‘Time Machine’ which we were going to release earlier but since the success of the first single we thought that ‘The Chase’ didn’t stand on par with that so we decided to go with something that’s more memorable and has a stronger hook. We don’t want to come out with a weaker single but not necessarily the strongest either. It’s a calculated move

To answer your question though, we have other songs we think will be as popular. Songs like ‘The Kids’ (1st single from the debut), always a treat live , ‘Light the Sky’ and ‘See you in Hell’(another favourite people keep singing back to us at gigs). Incidentally, other than recording, the festival/gig circuit and negotiations with the label and planning for 2013 has been keeping us rather busy which is why we’ve been so ‘quiet’ on the releasing front, which is never a bad thing.

Goodnight Wembley, photo by Baden Moir

Goodnight Wembley, photo by Baden Moir

Goodnight Wembley has recently recorded a debut album, the recording of the album was unique as you recorded on one of the members farms. Tell us the recording process and why you didn’t record the conventional way at a recording studio.

When our drummer moved to stay on a farm in Stellies, he made a joke one day (kinda how we got the name GW) that we should record there…We all thought that was an amazing idea, I mean, what band does NOT want to stay somewhere for a month and record and album at your leisure? It’s away from girlfriends, the bustling city social life, work and studies – full focus, commitment and no distractions. Jean showed us some pics and we were convinced, so then George approached Brendyn ‘Rusti’ Rossouw who recorded ‘Time Machine’ for us and asked him what the possibility was of moving all his gear to the farm to do this album and record our debut…and what it was going to cost us extra more importantly…he thought about it for about 10 seconds over the phone and responded with a very eager and excited yes! We sorted out some logistics and off we went.

The process was more or less the same as in studio except we had free time while Jean was for instance setting up drums or tracking to adjust parts, come up with new songs and refine lyrics. Plus we had a great view for inspiration, a pool and all round very relaxed atmosphere where we weren’t forced to work ‘on the clock’, we woke up and went to bed when we wanted. We also got to spend more time getting to know each other better as all of this kind of happened so quickly and became a better band because of it. We did have obstacles here and there with electricity because it’s such an old farm, funding and having to play the occasional show in between but it all turned out to be ok.


This is not the first time Goodnight Wembley grace the festival line-up stage. Is playing at RAMfest a big difference to other festivals and if so why?

I can only speak from experience with Taxi Violence and having played RAMfest a few times with them. What’s nice about RAMfest is that it’s never really the same experience and setup necessarily, which keeps it fresh for the musicians and the public. It’s also uniquely more of a ‘heavy’ festival and the beauty of GW is that yes, it has hooks but our heavy/edgy side and energetic live performance will also appeal to the folks that are into the metal vibe…or so we think, kind of like the concept of QOTSA, heavy riffs with a melody over it.

What can people expect from you performance at RAMfest?

We’re pretty new on the scene as GW so that in itself will be an experience for a lot of people. Our goal is always to be the best band we can be possibly be and that means we will be putting our best foot forward from a performance point of view and pretty much try to rip RAMfest a new asshole. We’re coming out on all cylinders firing! We have a lot to prove as I’m sure there are bands out there that believe we’ve had the easy road in, and we’re here to prove them wrong and show that we deserve to be on that stage at 10pm on a Friday night (as we have in the past). We’ll also have a few surprises and George will also be performing a very special show with VCK in CT and Jozi.


What’s the process like of prepping for a festival like RAMfest?

Google the lyrics for ‘Feel good hit of the Summer’ by Queens of the Stone Age and you have your answer….


With many festivals taking place all over South Africa these days what sets a great festival apart from an average festival from the artists point of view?

A organised one where the sound rig is good (and loud enough – it’s a fucking rock/metal festival) with a good crew running it, adequate onstage sound and assistance, a VIP section with the right stuff, enough clean showers and toilets, parking and camping for artists in the same place and not too far from stage for carrying gear, people that are there to have a good time and maybe some strippers for good measure…(in my eyes, GOLD MEDAL STATUS FOR RAMFEST IF THEY PULL THIS OFF)



What is your aim to accomplish before RAMfest?

Drop the new single ‘Bad Reputation’ so everyone can scream along and form mosh pits and stage dive through the rest of the set. Repair kidneys and liver. Get people amped to buy the debut album.

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