Visceral Records talks tyrants, The Wiggles, and Lil Pump with ‘founders of the post-absurdist movement’, Go Chi Minh.
INTERVIEW BY ALISTAIR MILTON-SEALL
Whilst many people are out basking in the 33-degree heat, I’m in my room in SE5 looking into the interiors of what many consider the Epsom elite. Go Chi Minh, the ever-well-oiled and precision-built machine, have agreed to lend their time to Visceral Records.
Long gone are the days when James (Guitar aka Naughty Seniorita), Nick (Drums aka Professor Spread) and Harrison (Bass / Vocals aka Madame Runt) formed Go Chi Minh as a hardcore punk band straight out of the KT (Kingston) postcode. Today it is now an established vessel sailing throughout the South London music scene. With Harry (Guitar / Synths aka Sister Gudjonsson), who had been producing their sound for most of it, and Vince (Vocals / Melodica aka Colonel Mustard), a true enigma, having joined the team over the years, the Minh boys take some time to chat with me, looking back at how they’ve evolved into what they are today alongside what’s up next for them.
For those unfamiliar, from the outset Go Chi Minh boasts a confident, jovial sound, regularly compared to the likes of DEVO and the Butthole Surfers. However, according to Nick the band really gained traction when Vince joined. “None of us could really sing or play an instrument, so we needed Vince to come in and do the talking.” Previously, the Minh, then Sol Bomba, would get Vince to come in for a few tracks to perform live either poems or speeches he’d written. At this point on our Zoom call, the band (minus Vince) and I detour to discuss the moustache wielding frontman. In praising his “output” since drama school and being the “only one with confidence as we’re all cripplingly shy,” it’s very clear the band have a lot of love for their “tyrant” at the helm.
With nothing really planned due to lockdown measures, taking a “see what happens approach,” the band talk me through what they miss of old too. Having seen Go Chi Minh support the likes of Great Dad and Meatraffle at Venue MOT Unit 18 in Bermondsey in October 2019, I’ve discovered for myself that a common theme is their presentation skills. Dressed as The Wiggles on that occasion, the Minh take me on a guided tour of these escapades. Favouring their Gameshow get-ups to safari and football kits during the World Cup, they made a Go Chi Minh gameshow theme tune for their walk-ons at both The Windmill in Brixton and the former Five Bells in New Cross.
This theme of themes carries across their shows. As such, the Minh boys discuss their most memorable moments to date. From getting to learn other acts in South London through the “luck” they’ve had so far despite being “not particularly that social,” they mostly agree Fuel Cafe in Manchester was up there. “We sounded terrible but the crowd we’re going for it… the stage was bouncing and we had to be told to stop playing as it was making the whole floor wobble like a trampoline.”
Despite their Epsom roots, the Minh lads have since dispersed further afield. Nick and Harry are now up in Manchester. This means that when they’re all together in one room there is an added incentive for them to produce something special. Go Chi Minh’s most recent single ‘Trans-Human Express’ is a product of this. As Vince joins the call after his viewing of Parasite in Greenwich, the whole Minh go into the process and luck of creating this song through lockdown; owing to “months of planning” and how “when everyone’s together in a room the juices flow”. This single took “cumulatively 6 hours to make”, as they managed to find a space to pump this out at speed.
Immediately commanding the Zoom, Vince asserts that “[Go Chi Minh] try and bring something new to the table each time, if it’s done before we’re not going to be the ones to do it again.” The new tune, which you can experience here or just listen to through the SoundCloud below, sees some Kraftwerk-esque sound banks form an entirely new, original, song, “building on that theme” through Harry’s production as the Minh “plug [them]selves into one another and use a sort of hive mind.”
This is their first single since ‘Messerschmitt Me’ and ‘Gucci Minh’ almost seven months ago now. The latter, artistically inspired by Lil Pump, is playfully described as stamping down the Minh’s “intent as artists.” Whilst it may have taken the chaps a long time to finish this, its “democratic” nature sees each member take a verse and collectively provide the humorous yet self-deprecating Go Chi Minh take Lil Pump undoubtedly needed. After all, they profess they “never do things at random, precision is our mantra.”
LISTEN TO TRANS HUMAN EXPRESS HERE: